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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A run-of-the-mill Zoom happy hour isn't going to fly with employees who are accustomed to fancy end-of-year corporate holiday parties.

Here's how some companies are trying to make this year's pandemic-friendly, virtual holiday bash special.

  • Remote, a human resources startup that was launched this year, is distributing virtual reality headsets to all 60 employees so they can have an in-person holiday party experience.
  • Akrete, a public relations company, has organized a 1.5-hour video party that will begin with a mixology class and end with CEO Margy Sweeney personally toasting and thanking each employee. Staff will be sent kits with ingredients to make two cocktails at home.
  • PayPal is putting together a 29-hour virtual event that employees can pop in and out of as they please. The agenda includes cooking classes, a magic show, circus performers and a dance-off.

The bottom line: It's not easy to organize virtual parties and constantly think of new, creative, fun things to do. Take the time to thank the human resources folks at your company who are trying their darnedest to make the best of a crappy year.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.

Read: Pete Buttigieg's opening statement ahead of confirmation hearing

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to be secretary of transportation, in December. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AFP via Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to lead the Transportation Department, will tell senators he plans to prioritize the health and safety of public transportation systems during the pandemic — and look to infrastructure projects to rebuild the economy — according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Buttigieg will testify at 10 a.m. ET before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He is expected to face a relatively smooth confirmation process, though GOP lawmakers may press him on "green" elements of Biden's transportation proposals.

Off the Rails

Episode 8: The siege

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 8: The siege. An inside account of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately failed to block the certification of the Electoral College. And, finally, Trump's concession.

On Jan. 6, White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger entered the West Wing in the mid-afternoon, shortly after his colleagues' phones had lit up with an emergency curfew alert from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.