14 Christmas Games for Every Merry Party, Whether You're Hosting Kids, Adults, or the Whole Family
Though the days grow shorter and darker towards the end of the year, they simultaneously feel brighter thanks to the holiday season. If you celebrate Christmas, you know that this time spent with loved ones is filled with love and joy, especially if you work in a few festive games. "You are never too old, or too young, for some whimsy and fun—especially during Christmas," says Assumpta Vitcu, the founder and lead planner at AVE Creations.
Having a few games on deck when you host can be a life-saver, especially if you need to break the ice—and they might also keep your guests entertained while you finish up in the kitchen, adds Vitcu. To help you plan your holiday parties, we shared some of our favorite Christmas game ideas for kids, adults, and the whole family.
Christmas Games for Kids
Want to line up a few Christmas games for the kids? Take note of their ages when deciding on the difficulty levels of these activities, explains Edward Perotti, a luxury event planner. "I don't necessarily believe that the games should be easy—just attainable and creative," he says.
Pin the Nose on the Reindeer
The little ones in your family will have fun attempting to pin the nose on one of Santa Claus' reindeer during the party. Simply cut out a red piece of construction paper with a piece of tape on one side. The kids playing should be blindfolded and spun before they get a chance to put the "nose" on a print-out of a reindeer.
Snowman Cupcake Decorating
Children won't have to step into the season's snowy conditions to make a snowman. Instead, let their creativity run wild as they decorate these Snowman Cupcakes. Have marshmallows handy to make the bodies and then get creative with toppings; stock up on sprinkles, frosting, pretzel sticks, and more.
Find the Christmas Pickle
A scavenger hunt meets the holiday season in this game of "find the pickle." The Christmas pickle is an ornament rich in history that dates back generations. For this game, parents or other family members are tasked with hiding the ornament in the Christmas tree. Thanks to the green color, the ornament blends into the evergreen, making it tricky to spot. The first child to find the ornament gets a special gift from under the tree.
This wrapping game is one of Perotti's favorites. Each child gets a pair of oven mitts and two different size boxes filled with leftover wrapping paper and ribbon. "The game is who can be the most creative and quickest with the wrapping (with the scraps provided) while their hands are in oven mitts," he says. "I guarantee a house full of laughter, energy, and holiday noise."
Christmas Games for Adults
When it comes to Christmas games for adults, you have more flexibility, Perotti says, but recommends letting your guests know that you plan to play them in advance. "Announce in your invitation that there will be games," he says. Be sure to list out what those games are so any pre-work or supplies can be purchased ahead of time. "This way, the games can be more personalized and everyone will be in the game-playing spirit before the event," he says.
Secret Santa allows each of your guests to secretly select a gift for a designated person, which is then exchanged at the party. The real fun begins, however, before the present transfer: Guests are tasked with identifying who their "Secret Santa" is.
This game requires some organization. Vitcu suggests using a website like Elfster so you can add the names of everyone who is participating, plus their email addresses. The site will do the work of letting your guests know who to shop for and surprise during the festivities. "These sites are neat because you can set budgets, and it's a fun activity for everyone to open their gifts together on Christmas day," she says.
Baby Photo Game
A baby photo game adds to your fête's fun. "For your personal holiday soirée, reach out to each guest (privately) and ask for a picture of them between the ages of 3 and 6," says Perotti. "You will print the pictures and put them in frames and then number them and place them around the house, woven into your décor."
Throughout the night, each guest will be tasked with finding the photos and guessing which adult the baby picture belongs to; they'll write their guesses down on an index card. "Set a time limit, and at the conclusion, collect all the cards and find your winner (whoever guessed the most accurately)," he says. "This is a fun way to get the energy going and spark some conversations."
Similar to Secret Santa, White Elephant includes bringing a wrapped present to the party. In this game, however, everyone draws a number and picks gifts in order—or, guests have the option to steal from the already-opened presents. This stealing angle makes drawing the final number so appealing; this person has their pick of the entire set.
Allow your guests a chance to put their mixology skills to the test by making a Christmas drink that speaks to the season. Consider some of our favorite Christmas cocktails, like an alcoholic version of Homemade Eggnog or the Champagne Fizz. You can have designated taste-testers to rate each beverage to select your winner.
Christmas Movie Trivia
There's nothing quite like returning to a favorite holiday film come Christmas. So, why not put your guests' movie knowledge to the test with some party-time trivia? Whoever knows the most facts about a predetermined list of holiday flicks wins the game.
Christmas Games for the Whole Family
If you're playing Christmas games with the whole family, and that involves both kids and adults, make sure everyone can be involved, Perotti says. He suggests taking a step back and thinking about all of the guests in attendance, including extended family, to make sure the activities are suitable for either playing or observing.
Cookie Decorating Competition
Decorating cookies is a quintessential holiday activity. To turn it into a game, Perotti suggests adding a time element: Give everyone 4 minutes to decorate the prettiest cookie or 10 minutes to decorate the most cookies.
You can even pump up the difficulty level by making everyone create a specific Christmas-related cookie with specific colors. For an even better twist, pair up your loved ones and give them a tricky task. "The person decorating is blindfolded, while the other person talks them through how to do it," explains Perotti.
Pass the Bow
Instead of hot potato, a game where each participant must pass a potato-like object, like a ball, until time runs out, consider this holiday-centric iteration. The whole family will form a circle and pass around a bow or other piece of holiday décor. As the clock ticks, everyone continues passing the bow; whoever has the bow in their hands when the timer stops is out. The last person standing wins.
"Charades is an old-school classic that is great for all ages," says Vitcu. To give charades the Christmas treatment, ask guests to act out holiday-specific themes, people, or motifs. "It doesn't require a lot of space," adds Vitcu. "There will probably be a lot of laughing."
Reindeer Ring Toss
The age-old game of the ring toss is fairly simple to play any time of year. All you need to do is round up about half a dozen bottle-like objects and large rings. Participants then attempt to toss the ring around the object. For a Christmas version, place reindeer stuffed animals in a row and ask guests to toss miniature wreaths around their necks.
The whole family gets 20 "yes" or "no" questions to identify the Christmas object behind the host's back. Whoever guesses the object correctly wins. Want to make it more challenging? Put time on the clock to apply some pressure.