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17 COVID-Safe Holiday Event Ideas for Your Apartment Community

November 30, 2021

As a landlord, you often find yourself looking for ways to get your residents out of their apartments and foster a greater sense of community. Although coronavirus pandemic restrictions are easing, with Omicron on the rise, it’s still important to remain safe this holiday season. It’s also best to check your local rules and ordinances on gathering, as every county is different.

Despite social distancing protocols, you can still help your residents bond with some COVID safe, holiday-themed events. Residents will appreciate the thoughtfulness now more than ever and enjoy mingling with fellow neighbors and staff, especially those residents who are unable to be with their loved ones for the holidays. To help you safely bring your community together this holiday season, we’ve curated a list of fun and easy festivities you can host while the pandemic eases downward.

1. Throw a Teleparty Holiday Movie Screening

From “The Grinch” to “ The Christmas Chronicles” there are endless holiday movies on Netflix to get everyone in the spirit of the season. Whether you have an all adult community or a more family-oriented scene, you’re sure to find a holiday movie that your tenants will love.

Netflix also offers “Teleparty” to watch TV and movies as a group in real-time. The video playback functionality also adds group chat to Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and HBO. Consider doing an all-weekend Teleparty marathon with a list of movies for tenants to watch together. Drop off pre-packaged goodies with hot cocoa, coffee, and desserts to capture the holiday spirit. Or simply send out festive holiday recipes for tenants to enjoy!

2. Set a Community Food Bank Goal

Potlucks aren’t safe this year, but residents can still get in on the sense of community and giving by donating to a community food bank. Set a goal for the apartment complex and ask for canned and packaged goods to donate to a local food bank. Enter anyone who donated an item into a raffle to win a grand prize to get tenants excited about the goal. A few smaller prizes and white elephant-style gifts are also a fun way to keep the holiday spirit going.

3. Put Together Gift Bags for Essential Workers

Essential workers still need our support! Whether you want to make gift bags for a local hospital or to pass them every week. Rally your apartment complex to submit their best recipes for a community cookbook with the best fall and winter recipes! You can also turn this into a tasting party in your lobby where everyone gets to vote on their favorites for a prize.

4. Create a Community Cookbook

Bring your residents together by sharing some of your favorite holiday recipes! Each resident can contribute one recipe via email or in-person that can then be sent out through a digital cookbook, a Pinterest board, or even a binder in the lobby. This activity is a great conversation starter for residents. Tenants can spark up conversations after trying each other's recipes, which will keep the holiday spirit alive even after the New Year!

5. Host a Food Truck Get-together

If you’re concerned about gathering indoors, host a food truck get-together by inviting your favorites right to your building. Your tenants can gather outdoors and sample different trucks while getting to know each other better. Keep it festive with a variety of flavors from traditional burgers to fusion and holiday-themed desserts.

6. Throw a Community “Friendsgiving”

The idea of Friendsgiving started trending around 2007 as an informal way to spend the holidays with friends, neighbors, and loved ones who aren't family. Keep the tradition going and turn your bonus room, courtyard, or lobby into a Friendsgiving gathering space. If you’re short on resources, turn it into a potluck to get everyone involved in the fun and contribute.

7. Host a Pie Baking Contest

Nothing says the holidays like fresh-baked pies! Get your apartment complex into the spirit of the holidays with a pie baking contest. You can turn it into a holiday party to get more people involved and sample all of the delectable treats. Give away gift cards to popular restaurants or shops to sweeten the event.

8. Host an Online Talent Show

Turn your tenants into celebrities by hosting an online talent show that dazzles. Entice your community to sign-up to sing, dance, or showcase any other unique and quirky talents. Give away prizes and special awards from, “Best Singer,” to “Most Bizarre Talent.” Make sure your tenants introduce themselves by sharing who they are and a little about their lives to help everyone get to know each other.

9. Raffle a Turkey, Tofurkey, or Ham

Host a raffle to give away a turkey, tofurkey, or ham this holiday season. Residents will love the excitement and appreciate winning the main course for their holiday feast. Liven up the event by raffling off other holiday favorites like gingerbread house kits, pecan pies, cookies, and more. Host a standalone raffle, or combine it with your favorite holiday event idea to brighten up the mood this year.

10. Host an Ugly Sweater Contest & Virtual Party

Who doesn’t love donning their ugliest holiday-themed sweater of all time for everyone to see? From over-the-top reindeer garb to horrendous green and red stripes, the ugliest sweater in your community awaits to be rewarded. You can host a Zoom party to show off the sweaters while playing a round of holiday movie/song trivia. Drop off a few holiday-themed bites to add a personal touch to your virtual party.

11. Launch a Virtual Game Night

You may not be able to host your famous community block party this year, but you can still gather your group for an evening of fun. Host a virtual game night with the help of apps for a game of trivia, charades, and more. Turn it into a competition by grouping tenants by floor to be on the same team and show off some apartment floor pride.

12. Share Some Laughs at a Virtual White Elephant Party

Let your residents show off their humor and style by hosting a gift exchange party. Each person brings a gift with a set price limit between $5-$20 to contribute, and let the fun begin. The landlord can draw names at random to match up tenants to swap gifts in advance. Ask them not to open their white elephant gifts until the virtual party and then open them up live over Zoom. It’s a fun way for your residents to get to know each other, even virtually, while also ringing in the Holiday spirit.

13. Turn to the Pros

The pandemic has brought out the ingenuity in all of us, including companies providing instructors and entertainers for virtual events. Turn to the pros and book a mixologist, chef, or artist to walk your tenants through a virtual class to create their own festive masterpieces.

Communities with kids love baking up holiday treats, although what adult doesn’t love frosting and indulging in some delicious cookies?

It’s likely not possible to set up stations and let tenants come to decorate as a group this year. Instead, ask tenants to design their favorite cookies and send out a photo to the community. A little competition can also fire up tenants to get involved. Let everyone vote on their favorite cookie and the winner receives a gift card or a festive baking gift basket!

15. Turn Your Tenants into Comedians

A little laughter can go a long way to brighten up the mood during a pandemic. Let tenants show off their comedic chops with a virtual stand-up performance. Give everyone up to ten minutes to make your community laugh. Encourage everyone to offer feedback on their favorite jokes in the chat function and nibble on holiday treats to turn it into a festive event.

To show residents you appreciate them, a little imagination and thoughtfulness can go a long way. With the holidays coming up after a trying year, there's no better time to bring your community together. Tenants are sure to love your holiday-themed events and sing your praises all year long!

16. Play Two Truths and a Lie at Your Holiday Party

Liven up your apartment building’s holiday event with a game like Two Truths and a Lie. The idea is for tenants to volunteer two truths about themselves and one lie while the group has to guess. It makes the party hysterically fun while the neighbors get to know a whole new side of each other during the event.

17. Create a Community Playlist

Nothing shows off your renters’ personalities like getting a glimpse of their playlist. Invite your apartment complex to submit a few of their favorite songs to a community playlist. You can create a holiday theme or keep it evergreen to play it year round. Make sure to credit each renter to their song submission. Your community will feel like they’re getting to know each other just by their song selection.

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AUTHOR
Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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