10 Holiday Team Building Activities That Will Get You Bonding

Is your office sick of the traditional holiday party? Have you and your co-workers shared one potluck too many?

It’s a good thing we’re living in 2014, and that we have OPTIONS for our office holiday celebrations. This December, instead of fighting over the only good appetizer on the table, unite your team members with these 10 holiday team building activities.

For Small Groups of 10 to 30

They say that smaller groups are easier to plan for, but smaller groups usually know who’s responsible for any lackluster events. Avoid getting dirty looks in 2015 by throwing memorable events that encourage your co-workers to break out of their shells.

1. Get out and Give Back

techgivesbackuversity
It’s the holidays, and the spirit of giving can be strong in intimate groups. Send the troops to volunteer at an animal shelter or a soup kitchen to encourage the warm, fuzzy feelings that inevitably bring people closer together. SF based, Tech Gives Back, makes it easy for you to sign your team up. This holiday team building activity gives people the opportunity to extend beyond their comfort zone and experience something truly worthwhile. Don’t forget to take pictures! You may catch the office grump with a hint of a smile on his face!

2. Escape the Room

escape

Well, there’s nothing like a little trauma to make the holidays memorable. In reality, this really is a creative team building idea. Is there any better way to build cohesion than a little bit of survival practice? Create a series of puzzles for teams to solve in order to get out of the room. Whoever escapes the room in the shortest amount of time is the winning team. Even your shyest team member can participate because everyone in the room has the same goal: don’t spend Christmas trapped in a room with your co-workers.

3. Don’t Forget the Drinks – Schedule a Mixology Class

mixolgy

The company holiday party is sometimes the only time in the entire year when it’s appropriate to drink in front of your boss. Imagine the outcome of treating your team to a mixology lesson! Separate everyone into teams and see which one comes up with the best signature cocktail. Nothing says team building quite like getting creative (and a little relaxed) together. Think of it this way: casserole or cocktail? Hmmm …

4. Food and Crime Solving

murder

Some of your co-worker might be bummed if they don’t get fed at the company party. Fortunately, there’s a solution for that that includes… a dead body at work! No, you didn’t snap and do something illegal. It’s a Murder Mystery Dinner! This stimulating event picks at your brain while you pick fine dining from your teeth. It’s no mystery: good food, wine, and a show that puts your team in the spotlight are elementary puzzle pieces for a great team building night.

For Groups of 30 and More

When you have a group that’s not really small, and not really huge, it’s challenging to find a team building activity that can get everyone involved while still allowing the focus to be on the individual.

5. Skeeball Tournament

joeythecat

We’ve all got grown-up jobs now, so it makes bringing back old school arcade games THAT much more fun. For anyone who was bummed when they missed a chance to catch Joey the Cat at the OfficeNinjas Silicon Valley Event, fear not! He organizes off-site skeeball tournaments for companies! Get the team together for a different kind of holiday revelry that includes classic 8-bit sound effects, wooden balls, and a healthy dose of competition!

6. Taste Stuff … Blindly!

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You have the once-in-a-year opportunity to give your co-workers an experience they will love, and you, oh wise Ninja, know what they like: food stuff. A blind wine tasting event is a classic idea that can bring the team together by celebrating their differences. It’s a laid back experience that is often paired with delicious small plates, cheeses, and charcuterie. (If your larger group is more on the playful side, how about trying an office chocolate tasting!) Tastings allow everyone involved to explore their own individual preferences and share them with the group.

7. Rock Climbing

rock

If you want active, indoor fun, there are few team building activities that are as effective as indoor rock climbing. This sport brings out the best in focus, team bonding, and feeling accomplished. Plus, the belay person quite literally holds the climber’s life in their hands, so if anything, trust will be learned and felt!

For Groups of … A Lot (100+)

You’re the lucky one who gets to organize an event for more than 100 attendees. Fortunately, you’re prepared. Competition as a team builder, anyone?

8. Have a Suck-Proof Scavenger Hunt

clash

What if the task of bringing holiday team building joy is too much for your plate right now? That’s ok! Enter: CLASH Team Building Events. They bring the party and team building activities to your company, complete with music, drinks, scavenger hunts, and plenty of quirkiness to break your folks out of their comfort zone. The best part is that you get to have hands-free fun too. Cheers to your ability to delegate!

9. Be a Real Ninja!

ninja
Or, pick your favorite historical warrior: ninja, gladiator, knight, perhaps screamer of “This is Spartaaa!” Your perfect holiday party alternative may be a “Gladiator Games Night” involving European Sword Fighting, archery, fencing, or other martial arts. Some of the best team building activities come with a healthy dose of learning, competition, and physical activity. Afterwards, everyone can enjoy warrior drinks like cider and mead. Huzzah!

10. Host a Winter Olympics

olympics

Instead of concentrating everyone on the same activity, you can also separate them into teams in a Winter Olympics activity of their choice. Go to an ice skating rink and plan games like BroomBall, curling, or simple ice skating. Eventyoda’s Corporate Olympics even include an opening ceremony and medal ceremony. Honor your employees for the year’s accomplishments with huge fanfare, and honor the game winners with real medals and trophies.

You Only Get One Holiday Event a Year- Make it Count

Ditch the homemade side dishes, dimly lit dinner destinations, and mute gatherings in the break room. The holidays are about acknowledging the accomplishments of your team in the past year, as well as encouraging their growth for the next year. Try one of these holiday team building activities and refresh your team for 2015.

What do you do to bring out the best in your team? Share your thoughts and favorite team building activities in the comments!

Carolyn Medrano - OfficeNinjas

Carolyn Medrano

I am an anything goes Copywriter and Technical Writer with a BS in Emerging Media communications. I served as Ninja for nurses and doctors before becoming a full-time writer, and I spend my disposable income on blueberries, mangoes, coffee, and DS games for a son who is as random as his mom.

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