NOV 2023

Uncover engaging activities that foster teamwork and holiday cheer.

As a small business owner, you understand the challenge of keeping your team connected and motivated, especially during the bustling holiday season. 

It's a time when the spirit of togetherness is more important than ever, yet finding activities that truly resonate with everyone can feel like a daunting task. 

That's where this guide comes in. 

Featuring a curated list of holiday team building activities for small businesses, this blog post is your one-stop resource for inspiring, engaging, and enjoyable team experiences.

Life highlights game

A life highlights game for team building in the workplace.

Unveil the unique journeys of your team members in a life highlights game.

Life highlights aims to encourage team members to share and appreciate diverse life experiences. 

It’s a great way to unwind and team-bond during the Christmas holidays.

The game enhances team bonding and fosters communication and empathy, which are vital for a cohesive and productive work environment - key reasons why team-building is crucial for small businesses.

How it works

Each participant shares a key life event first in a 30-second version, then in a condensed 3-second summary. 

This dual-format sharing encourages participants to focus on the most impactful aspects of their experiences, promoting meaningful dialogue and deeper personal connections within your team.

Planning and hosting tips to help you host an impactful life highlights game

  • Create a welcoming atmosphere: Set a welcoming and festive atmosphere to encourage open sharing.

  • Lead by example: Lead by sharing your life highlights, setting the tone for honesty and openness.

  • Add a Festive touch: Include holiday-themed treats to make the session more enjoyable and relaxed.

Escape rooms

A team from a local business team-building in an escape room.

Discover the thrill of teamwork as you unravel mysteries!

Looking for a Christmas team building activity that's not just engaging and immersive but also encourages innovation in your small business? 

Escape Rooms are a perfect choice. 

They're more than just an exciting escape from the office; they're a brain-tingling challenge that gets your team to think creatively and work together.

How it works

Imagine this: your team, locked in a room, surrounded by puzzles and clues with only one goal  - escape before time runs out. 

It's a thrilling race against the clock where quick thinking, teamwork, and communication are key. 

And with themes from mysterious adventures to holiday wonders (our escape rooms include everything from breaking into a bank to escaping a serial killer), you’re sure to find an adventure theme that everyone in the group likes.

Tips to plan the perfect holiday season escape room team building experience

  • Theme selection: Choose a theme that screams 'us' – whether it’s a classic mystery or a holiday extravaganza.

  • Pre-game brief: Give your team a heads-up on what to expect so everyone’s ready for the challenge.

  • Post-game debrief: After escaping (or trying to!), chat about the experience. Our Chicago team building packages include a cool debrief session to talk about all those 'aha!' moments.

  • Celebration time: Win or lose, celebrate! It's all about teamwork and having fun, after all.

Office trivia

Enthusiastically participating in an office trivia game during a team building event.

A low-key & high-impact team game.

Office Trivia is perfect for small businesses looking to rev up their team building activities to kickstart the holiday season. 

It’s an ideal setting for team members to laugh, learn, and grow closer, enhancing team spirit and morale.

How it works

You could quiz your team on the company's history and interesting facts about colleagues. Throw in a few industry-related questions for a little variety.

Office trivia can be played in teams or solo and is an excellent way to break the ice and encourage conversation in a relaxed, festive atmosphere.

Planning an office trivia game - tips and tricks

  • Easy Peasy vs. Brainiac: Mix up the questions to cater to everyone's strengths. Balance easy ones with tougher brain teasers.

  • Jingle bell questions: Bring in the holiday vibe with a round of Christmas-themed questions. Think Christmas team building or fun holiday facts!

  • Prizes galore: Spice things up with small prizes. Maybe an extra day off or some festive treats?

Egg drop

Egg drop challenge, showcasing teamwork and creativity in a small business setting.

Boost innovation while planning for the egg drop challenge!

Egg drop is a popular team building activity, perfect for the holiday season in small and local businesses. 

It fosters hands-on involvement, ignites healthy competition among team members, and challenges them to engage in engineering ingenuity. 

As we shall see, it involves designing a contraption that can protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a height, blending fun with a test of practical problem-solving skills. 

How it works

Here’s the deal: each team gets everyday materials like straws, tape, balloons, and cotton. Their mission? Build a contraption that will keep a raw egg safe when it’s dropped from a height.

This game is a great test of creativity, teamwork, using resources productively, and problem-solving skills. 

The best part? Watching if the egg makes it without turning into a sunny-side-up!

Planning tips for egg drop game

  • Mix up the materials: Offer a variety of items to encourage out-of-the-box thinking. The wackier the materials, the more creative the solutions.

  • Add a dash of holiday spirit: Challenge teams to design their egg protectors with a festive flair. Think Christmas ornament-style egg cradles!

  • Post-game huddle: After the drop, get everyone together to chat about the different designs and strategies. It’s a cool way to reflect on teamwork and innovation in your small business.

  • Applaud the effort: Win or lose, it’s all about celebrating the team's ideas and collaboration. It’s the taking part and thinking together that counts!

Core values exercise

Small business team engaging in core values exercise with laptops.

Discovering shared values can improve group cohesion.

The core values exercise is a low-key yet powerful team activity for New Year’s Eve, ideal for small businesses aiming to strengthen their group dynamics and company culture. 

It's a great way for team members to learn more about each other's core values, enhancing mutual respect and understanding.

How it works

Invite each team member to pick a few values that are important to them. 

Next, everyone gets together to discuss their choices in small groups or as one big team. 

Through this activity, everyone gets to see how their colleagues' values influence their work and personal lives.

It’s a great way to build empathy and align personal goals with your small business's broader mission and vision, creating a more harmonious and productive workplace.

Some tips for an effective core values team building exercise

  • Your own list: Offer your own list of straightforward and diverse values for anyone who’s struggling to select their own (ask them to choose a few options from your list).

  • Foster intimacy: Go for smaller group sizes and a relaxed setting to encourage open and frank discussions.

  • Guide the discussion: Keep the conversation flowing with gentle prompts or questions.

Beach volleyball

Office team engaging in a spirited game of beach volleyball under a sunny sky.

Team spirit soars with every serve in beach volleyball fun.

Beach volleyball is a great pick for small and local businesses looking for an outdoor team building activity with a bit of competitive fun during the Christmas holidays. 

It's more than just playing in the sand; it's about combining physical activity with teamwork, making it a standout choice for your company.

How it works

Split your team into groups and let them face off in a fun yet competitive beach volleyball match. 

This game isn't just about hitting the ball; it requires team members to communicate, coordinate, and strategize together to win points. 

Plus, playing on the beach naturally breaks the ice and encourages everyone to cut loose and bond.

Planning tips for a beach volleyball team event

  • Accessible location: Pick a beach that's convenient for everyone, with good parking and public transport access. Ensuring an accessible location is a key part of any team building event organizer worth its salt.

  • Weather watch: Always keep an eye on the weather to ensure a sunny day of fun.

  • Safety essentials: Stock up on essentials like sunscreen and water to keep everyone safe and hydrated.

Desk thief

Items scattered on a desk for the desk thief team building game.

Can you figure out which is whose?

Desk thief is a light-hearted game that's perfect for kicking off the end-of-the-year holidays, especially in small and local businesses. 

It not only adds an element of mystery and fun to the workplace but also allows team members to learn more about one another.

How it works

Take one item from each person's desk without them knowing. Then, lay out all the items and let everyone try to match each item to its owner. 

You could give the person(s) that makes the most correct guesses a prize.

Tips to get a game of desk thief running

  • Item selection: Pick items that are noticeable but not too personal or valuable.

  • Display area: Set up a spot at your party where all the items are displayed for everyone to see.

  • Add a twist: For a twist, mix in a few random items that don't belong to anyone.

  • Reveal & react: After the guessing game, reveal who owns each item and enjoy the reactions.

Professional development activities

Small business team in a professional development class.

Enhancing skills together to build a stronger team dynamic.

Professional development activities are a fantastic choice for team building, especially in small businesses. 

Here’s what you need to remember - this kind of activity isn't just about learning; it’s about growing together as a team. 

It’s a chance for team members to support each other's professional growth, share insights, and apply new skills in a collaborative setting.

The entire group should work more in sync as a result.

How it works

As far as the format is concerned, you have a host of choices - workshops, seminars, or even informal group discussions on industry trends. 

Same with the topic - it can be anything from communication skills and project management to the latest industry software.

The key is choosing topics that benefit both individual participants and the team as a whole.

Tips for organizing killer professional development activities

  • Engage experts: You can always look in-house, but don’t rule out bringing in external experts or trainers to provide fresh perspectives and specialized knowledge.

  • Interactive sessions: Make sure the sessions are interactive. Encourage participation through group activities or discussions to keep everyone engaged.

  • Apply what’s learned: Plan a follow-up session where team members can share how they’ve applied what they learned in their roles. This reinforces the value of the activity and promotes continuous learning.

Picnic party games

Small business team enjoying picnic party games outdoors.

Discover the lighter side of your colleagues with fun-filled picnic games.

Just like beach volleyball, picnic party games are a great outdoor team building option for small and local businesses. 

However, as you’ve no doubt already considered, this is a less intense activity, which would perhaps allow for more employee participation than comparatively more demanding games like volleyball.

How it works

A picnic is the perfect backdrop for a variety of games - from classic activities like sack races and tug-of-war to more modern options like team scavenger hunts or frisbee golf. 

The key is to choose games that encourage laughter, teamwork, and a bit of friendly competition. 

You could even have a mini Olympics with a series of games to keep everyone entertained.

Some tips to help you plan an enjoyable and memorable picnic party for your coworkers and employees

  • Location, Location, Location: Choose a scenic spot that's easily accessible for everyone. A local park or a beachside spot could be perfect.

  • Game on: Select games that suit your team's preferences. Mix up physical activities with more relaxed games like trivia or charades.

  • Don't forget the picnic: A delicious spread of food and drinks is crucial. Go for potluck style or cater if the budget allows. Remember, happy bellies make for happy teams!

  • Inclusive fun: Ensure the games and activities are inclusive and accessible to all team members, considering different abilities and preferences.

Virtual cooking class

Taking a cooking class from a laptop on a kitchen countertop.

Forge deeper ties while preparing culinary delights with your coworkers!

If you’re a small business working remotely, a virtual cooking class is an innovative and engaging way to wrap up the year with a great event that brings everyone together.

Or, to put that another way - It's a unique blend of team bonding, skill-building, and just plain fun, making it a great holiday team building activity for small businesses operating remotely.

How it works

Like with professional development sessions, you can go for a professional chef to guide participants, or you can ask cooking aficionados in the team itself to step up.

We prefer the latter approach, as it also nudges group members to rise to a challenge.

Even when held virtually, the shared experience of cooking and eating together, can be incredibly bonding.

Tips to spice up your virtual cooking class

  • Ingredient kits: If you’re working with a chef, decide the dish(es) in advance and send out ingredient kits to your team. This ensures everyone has what they need and adds an exciting unboxing element.

  • Encourage creativity: Allow team members to put their own twist on the recipe. This encourages creativity and makes for some fun presentations at the end.

Scavenger hunt

Team member on a scavenger hunt using a phone map to find the next location.

Discover hidden gems in your city while strengthening team bonds.

Ready for a little adventure right in your city? A scavenger hunt is the perfect blend of exploration, team collaboration, and friendly competition. 

It’s a refreshing way to take team bonding out of the office and into the vibrant streets, brimming with holiday excitement and Christmas spirit.

How it works

Teams will embark on a thrilling quest, navigating through clues and tasks scattered around. It's a playful race against time and each other, igniting a spirit of discovery and camaraderie among team members.

The hunt challenges teams to work together in new ways, fostering critical thinking and creativity outside the conventional workspace.

Tips for organizing a memorable scavenger hunt

  • Choose a theme: Whether it's holiday-themed, local landmarks, or company history, a fun theme adds an extra layer of excitement.

  • Mix up the challenges: Include a variety of tasks, from taking creative photos to solving riddles or finding specific items.

  • Safety first: Make sure the routes and challenges are safe and accessible for everyone.

  • Celebrate together: End the hunt with a group gathering, maybe over snacks or drinks, to share stories and laughs from the day’s adventure.

Mood pictures