Christmas Party Games

Who said Christmas parties have to be boring? Check out these Christmas party games below to add some spice to your holiday gatherings!

1. Christmas Tree Activities
2. Dress Santa Game
3. Family Gift Exchange Game
4. Family Fun Christmas Activities
5. Fun Office Party Activities
6. Fun Office Gift Exchange Game
7. Pin the Beard On Santa Game

1. Christmas Tree Activities

Decorating the Christmas tree is an event that most members of any family look forward to. It not only is a time to reflect and remember where the various ornaments came from or who made them, it is also an exciting time that really brings Christmas right into the home.

There are a variety of activities you can incorporate into bring the Christmas tree into your home. Some families enjoy singing "Oh Christmas Tree" as the tree is brought into the home. Make a fun activity of this whereby everyone has to come up with an original verse to the song (since few know the actual words). This can keep everyone entertained while someone else works to get the tree standing up straight.

Once the tree is in a stand and ready to be decorated, make a game out of the ornaments. Put all the homemade ornaments aside and work with those first. Start with the first family member and ask them who made the ornament, where did it come from? Once the details are out of the way, ask the crafter (likely a child) if they remember making the ornament. If you're the parent, tell the child what you thought when you first saw the ornament. This is fun, since it reminds children that the things they make and bring home are meaningful to the parents.

There is always one ornament that is just ugly, or plain silly. Play "hot potato" with that ornament. Whoever gets stuck with the ugly ornament has to say one nice thing about it, such as "well, there's a lot of glitter on it and that's pretty", or "Dougie made it, so I like it". It's a silly way to remind children to find good in everything. It might even remind them that things are just things. This is a good lesson for this time of year.

Some people use an advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas, and this is how it's traditionally done, but there is one fun activity sure to be a hit with children. Similar to the concept in Germany (where the advent calendar originated) this involves providing one small gift for children every day until Christmas. In Germany, it's only done for several days before Christmas, but you can do it for the 24 days of the month until Christmas arrives.

Buy tiny handled gift bags at the craft store. Buy 1 for each of your children. Have the children decorate the bags, and on each of the 24 bags, have them place a number as well, 1 through 24. As you decorate the tree, find space for each of these little bags. Because they have handles, they can hang right on the tree like an ornament, or you can tie ribbon on the handles so they have a more graceful swing. Each night, fill the right bag with a tiny prize or gift. So if it's the night of December 14, you'll take bag #15 (all the bags with earlier numbers will be gone) and put some little trinket in it. It might be a piece of candy, a tiny ornament for your child's own tree, a tiny car or small eraser. The idea here is that it's a small gift, but come morning, that's the first activity your children will engage in - discovering what little treat you left for them the night before.

2. Dress Santa Game

If you are willing to put a little time and energy into a Christmas game, this one is surefire hit. It's called "dress Santa" and it's funny and silly and worth having a camera round to record the fun. You might even want a camcorder as well.

Here's how it works. Create a dress-up box with a Santa costume and other items that Santa might or might not wear. You want to have full-bore Santa suits to make the game really fun. They can be found for around $100 or maybe a little less if you buy one at a costume shop that's used.

You'll put the Santa suit in a large suitcase or trunk. Be sure you have as many Santa items as possible; for example, you want to have a pair of boots, gloves, a big belt, etc. Then in the trunk or suitcase, mix in other items, like jewelry, hats, socks, shoes and feather boas. It's probably obvious where this is going.

At the Christmas party, someone volunteers to play the game. Ideally, you'll have several volunteers so you can time people and award a prize for fastest or most interesting, or whatever works based for your party.

The chosen person gets blindfolded and stripped down to their bare essentials. No, it's not that kind of game, but if a woman is wearing a sweater over a T-shirt and shoes, the shoes and the sweater can be removed, so she has less on her to begin with. Once the person is blindfolded, begin timing them. Tell them they must dress Santa as quickly as possible in his Santa suit only, nothing else. To spice up the game and make it more interesting, be sure to include some items in the trunk that might feel like Santa items, but aren't. For example, you'll have Santa's black gloves in the trunk, but also include a pair or two of garden gloves, and Santa has a belt, but you could include other belts as well. Be sure to include several hats (even a princess hat, which might feel like a Santa hat to a disoriented participant).

Once Santa is dressed, stop the timer and take the blindfold off. Everyone can get a good laugh at the result. Santa might have his suit on, but he might also be wearing a robe. Or he might be in his suit, but with garden gloves, a rhinestone belt and a princess hat. Be sure to take pictures of your good sport and move to the next participant. It's better if the other players aren't in the room, since many might remember the various items in the trunk and make mental notes about what to ignore and what to use.

After the Santas are done with their dressing and the requisite pictures have been taken, decide on a winner. Is the winner the Santa who dressed in 45 seconds, or the one that wore the garden gloves, princess hat and rhinestone belt combination? It's a tough call, but a winner must be crowned, so to speak. You can award prizes (Santa hats filled with candy are fun) or you can keep this all in fun and let the good sports know the fun is in the silly playing.

3. Family Christmas Gift Exchange Games

It used to be that families had no rules about gift buying. Everyone bought for everyone else, and gifts were exchanged when the family all got together somewhere during the Christmas season.

These days, it's more common for people to draw a name out of a hat or get assigned a person to buy for. Or the family creates a type of "white elephant" exchange instead of having family members buy for individuals in particular. So, what many families need is a fun way to exchange the gifts, whether they be for a specific person or whether they are 'white elephant" type gifts.

If the family members drew names, there are several fun things you can do. The gifts can be hidden and clues given as to the location of the gifts. So, if you arrive at grandma's house with your gift for Aunt Martha, you might tuck her gift into a kitchen cabinet. Then you'd create a series of clue as to here it is. You might say, "Cinnamon lurks here" or "it's the hub of the home, but not always the home of the hub".

The clues can be silly or deadly serious. They can be designed so someone will know where to find their present in just minutes, or designed so that it takes a series of clues to get someone right to their gift. If the group is small or the house particularly large, and the participants have the time you can always create a hunt where more than one tip is left and one tip leads to another, which leads to another until the gift is finally found.

Why should the kids have all the fun? Create some fun gift exchange ideas for adults. Whether the family is doing a name draw and exchanging regular gifts or not, you can have some good family fun with a white elephant gift exchange. How about a themed white elephant gift exchange? If the family is into fishing, you could create that as a theme. Everyone must bring a gift related to fishing (this could be anything from sporting goods items, to a singing bass that goes on the wall). It could be a hand held electronic fishing game or a board game with fishing as a theme.

In that same vein, you could create a "cooking" white elephant exchange or a camping themed gift exchange. Again, it's more about what will please members of the family than anything. Then create some fun games for the exchange itself. Perhaps everyone draws a number and gets to pick their gifts from the pile in the middle based on their number. Perhaps you begin the game that way, but then also people to 'steal' someone else's gift if they choose.

You can require that the gift recipient shakes a gift, studies a gift and makes a good, educated guess as to its contents before opening it. If they are right, they can "steal" someone else's gift, but if they are wrong, they keep theirs. Add to the silliness factor by playing a card game and dictating that people can't get their gift and open it until they win a hand in the card game (ideally something fairly quick like poker or rummy).

The idea behind any family gift exchange should be enjoying each other's company and enjoying the Christmas spirit. As long as it's fun and engaging, there's no reason why the adults in the family can't have some fun games for exchanging gifts just the kids might.

4. Family Fun Christmas Activities

Family is at the core of the Christmas season, so creating fun memories with your family is always at the top of the must-do list this time of year.

What fun activities can you incorporate into your family life that makes Christmas memorable and fun? Plenty, really. There are the traditional and the things a little bit out of the box.

Think back to your childhood and Christmas time in your house. Are there particular memories that are clearer than others? Those are likely the traditions your parents created for you and your siblings. Trying to create traditions in your own home with your own children is one way to make Christmas fun, exciting and memorable. Perhaps it's decorating cookies, or making gingerbread houses. Maybe when you were younger your mom always had something yummy smelling coming from the kitchen. You can create the same tradition by simply keeping potpourri warmed and smelling nice, if you don't have the time to bake frequently.

If you want to do a fun family activity in the kitchen, but baking's not your thing, you can make a variety of other gift items in your kitchen. The kids love making chocolate and candy covered pretzel sticks, and you can pair those with homemade hot cocoa mix to give as gifts.

Be sure to incorporate music into your family's traditions. How about some family fun singing Christmas carols or creating your own family music CD? Record your family singing Christmas carols and use that CD as your music CD for the holidays. If you all are particularly talented, you could make these look pretty and give them as gifts.

Many families like to cut down their own Christmas tree. This is a really fun family activity that can add a lot to the Christmas season. Christmas tree farms are located just about everywhere. Check into a local grower's group for locations. You simply show up, grab a saw (this is mom or dad's job) and go hunting. Depending on the location of the tree farm, you might walk only a short distance, or you might have to hike up and down hills and far into the farm's reaches to find just the right tree.

To add even more fun to this activity, create another family tradition that will annually go with the tree cutting. It can be as simple as also having lunch (at the same place each year) and picking up candy to eat in the car on the way home. You might also add a shopping excursion to the day; after the tree is safe at home in a bucket of water, you might all go shopping as a family for some new ornaments.

Other fun family activities can include annual visits to certain places in your community. Does your town have an annual "Christmas tree lane" where all the homes on one street decorate (sometimes in an over the top fashion) for the holidays? You can make a tradition of driving down the street each year, or walking the entire street, if the weather allows. Walking gives the kids a chance to see some of the details of the various d├ęcor items.

Many children think hot cocoa is an essential part of the Christmas season. If that's the case with yours, you could start a fun family activity each year where you make a big batch of hot cocoa mix at the start of the season. Let the kids have a small cup each night before bed during the month of December and closer to Christmas, add special items to the hot cocoa, like mini marshmallows one night and whipped cream another. Be sure to leave this family-made hot cocoa for Santa on Christmas Eve!

At a certain age, children enjoy decorating their room for the holidays. One fun family Christmas activity is to encourage this decoration by letting the kids shop for items to put in their rooms and letting them do the decorating. Be sure to take a picture of them in their decorated room each year. They'll enjoy looking at the pictures year after year.

5. Fun Office Christmas Activities

Just because you're stuck in an office all day doesn't mean Christmas fun can't extend to your workplace. Depending on the environment at your work, it's definitely possible to mix holiday fun with work.

One obvious choice for some fun at the office during the holidays is to have a party. You could have several, in fact. How about a cookie exchange party? Plan to do this at lunchtime one day, and during that block of time, everyone brings several dozen cookies they have made. You have to set a particular number of cookies everyone brings. Because once everyone has an empty plate, they go around the table picking up cookies that look good to them and place them on their empty paper plate. If everyone brought 3 dozen cookies, say, then everyone gets to take home 3 dozen cookies. This is not a particularly unique idea, but one that brings a bit of fun into the workplace.

Keeping in mind whether or not the public visits your workplace, you might choose to decorate. Why not have a Christmas tree decorating event? Everyone brings 6 ornaments and as a group activity, everyone decorates the tree. This is a good way to build team spirit and decorate your workplace at the same time.

Don't forget to institute a "secret Santa" event at work, where you secretly buy gifts for someone and have some type of gift exchange. But what about a "Santa's helper" activity? Someone in the group has to begin this on the sly. Essentially, this first person (the only one in the know about how the whole thing began) puts together a little gift. Ideally, it's a basket with a few gift items in it. They might be decorative items, or baked goods or even bath items. Attach a card saying that "Santa's helper" dropped by and brought these items. Now the person who received the "helper's" gift must put together a little something for someone else and - again on the sly - deliver it to the next person. It continues until everyone has received a visit from "Santa's helper".

Nothing brings people together like a group activity designed to help others. What if your officemates came up with an activity designed to help people less fortunate at the holidays? You might adopt a local family and everyone in the office purchases items for that family. You might choose to purchase Christmas trees for needy families. If the public visits your office often, you might even begin a "sharing" tree and people can bring items to put under the tree for needy families or children. As a group activity, the office workers can then deliver these items to the needy.

The particularly festive office might want to have someone come in and do a cooking demonstration. If there are enough people interested, you can hire a cook or baker to come into your office on your lunch hour and do a demonstration or class. Say you want to bake but don't know what to bake this year. A baker can come in and demonstrate cookies or other goodies you might not have thought to make. Or someone can come in with ideas and samples for the perfect Christmas meal. These ideas are perfect for the environment where people work many hours and are quite busy but still want to do their regular cooking and baking each year.

6. Fun Office Gift Exchange Games

There are dozens of fun office gift exchange games people can play during the Christmas season. Officemates might have a "secret Santa" gift exchange or a popular "white elephant" gift exchange. All are popular and always fun, provided the rules are clear and everyone understands them.

One of the most popular office games involving Christmas gifts is the "white elephant" gift exchange. The rules can vary depending on the office and participants, but generally it works something like this. Each person participating purchases a gift not to exceed a certain dollar amount (determined in advance and might range from $5 to $20, again depending on the group). The object here is a fun gift, so anything particularly practical is not welcome. You're looking for unusual and interesting, perhaps funny, and something other people will want.

Everyone who's participating in the exchange gets a number (the number should be the same as the number of presents). The numbers should be they drawn out of a hat or something else (perhaps a Santa hat, in recognition of the season?). So, the person who draws number "1" goes first and picks a present. They open it and keep it. The second person can either pick a different present or they can "steal" the first present. They can't open a present until they are sure they are keeping their choice and not picking the first gift. This continues until everyone has a present. Any present that's been opened can be subject to stealing, but a gift can only be stolen three times.

At the end of the game, the person who was the first to open a present can steal a gift if they choose, since they didn't have an opportunity earlier.

In this game there's always one gift that everyone wants and will steal over and over again. What makes it fun is trying to figure out who is going to get the most coveted gift. In some cases, people can end up with the gift they brought.

Originally the "white elephant" gift exchange was a way for people to "regift" or give someone a gift they themselves received and don't want. For a fun twist, you could ask people to bring something from their home like that, or you can require they purchase something (with the aforementioned limit on spending).

There are many varieties of the Secret Santa game, which is so popular in offices, but one option that's fun involves putting a dollar limit on the purchase and having participants actually make "Santa lists". Here's how it works: Those participating create a little list for "Santa". There should also be a dollar limit placed on this gift exchange, so if that is $10, then people should only list items on their Santa list that can be purchased for $10 or less.

Everyone who is participating draws a list out of a hat, or some other object, and sets about shopping for that person. They know who they are shopping for, but the recipient doesn't. On exchange day, the Secret Santas must deliver the gifts to their officemates' desks without being seen. Those participating can decide if they want people to sign the cards attached to the gifts, or if the secret should stay a secret. If they choose the latter, gift giving can be interesting, since it's anonymous, but many people choose to have cards signed so in the end, people who to thank for their gifts.

7. Pin The Beard On Santa Game

When it comes to silly party games, it seems unfair that birthdays get all the attention and Christmas none. It's time to bring back some silly party games for Christmas, and "Pin the beard on Santa" is as good a place to start as any.

To begin this game, you need a cardboard cutout of Santa. This can be purchased at some party stores, or even little gift shops. It doesn't have to be large, but it should be a big face of Santa. You can also find these at educational supply stores, or teacher supply stores, in the section of other cardboard decoration items that teachers put on classroom walls.

Once you get Santa's face home, cut off his beard. That's right, cut if clean off. There's no point in pinning Santa's beard on him if it's already there, right? The beard you sliced off can either be thrown away or keep it to tape back up later, if you want to use Santa's face for another game or as decoration.

Now, you can create several beards out of different items. It's easy to take a piece of thick cardstock and cut the beard out of that, or you can use foam with adhesive backing. You can simply peel the backing off right before it's used. You could also make the beard out of crumpled white paper, simply computer paper or the like. If you want to get a bit more elaborate, create Santa's beard out of cotton balls or a large piece of cotton pulled and shaped into the semblance of a beard.

If you have 5 people playing this game, you'll need 5 beards. 10 people? 10 beards. You get the idea.

You play "pin the beard on Santa' exactly as you play "pin the tale on the donkey" and similar games. Spin the person around, make sure they are blindfolded and then have them try to replace Santa's lost beard. Self-adhesive foam works well because once they place it on the picture of Santa, it's not going to move, so they can't change their blindfolded mind and change the position once they pick a position. It's there for the duration.

No, you can add several variations to this game. For example, you can buy a full-size cardboard Santa (again, the party stores often have these, or school supply stores, or you can make one of your own without much effort). You might have people pin the boots on Santa, pin the hat on Santa, or pin a red button nose on Santa.

One fun (adult) version of this game is to pin the chest hair on Santa. Create a fun cardboard Santa with his suit unbuttoned. It's a big macho for Santa, but also a bit fun. Then fashion "chest hair" out of yarn, threads or fake fur. Attach some sort of adhesive to the back (foam stickers work, or heavy-duty double-stick tape) and have people try and pin the chest hair on Santa the same way they attached his beard or might attach his boots.

Any good game offers a prize for the winner, and this one is no exception. You could always offer Santa to the winning 'pinner" or you could have something more elaborate like a Santa goodie bag, filled with Santa pencils, Santa erasers, a Santa coffee mug, and Santa-themed candy.


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