The turkey is eaten, the pudding is served, the presents are opened, and all the family and friends are here. Sure, you could put on the television, argue over who does the dishes, or snooze in an armchair… but Christmas is about spending quality time having fun – and playing games like these ones! Easy to organize, easy to play for all different age groups, and easy to make Christmas-themed, these classic games will ensure lots of laughs and love around your dinner table and in your living room this holiday season!
Can you name all Santa’s reindeer? What did the Wise Men bring? Who wrote the story ‘A Christmas Carol’? Finish this line “T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house…” Making up Christmas trivia questions is way too much fun, and answering them will amuse everyone longer than those terrible jokes in the crackers will! You can even enlist the players’ help to write questions: if everyone already knows the answer to one or two they invented, it still evens out by the end of the game; the younger players are then sure to get at least a couple right; and it gives you lots more questions to read out to your eager listeners!
Hand out paper and get everyone to draw a 3 x 4 grid (or bigger, if you’re hardcore bingo enthusiasts!) Grab 20 small Christmas items and get each player to write a selection of them on their bingo card – one item in each box (younger players can draw them). For example: a handful of different-shaped Christmas tree decorations (ball, bell, reindeer, Santa, snowflake, etc), a paper hat, a spoon, a gift card, a mint… Put the items into a Santa hat or stocking and pull them out one at a time. Players can mark them off their lists with nuts, chips, lollies, or whatever snacks you still have left on the table – first to fill their card and yell “Christmas Bingo” is the winner!
Christmas Memory Game
A great variant on the classic ‘shopping’ game. One person starts by saying, “I went Christmas shopping and I bought a [tool set].” The next player says, “I went shopping and I bought a [tool set] and a [pair of earrings]…” Each player must recite the shopping list so far and then add a new one of their own. Everyone can help out a player who gets stuck by doing mimes of their item (which gets very funny!), and after a go or two if you want to be tricky, you can add extra rules such as including the name the person the gift is for, or each new item having to start with the last letter of the previous item!
Christmas Alphabet Game
Choose a Christmas category such as “Christmas songs”, “Christmas Movies”, “Christmas Presents”, etc. Then go around the circle of players, with each naming a new example of the category, starting with the next letter of the alphabet ie. Away In a Manger, Behold That Star, (The) Christmas Song… The aim is for everyone get to the end of the alphabet together, so for any younger players, words that sound like they start with the letter are fine; players can ask for help or hints if stuck; and any kind of creative ideas to get around words starting with X are great! (ie. Ex/Cross/Kiss…)
Christmas Carol Coordination
Pick any Christmas carol or song, and choose a common letter from the alphabet that is used to begin lots of words in the lyrics (ie. R for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer). Have a singalong, but every time a word starting with the chosen letter is sung, everyone has to do an action, and then undo it when the next word comes up! For example, you all stand up when you sing “Rudolph”, all sit down when you sing “Red”, all stand up again when you sing “Reindeer”… For a less energetic version, you can cross and uncross arms or legs, put hands on or off heads, or put arms up in the air and down again. This gets very funny VERY fast – see who you can catch out, make the moves trickier if everyone gets too clever, and get faster and faster until everyone is laughing too hard to keep up!
- Team up big groups, or partner very young players with older helpers when necessary: little ones will love Grandpa whispering the answers for them to call out, or sitting on Grandma’s knee while she helps them do actions puppet-style!
- Avoid competitiveness by giving praise not prizes, playing several times so there are multiple winners, and awarding different kinds of achievements such as ‘Funniest/Most Creative Answer’.
- Be inventive: encourage new suggestions on game variations, or other types of games. You might end up developing your own personal family favourite and thus starting a real new Christmas family tradition!