Holiday parties & background fun with Microsoft Teams
This post is originally published on Microsoft Teams Blog articles
Now is the time to bring some holiday fun to your Microsoft Teams meetings. There are many new features in teams that are perfect for your holiday gathering. Plus we've launched a Microsoft Teams background page that will give you some fun holiday backgrounds to use to dress up your next virtual meeting.
It's time to bring people together to do something other than work. Below you’ll find some ideas for making your virtual holiday gathering fun, but remember a party is about the people not the technology! Whatever you do just make sure you remember that and enjoy this holiday season!
Set the stage for a great holiday themed meeting
Festive attire: Part of the fun of a holiday party is dressing up. This doesn’t have to be forgone just because the party is virtual. In your invite, suggest a festive dress code. Maybe your office vibe is to go all out with a more formal look, or if going more casual, ask the team to wear their favorite ugly holiday sweater.
Dress up your background: You can bring a festive atmosphere to any meeting by using our holiday themed backgrounds every day. We’ve also created a set of new holiday-themed custom backgrounds for standard meetings and video calls. Visit our Microsoft Teams custom background page (http://aka.ms/TeamsCustomBackgrounds) and pick one, or a few, that are good for you. While you’re setting up your video and audio before joining a meeting, select Background effects, click Add new, and then select a background to upload from your computer. More detailed guidance can be found here.
Submit your background for our library
Our community is diverse and we’d like to show that by expanding our library of holiday themed backgrounds! Don’t see the background you want? Have one that you think is fantastic? Submit your background here to be included in our library of backgrounds from around the world.
Plan some fun holiday activities in Microsoft Teams with some unique activities and new features
Food and drinks: Ahead of your party, send your team the recipe—and the ingredients if you’re feeling extra festive—for a food, cocktail, or mocktail you can enjoy together during the party. You can also turn this into an activity by making a special drink or meal together over Microsoft Teams, led by one of your talented chef or mixologist teammates.
Photobooth: To recreate the classic holiday party photo booth in Microsoft Teams, ask the team to go on a scavenger hunt at their home or office for a few fun items to use as props—a hat, sunglasses, feather boa, their daughter’s princess tiara—the crazier the better. Ask the team to pose, then take a few screenshots to share in your Microsoft Teams team to commemorate the moment. For a cohesive look, you can ask team members to choose the same custom background, or better yet, use our new winter wonderland Together mode scene in Microsoft Teams.
Use our new together mode scenes: Whether you are playing some fun holiday games together like the scavenger hunt or just spending time together our new together mode scenes can bring some holiday cheer to your party. Our new winter wonderland Together mode scenes add a dash of holiday spirit that’s perfect for hosting a virtual holiday party with your team.
You’d be surprised how it lightens a mood to show up with some festive holiday cheer in your meeting!
In addition to these we are announcing additional Together mode scenes, rolling out now, that you can use any time of the year that transport your team to a variety of settings including a coffee shop, conference room, classroom, and more. Read more about this and other features in our Microsoft 365 blog post. To get started, once you are in your Microsoft Teams meeting, select Together mode from the drop-down menu, then click the small pencil in the left-hand corner of the screen to choose a scene (Together mode requires at least five people in your meeting).
We are excited to share that breakout rooms are generally available in Microsoft Teams today. Breakout rooms make it easy to divide your meetings into sub-groups to facilitate smaller discussions, brainstorming sessions, learning groups, and even holiday mixers.
Organizers can jump in between meetings on their own, deliver announcements to all breakout rooms at once, and bring everyone back to the main meeting at any time. And unique to Microsoft Teams, breakout rooms can be initiated both in Microsoft Teams channels and in Microsoft Teams meetings to give you flexibility on how you want to meet. Breakout rooms are especially great this time of year for mixing and mingling and playing games during a virtual holiday party. Learn how to get started with breakout rooms here.
Games: There are a variety of great online party games that are easy to play with your team using screen-sharing in Microsoft Teams. Kahoot offers engaging quizzes and challenges. Jackbox Games are the makers of several party games that are great to play together virtually. From speech games like Talking Points to drawing games like Drawful—there are a wide variety of games to suit every taste. Learn more about using Kahoot and Jackbox Games in Microsoft Teams.
Have a PowerPoint Party: Holiday parties are often a chance to mix and mingle with people outside of your immediate team. To do so virtually, use new Breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams to split up into smaller groups and get to know each other. To help break the ice, we recommend jumping on a popular trend, the PowerPoint Party. Have the team break out into groups of three or four and ask them to create the funniest, most insightful, or interesting presentation they can think of in just 15 minutes. Then present to the team in just three minutes and the best presentation gets a prize. Learn more about hosting a virtual PowerPoint party.
White elephant gift exchange: Take your white elephant gift exchange virtual using White Elephant Online. It’s a simple way to reimagine the age-old tradition in a Microsoft Teams meeting. It brings the fun of buying a wild and wacky gift and stealing gifts from your teammates, all from the comfort of your home.
Happy holidays from the Microsoft Teams team. We hope these new experiences and tips bring joy to your workplace and make meetings and office parties more festive this holiday season. And we’d love to hear how you’re celebrating the holidays on Microsoft Teams. Share your holiday spirit and ideas using #HolidaysWithTeams and submit your background today!