Knowing some fun Christmas games can make you a popular person at this time of year. Whether you're hosting your own party or not, it's always a good idea to know some games that can be played off-the-cuff, just in case you get stuck at a boring work party and you need to liven things up a bit.
When it comes to choosing the best games for Christmas, it helps to understand what makes a game actually work well. This helps you avoid the awkward situation where you suggest a game, start talking it up ... and then nobody likes it.
Dress up Christmas games are fun for all ages and can be an
excellent way to get party guests active and enjoying
themselves if the life of the party is starting to flicker
These games don't have to cost much either - most people have old (and ugly!) clothes lying around at the bottom of a closet somewhere that can make perfect props. Otherwise you can head down to a thrift store a few days before Christmas and see what you can find.
If you're entertaining kids,
you have a couple of options. Either give them a big pile of
clothes (and perhaps some make-up too) and let them go crazy
dressing themselves up - or ... you let them dress you up.
Kids love having the chance to dress up an adult. Make sure you provide plenty of strange and hilarious clothes so you all get a laugh out of the final result.
Here's a fun twist
on the dress-up game idea: Christmas Improv.
If you've ever seen (or been to) an improvised comedy show or watched a TV show like 'Whose Line Is It Anyway', you'll have an idea of what we mean here.
You'll need a bunch of random 'props' - they can be items of clothing or just random objects, but the more bizarre they are the better. Then each person grabs a prop and has a turn acting out a 'role' that goes along with the prop.
You can even take this one step further and get everyone to act out a whole scene together. The key here is to give everyone a funny scenario to work with. For instance: Santa and his elves discover Rudolph has broken the toy-making machine. What happens next? Act it out.
For a less active option, if you only have a child or two who need to be entertained, find some online dress up games. These games usually give kids a 'model' to work with - a cartoon character - and they get to choose what clothes their model will wear. This is a particularly good option for girls who love dresses and fashion.
Trivia games are ideal because they can be played anywhere -
all you have to do is bring along a printed sheet of questions
and answers, or ask questions off the top of your head if you
happen to have a good general knowledge of Christmas.
Christmas trivia games can have different themes: you can do Christmas music trivia, for example, or Christmas movie trivia. Naming famous people who were born or died on December 25 can also be fun, although it's not one to play with kids of course.
Adapt the trivia questions to the group you're spending time with at Christmas time - are they film aficionados? History buffs? Literature enthusiasts? Diva devotees (into famous people)? Go with a topic everyone will enjoy - or mix them up so there's something for everyone.
There are plenty of cool Christmas activities that require some
sort of printed materials. Like Christmas Bingo, for instance.
It's easy to find the templates for games like Christmas Bingo
online and simply print them out. You can do this on the fly
wherever you are as long as you have access to the Internet
and a decent printer.
Lots of free Christmas quizzes are also available in downloadable formats around the web. If you want to have a trivia game, this saves you having to think up questions and answers. You can simply find a list of questions you think will work well for your guests and print it out.
Choosing the right list is important though - if you're playing with young kids, choosing a quiz about 80s Christmas movies is a recipe for a dull afternoon as the kids stare at you blankly, not knowing any of the answers. And vice versa, if you were to pick a subject such as computer games or Xbox games (see further below).
We all want to make our budgets go as far
as possible at Christmas time - so it is lucky that fun
doesn't have to cost anything. In fact, some of the most
entertaining Christmas games are completely free.
One good free game is called Match the Phrase. It's simple - everybody gets to write a bunch of phrases, each on its own little piece of paper. Some of them should be the beginning of a sentence, and some should be the end of a sentence.
The more out-there and ridiculous these half-sentences are the better.
You might have guessed already what happens next:
This Christmas game can be played with people of all ages, but of course if you have young and old together you need to be careful to keep it eye-level.
Teenagers can be particularly hard to please
when it comes to making them play something. Often they'll find trivia
too boring, and claim to be too old for dress-up games - as
well as lots of other games you care to dig up.
There are a lot of good Christmas games for teenagers which are perfect for a youth group setting where you have a group of ten or more. If you have a big meeting hall to work with and a lot of clear space, even better - the teens can get some exercise as well!
Relay games, for instance, are fun
for teenagers. One version of a relay game involves having the
teen kids hold a Christmas tree decoration under each of their
arms and under their chin. They then have to run (or fast walk,
depending on your venue) to a certain point and back and pass
on the decorations to the next person.
To make it a little harder, use some flimsy plastic decorations and make a rule that any team who breaks one automatically loses (for a different variation of this, you can use eggs instead of decorations - but make sure everyone is wearing some old clothes and make sure you don't play it on good carpet!)
To make it even harder still, you can introduce a rule that they aren't allowed to pass the decorations to each other using their hands - this leads to some pretty funny bodily contortions!
Another one that often works well is plain
old musical chairs - with a Christmas twist. It's the same as
a normal game of musical chairs: when the music stops,
everyone has to sit down and the person who can't get a chair
The other difference is that it's played with Christmas songs. New albums of Christmas carols come out every year around this time, so you have plenty of choice in that regard.
Online games can also offer a solution to keeping teenagers entertained, as they provide some interactive entertainment in a form most teenagers have grown used to.
Be prepared to accept that you won't be able to get some teens interested in games no matter what you do - some kids are just 'going through that phase' where they think anything someone else suggests is not as good as what they've already decided that want to do.
You're wasting your energy trying to get these teens into an organized game - it's an uphill battle. Acceptance is usually the best way forward here. They'll be back once those dreadful teen years pass.
Need something to
keep the kids occupied while you wrap gifts or cook the
Christmas dinner? There are plenty of free Christmas games
online that will keep them occupied for a few hours - there's
no reason to limit yourself to trivia and dress up games. Most
kids would much rather play on a computer these days anyway.
Here are a couple of good suggestions of Christmasy games you'll find online that seem to keep most kids entertained:
- Santa's Workshop
- Christmas Mahjong (many versions of this around the web - a puzzle game, better for older kids
- An assortment of basic games
In addition to these games there are hundreds of online jigsaws, puzzles and other creative entertainment online to keep your kids occupied through the holiday season.
The beauty of online games is that even though many of them are simple, they can often be just as entertaining as expensive games for a PlayStation or Xbox - so they might even end up saving you some money.
Be careful though - there's nothing worse than having a kid who's addicted to a free online game and won't get away from the computer when the family comes around for Christmas dinner.
You can even download Christmas games designed for smart phones - if you're getting someone a cell phone for Christmas, downloading a couple of games for them can add a nice touch.
Now, if you've already bought a
PlayStation or Xbox for your kids, or you're giving them one
for Christmas this year, you'll also need to be clued in on
the best games to give them.
Kids will be bitterly disappointed if they get a console but don't have anything good to play on it.
Here are some good choises:
- The Beatles: Rock Band (ideal because it's a good family game where the 'oldies' and young ones can make some noise together)
- FIFA '12 (a soccer/football game)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (a war game - definitely not for younger kids)
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
- inFAMOUS 2
That's a little selection of the best Xbox games to get you started - when it comes to games, you're better off avoiding the 'surprise gift' and just asking your kids what they want. It may not seem as special as getting to watch your child's excitement as they unwrap their unknown gift - but at least you know they'll like it. Who wants to spend $100 on a game that ends up never getting played?
Alright - now something for the adults. If you're going to be having a full-blown party with plenty of alcohol, a few drinking games always make the night more interesting. Let's look at a few Christmas-themed drinking games you've probably never tried before.
One easy drinking game is Follow Santa.
Only one person at the party is allowed to wear a Santa hat. That person is allowed to put their right hand on their head at any time, and when they do so, everyone else has to put their right hand on their head as well.
The last person to do it has to take a drink. Every twenty minutes or half an hour, the hat gets passed on to the next person. This is a good game because it can be played in the background while you do something more active, like playing a card game.
You can also just bust out some of your old family board games and turn them into drinking games. Get creative and re-write the rules of Monopoly or the Game of Life (taking a drink instead of paying rent went you land on a property, for instance).
Have fun! :-)
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