Many of us are inundated with Zoom meetings – some spend a little time in the digital space, but others are online all day! The holiday season provides us with a great excuse to shake things up and make one of your December or January Toastmasters meetings a “party!”
A specialty themed meeting can be a wonderful reason to invite friends who might be interested in joining your club, or just seeing what it’s all about. Be sensitive to the family, faith, and holiday traditions of your members and guests so as not to put members or guests in an uncomfortable position participating.
Things to consider for your organizing:
- Select a party committee. Everything is more fun with friends! Does anyone have a Pathways project that would apply?
- Be sure to set the date and remind club members of it regularly.
- Set up a Facebook Event, Evite, or Eventbrite to invite the community! Ask club members to help promote it.
- If you need members to provide anything (see ideas below) be sure to remind them of it often.
- Ask everyone to bring a guest for the fun! Be sure to plan a way to help guests feel a part of things if members are asked to have any supplies handy – ie provide alternate questions for Table Topics etc.
While a potluck isn’t possible in a virtual world, suggest a common “snack” or snack theme for your club members to bring for themselves. Suggestions:
- A fancy glass with a favorite beverage
- A mug of something delicious
- Favorite holiday snack
While this might be a great meeting to schedule no speeches and keep the whole meeting Table Topics—consider seeking out a member to give speech/story on a seasonal topic to set the mood.
Decorations and contests
Decorating by sharing a Zoom background with your club members so everyone has a common setting! Be sure to send instructions on how to set up a background ahead if your members aren’t able to figure it out.
Host a contest to get your club members excited about the party:
- Zoom Background Contest: suggest a theme and let everyone come up with their own – ugly sweater patterns, favorite winter vacation spots, family holiday photos….use your imagination! Prize: member is exempt from their least favorite role for 3 months!
- Ugly Sweater Contest: Dress to the nines and have members vote on the best ugly sweater! Mail a gift card for a prize.
- Recipe Contest: Ask members to share fave recipes and have members vote on the recipe most likely to be tried! Winner has to email the recipe out to the club.
- Gingerbread Contest Create little gift packages with a few pieces of gingerbread, some squeeze frosting, and candies. Don’t forget to set rules ahead of time- if it’s a “no adding other supplies” contest, you know someone will want to know! Have members share their creations and ask everyone to vote on their favorite!
We’ve gathered a few ideas for Table Topics to get you started, but please feel free to get CREATIVE!
Scattergories Table Topics
Table Topics Master asks the participant a seasonally-themed question, and the participant answers, using a letter selected by a shout-out from other club members for as many words as possible in their story. For example:
- Tell about a childhood holiday memory
- Share a story about a snow day
Scavenger Hunt Table Topics
Table Topics Master asks for household items, and members run to find that object and show it in Zoom. Sometimes the first person producing the item is asked a Table Topics question, other times change it to the last or 6th person – just to keep everyone on their toes! The question can stem from what that item is – where they got it, how they use it, or something else related to it!
While the club may not be able to gather and share a meal or desserts – organizers of the meeting can prepare little gift snack packs to mail to each club member. In Covid times it’ll be best to send prepackaged snack cookies or bags of trail mix. Include a slip of paper in a sealed envelope – with their question to answer during Table Topics!
White Elephant Secret Santa
Before your party, assign secret santa names, and have each person mail a small White Elephant gift (under $5) to their person. Gifts are opened while on Zoom – each person has to deliver a Table Topic about JUST how much they wanted the item that’s in their package.
Prepare ahead by writing up a few “first” sentences for a participants, leaving a noun, verb, or adjective or two blank. Ask the other club members to provide those fill-in-the-blanks words, then that’s the first sentence for the story the participant gets to make up! For example:
- To celebrate the season this year I plan to (verb) with my friends to the beat of a different (profession)…..
- When I was a child, I learned to (verb) when the (adjective) holidays came around…
- Last year’s December was different because my (relative) gave me a (object) ….
Two Truths and a Lie
Ask club members to prepare a list of two TRUE holiday facts (short sentences) about themselves, and one FALSE one, and share them by email with the Table Topics Master. The three items are read aloud and members guess who it is -and which of the three things is false! Once the person is identified, they have to tell one of the true stories as their topic. (Recommend 1 minute stories so you can get in as many of these as you can.) Examples:
- I was once a mall elf for Santa, I was carried off a mountain when skiing, I once met Jimmy Stewart.
- Santa gave me a vacuum cleaner hose, I spent New Years in the hospital in 1994, I own 47 strings of holiday lights.