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Stay Connected: 4 Virtual Holiday Party Ideas


With traditional holiday parties and get-togethers off the table this year, you’re going to need a way to stay connected with friends and family. That’s why the team at Icon compiled this list of four great ideas for having an online holiday party.

How About a Movie Night?

Like making fun of cheesy movies with your friends? Or maybe you enjoy cuddling up with everyone and sharing a big bowl of popcorn. Well, Scener makes both just about possible. This browser app lets you and as many friends as you want watch movies together from the comfort of your own homes and also has an audio chat function, so you can talk while you watch. The only requirement is that everyone has access to the same streaming services. This doesn’t mean everyone has to have an account, though. You can create a separate profile for one or more of your friends on your service and share your credentials.

What About a Game Night?

Chances are you’ve already heard of Houseparty. This smartphone app lets you video chat simultaneously with multiple people. It also alerts you when any of your friends are online, letting you jump into a group chat anytime. Houseparty also has a wide variety of virtual party games you and your friends can play, including classics like Pictionary, one originating on the Ellen DeGeneres show called Heads Up, a “finish the lyrics” game, and many more.

Would a Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange Work?

Heck yeah it would. Set a budget and ask everyone to stick to it. When it’s party time, have your crew draw numbers to see who goes first and in what order, and write this info down so it’s easy to remember. Everyone will hold up their wrapped gift contributions and then take turns selecting from the options or stealing already opened gifts. Write down who has selected what gifts since it will all be virtual, and when the game is over, have everyone mail their gifts to the appropriate party. It’s a little more complicated than usual but will still be fun!

Where Can I Find Great Gifts for My Virtual Exchange?

Find great gifts for your exchange close by at Camino Real Marketplace, Costco, and Target. Or, choose to venture into Santa Barbara for one-of-a-kind gifts perfect for White Elephant-style fun, like:

  • Lovebird for unique clothing and jewelry
  • Seaside Gardens for plants that will blow your mind
  • The Shopkeepers on Anacapa for unique gifts
  • Jake & Jones for unique home decor and clothing gifts
  • Handlebar roasters for hip coffee-related gifts

How About a Virtual Dinner Party or Cocktail Hour?

There are a variety of options for either. You and your crew can decide on a recipe you all want to cook together and then set up your laptops or other devices so you can work and talk over the prep. The same thing would work for your happy hour, but with cocktail recipes. When you’re finished making your food and/or drink, enjoy it together. Or you could just prepare your food or drink before the meetup. Everyone’s unique selections will give you one topic for discussion.

Happy Holidays – Enjoy Every Moment!

Need some delicious takeout ideas to enjoy at your next virtual dinner party? Check out the Icon Neighborhood page.


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