Games are great for bonding, sharing a laugh, breaking the ice, or curing boredom—including after a big holiday dinner with all the fixings. Don’t sit around and let the tryptophan take over; hitch up the elasticized waistband on those sensible holiday slacks and play a game with your loved ones.
Whether you need a stuck-inside-again life-saver or want just to expand your repertoire of Reindeer games, read on!
Trivia question: what game did Santa’s reindeer play in the 1964 version of Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer? You’ll find the answer at the bottom.
Decked with Drawings: Holiday Music Doodles
Have a holiday drawing duel. Just like the classic doodling under pressure game; put guests into teams and pit them against each other to depict holiday songs and Christmas Carols. For a little more fun, have guessers sing what the song is to earn the points.
Don’t Sweet the Competition: Candy Canes
It’s just like the card game Spoons, but with candy canes, or whichever other confection you might choose. It’s great for all ages and is perfect for small groups of up to six people.
Friend, Foe, or Fibber: Two Truths & a Lie
Great for any time of year, but for a holiday twist, set the theme to something Christmassy like “Worst Christmas Gift Ever Received” or “Funniest New Years Eve Stories”. Be creative with your themes. Tell them two things that aren’t true, and one thing that is and have guests guess the true story.
Gimme Gimme: Gift Exchange
When it comes to gift exchange games, it’s the challenge that counts. There are many ways to play: by taking numbers or like the Danish version Pakkeleg, dice are used to swipe prezzies from one another. Another idea is the Left Right game: recite a ridiculous poem while passing the gift to the left or right.
A Head of the Game: Paper Plates
Paper plates aren’t just for the kid’s table and quick clean ups, it’s also game that’s great for all ages. All that’s required is paper plates and markers. Players draw a Christmas scene on the paper plate while resting it on top of their heads. The most well-scribbled scene wins a prize.
Sleuth Seeker: Scavenger Hunt
“The stockings are hung by the chimney with care,” and the next clue will be found exactly where? A Christmas scavenger hunt is another fun game for all ages. Play it on Christmas Eve and let the kids (perhaps with an adult helper) open one present, or buy inexpensive gifts for players to find.
Hatfields vs McCoys: Family Feud
Divide the room and get ready for a fun face-off like the classic TV game show. Assign someone as the Richard Dawson-like host (minus all the kissing of course) and get ready for some laughs. All you need are the questions, some pens and maybe even a bell or buzzer.
New Year’s Fortunes: “Bleigießen”
This is a modified—and tasty—version of a German custom. Traditionally for “Bleigießen”, a spoonful of molten lead is dropped into a cup of cold water and the shapes created predict fortunes for the coming year. Supplies needed: melted chocolate chips, a cup, cold water (add ice if you wish) and a spoon for each player. Each person drips a spoonful of chocolate into a cup and when the shape forms you can interpret its meaning.
Attest Assured: “Never Have I Ever”
Get to know your friends and family on perhaps a TMI basis. Or, keep it simple and fun with silly statements like “Never have I ever regifted something.” Suitable for adults only and traditionally played with adult beverages. Please remember to drink responsibly and don’t say anything you might regret on Boxing Day.
Sorry Not Sorry: Not-so Newlywed Game
What’s the worst gift your spouse ever bought you? How many boyfriends/girlfriends did your spouse have before you? Gather a couple of couples and let the questioning begin. Download a free printable or make up your own bombshell questions.
Act Accordingly: In the Manner of the Adverb
One person out of the group who’s “it” leaves the room. All other players pick an adverb to describe an action (a good example are words that end in “ly”, like slowly, chillingly). The “it” person returns and asks each player to act something out “in the manner of the adverb.” You might ask Mom to go grocery shopping in the manner of the adverb, and mom will have to take the stage, slowly of course. More players can be called upon to develop the scene more. The one who’s It has to guess the adverb.
And as for that trivia question, what was the original “Reindeer game”? Baseball