1. Night Before Christmas Memory Game
Type the story from the book on a sheet of paper, but leave some blanks every so often.
(e.g. "When what to my ______________ eyes should appear, but a ________________ sleigh and ___________ tiny reindeer").
Have your guests fill in the blanks to the story. Then collect the results and review. The person who gets the most right should get a gift or prize, but then have some fun and have the person who got the most wrong read the story and stop at every blank, where the host can add in the funniest answer from the group. This way everyone can get a laugh out of the answers. Best for groups under 20 people.
2. Santa’s Hat
You can start this game as guests enter the party. As each person enters the room, hand them a Santa hat and instruct them to keep it on until they see you take yours off. Once everyone is wearing a hat, mingle and engage in conversation until everyone starts to forget about the game. Once your guests are distracted, quietly remove your hat and wait to see who catches on and does the same. The last guest to have his hat on is the loser, and can be the one to start the next round.
3. North Pole Two-by-Two
A perfect ice-breaker for all ages, Two-by-Two is a loud game that will get everyone laughing. The rules are simple enough for even the youngest guest to understand. Everyone stands in two parallel lines facing each other. Each person in one line is given a piece of paper with a “North Pole” animal on it. Matching pieces of paper are given to each person in the opposite line. After being given a few minutes to think, at the word “go,” everyone acts like their assigned animal – flapping their wings, stomping their hooves, waddling like a penguin – and tries to find their “mate” on the opposite side of the room. The main rule to this game is no talking!
4. Make a Rack (for Reindeer, that is!)
In this game, teams are given a paper bag with the following items:
- One unused pair of pantyhose, a five-inch hole cut in the tummy panel, and feet cut off
- Red ribbon and a red bow
- 14 small balloons
Put five minutes on the clock. One member of the team volunteers to be the reindeer. She slips the pantyhose on her head, with face showing through the hole that has been cut in the tummy panel. The team blows the balloons up and slips them through the open end of the pantyhose until they resemble antlers. The ribbon is used to close the hole and decorate the antlers; the bow can be used on the nose for a Rudolph effect. The team that makes the best antlers within the five-minute time period wins.
5. Gift Wrap Twins
This is a game for teams of two, regardless of age. Each team stands side by side, and has their inside hands tied together. The person on the left has his right hand tied to the left hand of the person next to him. Each team is given a box, wrapping paper, ribbon, scissors and tape. With only one hand each, they have to completely wrap the package and tie it with a bow. The team that wraps the package correctly and quickest wins.
6. Right and Left Gift Game
This game requires some preparation, but can be really funny to play. The host has to write a story that is a few minutes long and contains the words “left” and “right” many times.
Here is an example:
Mr. Right said that his left hand was hurting.
“Your right hand?” said Mrs. Right.
“No, my left hand,” said Mr. Right.
All of the party participants stand in a circle, holding a small wrapped gift. These can either be small gifts that each person has brought, or wrapped party favors. As the host reads the story, each time the words “right” and “left” are read, the players pass the gift they are holding in that direction. When the story is done, the player gets to keep the gift he or she is holding.
7. Fast Unwrap
You will need:
- One prize wrapped in many layers of gift wrap or newspaper
- One Santa or elf hat
- One pair of gloves or oven mitts. The bigger and bulkier the better!
- One die. You can use two dice if there are a lot of people.
Set the wrapped prize in the center of the room. Participants gather in a large circle around the gift. The first person rolls the die. If she rolls anything but a six, she quickly passes the die to the person on her left. If she does roll a six, she runs to the gift, puts on the hat and gloves, and begins opening the prize one layer at a time. The next person who rolls a six jumps into the center, takes the hat and gloves and continues the unwrapping. The person who unwraps the last layer of paper gets to keep the prize.
8. Burst the Balloon
Divide the group into two teams. One team has a red balloon tied to their ankles and the other team gets a green balloon tied to their ankles. At the word “go,” the players scramble to try to pop the other team’s balloons. When a player’s balloon is popped, he is out, and has to sit on the sidelines until the game is over. The last team with an unpopped balloon wins.
9. Gift Swap
The adult version of the Secret Santa game has a twist at the end. After number one has chosen a gift and unwrapped it, number two chooses and unwraps a gift. Number two can then choose to swap gifts with number one. Each guest then chooses a gift and decides to swap until all of the guests have a gift and a chance to swap. At the end of the game, number one can choose to swap with any of the other guests.
10. Christmas Carol Pictionary Relay
Team members race to receive the name of a Christmas Carol which they must get their team to recognize and then sing. The first team to have all team members complete the task wins. Based on the number of Christmas Carols you come up with not all players may get a chance to draw out the name of a song. The goal is however that everyone would have a turn. (Adjust game as needed.)
Divide group into teams. Each team sends one person up to the host who gives them the name of a Christmas carol. Then the person returns to group and in the manner of Pictionary tries to get the group to guess the name of the carol by DRAWING ONLY. As soon as the group knows the song, they must sing it as a group until the host gives the thumbs up sign (10 – 20 seconds). Once they get the thumbs up, the team sends a new person for another song. Play continues until one group completes all their songs.
Here are some Christmas Carols to get started. Remember there cannot be any duplicate carols.
- Jingle Bells
- Deck the Halls
- Here Comes Santa Claus
- Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
- Silent Night
- Joy to the World
- Away In a Manger
- We Wish You A Merry Christmas
- Up On the Housetop
Do you have an excellent game to play that wasn't mentioned above? Tell us about it.