The holidays and Christmas in 2021 may look a little different than in years past. Regardless of what this year has been like, it can still be a time to reflect, relax, enjoy, and celebrate the completion of the year. Whether you are planning an outdoor gathering for coworkers or friends, an intimate dinner for your immediate household, or even a virtual get together, we have put together a great list of fun Christmas games you can include in your party planning. As a side note, you may also enjoy reading through our list of additional fun Christmas activities for adults and children. From Christmas trivia challenges to some of our favorite Minute to Win It Christmas games, we think you will find at least a few ideas perfect for every occasion.
Before we dive into our list, it is important to keep a few things in mind when planning games for a Christmas party:
How to Play: This is a fun virtual Christmas game idea! Before the game begins, have every player submit a picture of their all-time-favorite holiday present to the game moderator. If your gift is vague, be sure to explain what it is to the moderator. Once all images are collected, the moderator shows all of the gifts on one screen. Then each player guesses what gift belongs to what person. The player with the most correct number of matches wins. This game can also be switched up to share each player’s favorite holiday dessert or holiday tradition. There are plenty of different categories that can work for this holiday game!
Mochi Wrapping Paper designed by Chocomocacino
How to Play: This classic game is a hit in person or online. You can use an online idea generator to select the topic for each round. Once a topic is selected, one team member must use their body language to act out the concept as their teammates work to figure it out. Remember, no talking is allowed! If organizing this game through an online video platform, make sure people have their video cameras oriented to see as much of their body as possible as they act out the concept.
How to Play: You can recreate this classic TV game for your own living room. This game can easily be played online as well. The host will need to prepare in advance a list of questions and popular answers. Get creative on who you poll for the answers! Maybe you send an email to grandma for her top 5 answers. When you reveal the answers, instead of saying “survey says”, the host can respond, “grandma says!” Go for a general winter and holiday theme, or narrow down to fun specific Christmas ideas. Sample questions could include:
“Name one of Santa's reindeers.”
“Name one food you might have at a Christmas dinner.”
“Name a word or phrase that begins with "snow".”
“Name a Christmas cartoon that plays on TV every year.”
“Name Christmas plant.”
As far as scoring goes, each member of a team gets a chance to name one thing that they think is on the list. If someone names an item that isn’t on the list, that team’s play is over and the other team can steal the round.
How to Play: Split the group into teams of four to six people. Distribute a scoresheet to all teams where they will record their answers. A host will ask rounds of questions to all groups who will then write down their answers. Be sure to mix up the difficulty level of the questions. Sample questions could include:
“What day of the week did Christmas fall on in 2016?” (answer: Sunday)
“In the 12 Days of Christmas song, what are their 10 of?” (answer: Ten lords a-leaping)
“Christmas Island is a territory that belongs to what country?” (answer: Australia)
“In 1965, what well-known Christmas carol was the first song broadcasted from space? (answer: Jingle Bells)
After about 20 questions, collect the score sheets and declare a Christmas trivia winner. If looking for ideas for some of your trivia questions, you may want to look through our other posts on unique Christmas traditions from around the world and the history of Christmas cards.
How to Play: Divide the party attendees into teams and ask them to come up with creative team names. You could reward a bonus point or two for the best name. Distribute a scoresheet to all teams where they will record their answers. A host will then play a short clip of a holiday jingle and allow teams to write down what song they believe it is. To mix things up, the host can also stop a song at any point and ask for the next line of lyrics. For added fun, you could pull a team captain up from each team and provide them with the name of a Christmas tune. Those team captains then need to whistle the melody to their team for them to try and guess the song.
How to Play: Most of the leg work for organizing this game is performed in the setup phase. Create your own image riddles or find some through an online search or trip to the local library. Below we have listed a couple of these riddles.
1. A drawing of playing cards stacked up in a home’s hallway (answer: Deck the Halls)
2. A picture of a rocket and a foot with an arrow pointing to the big toe (answer: mistletoe)
Once you have about 20 or 30 picture clues on a sheet of paper, you can distribute the riddles around to everyone (or present it on your computer screen). Set a time limit and play Christmas songs in the background while everyone is racking their brains to solve the picture puzzles.
Family Collage by Roxy Cervantes
How to Play: This game is exactly as it sounds. Similar to the childhood favorite pin the tail on the donkey, this Christmas game has a holiday twist. Mount a paper picture of a cartoon reindeer on the wall and equip all participants with a circular red cutout of Rudolph’s nose. Players must attach the red nose as close as possible to the wall drawing while blindfolded.
How to Play: The setup and preparation for this game are what will take the most effort as the party-planner. Type up a list of about 30 or 40 Christmas-themed words where the letters have been scrambled up. Below is a list of some examples:
Estcalunase (answer: Santa Clause)
Leignj (answer: jingle)
Simotleet (answer: mistletoe)
Hand out a sheet to each person (or you could mail out a worksheet in advance of a virtual holiday party) and let the competition begin! A perfect coordinating prize to award the winner is a Christmas storybook. Or how about a beautifully designed Minted journal, since they are so good with words and the English language?
How to Play: There are so many Christmas movies it’s hard to keep track of them all. While many of us have seen airings of these movies on TV every December, would you be able to identify the movie poster? Grab images from 20 or 25 popular movie posters and paste them on one sheet of paper or create a PowerPoint presentation to display them digitally. Using a photo editing tool (or simply a black marker), cross out the name of the movie on the poster. Hand out the sheets or display the presentation on your monitor and see if partygoers can correctly name the movie in this variation of Christmas trivia.
Here is a list of possible movies to include on your worksheet:
How to Play: You may have played a variation of this game in the past. Essentially, a Christmas-themed object or character is written on an index card. Once you have about 20 index cards filled out, they are placed face down on a table. Players each select one card (without looking at the word on the card) and adhere it to their forehead, so that all others playing the game can see the word. Players take turns asking “yes” or “no” questions to try and guess what word is on their card. If the answer to their question is “yes”, they can continue asking another question. If the answer is “no”, the player is done asking questions for that round, and attention is focused on a new player. Players try and eventually solve what word is on their card. This Christmas game can be a fun drinking game as well for the older crowd.
How to Play: This game is very simple and should only take a few minutes. You could use this game as a way to pick teams for future games or a quick icebreaker to get the holiday festivities started on the right track. Purchase a bag of large puffy marshmallows. Have two contestants take turns stacking one marshmallow on top of the next until the tower falls over. The person responsible for causing the tower to fall is then out. You could play this game with the full family and eliminate a player after each round.
How to Play: This game is best played in the comfort of your own home. Select your favorite Christmas movie and create some rules for when everyone takes a sip of their alcoholic beverage. Be sure to read through our list of some great Christmas cocktails you could make. For example, if you are watching the Grinch, you could take a drink every time a word starting with “Who” is said. Remember not to overdo it and drink responsibly.
How to Play: Who are the best architects, home decorators, and bakers in your group? This Christmas game will answer all those questions. Whether you purchase gingerbread house kits or buy a couple of boxes of Graham crackers and all the candy fixings, the final creations are bound to be Instagram-worthy. Award the best gingerbread house the winner. A fun prize idea for the winner can be a gift basket of candy or the board game Candyland. You can even host the competition virtually, with all participants making their creations live, on a video call.
How to Play: Find out who has the best sense of smell. Blindfold contestants and have them smell Christmas-themed objects that have been placed in different mason jars or little boxes. If you’re planning to host a virtual party, you can mail identical sealed boxes to each participant’s home. Players can then write down what their guesses are.
Possible scented items include:
How to Play: Have the holiday party host act as a referee. Seat two to four people in front of everyone and have them put on oven mitts. If you are looking for stylish oven mitts, Minted has you covered. Place three shoe-box sized boxes that have been wrapped in wrapping paper in front of each contestant. Minted can also help you out with the wrapping paper! Once the referee says “go”, all contestants race to unwrap their gifts with their oven mitts on.
Bold Botanical mittens designed by Laura Hankins
How to Play: This is the messiest of our Christmas games so far, which makes it a great option for kids. Have your children take turns transforming each other into giant snowmen! Provide materials like toilet paper rolls, colored construction paper, tape, scissors, sunglasses, mittens, and more. Set a time limit of about 10 - 15 minutes for each child to transform their siblings into a giant toilet paper snowman. The best-looking snowman wins the contest. Get the cameras and video cameras ready!
How to Play: Seat the contestant in a chair and have them tilt their head back so a Christmas cookie can be placed on their forehead. They have one minute to wiggle the cookie down their face and into their mouth, without using their hands. If the cookie falls to the ground they can pick it up and put it back on their forehead.
How to Play: This Minute to Win It Christmas game will test who has the quickest hands. One minute is all the time you have to stack 36 plastic cups into a giant pyramid. The cups should start in one stacked column and also end in one stacked column. Be sure to refresh the cups with each round, to minimize contact between groups.
How to Play: The secret to winning this tough challenge is a slow and steady approach. Have two bystanders hold the string taut at shoulder level. The player has one minute to hang six nails from the string in unison. This one is a nailbiter!
How to Play: This outdoor challenge requires two people simply because one person needs to hold a hula hoop steady about four feet off the ground. Mark a line with tape on the ground and have the person with the hula hoop stand at least six feet away. The contestant must blow a bubble from behind the line and gently blow the bubble through the hula hoop in one minute. If the bubble pops, the contestant must run back to the line and start again. This bubble game is a great Christmas game to play with any social “bubbles” or “pods” your family may have formed for the holiday season.
How to Play: Stack six empty soda cans in a pyramid on a stool. Line up the player six to eight feet from the stool and provide them with a bowl of rubber bands. In one minute, you must shoot all cans over.
How to Play: Have the person doing this Christmas Minute to Win It challenge place a headband around their head. Thread about four or five coils of the Slinky through the space between the headband and the person’s forehead. The contestant then leans over and lets the Slinky hang down to the floor like an elephant trunk. Without using their hands, they must flip the Slinky to land fully compressed for three seconds on their forehead.
How to Play: Fold 20 index cards in half so they create tented upside-down “V’s”. Assemble the folded index cards alongside 10 straight index cards on a table. In one minute you must create a 10-level paper tower using two folded cards and one straight card for each level. You might want to make sure all windows are closed and ceiling fans are turned off if you’re playing in person. This is also a great game to play virtually, over a video call.
How to Play: This is the messiest of our Christmas Minute to Win It games, and for that reason should probably be reserved for family members in the same household only. Place a healthy portion of Vaseline on a paper plate. On a separate paper plate placed next to the plate with Vaseline, dump out 15 to 20 cotton balls. Lastly, put a third paper plate on the other side of the room. Family members must put their hands behind their back and dip their nose in the Vaseline. Once their nose is sticky, they can collect cotton balls from one plate (on their nose) and transfer them over to the third plate. Once five cotton balls have been transferred across the room, the challenge is complete.
Oh Deer! Wrapping Paper designed by surface love
How to Play: This challenge will undoubtedly bring your party attendees out of their chairs to hoot and holler in excitement. If you want the energy level at your Christmas party to liven up, simply introduce this game. To play, attach a string to both ends of an empty rectangular tissue box. Fill the tissue box with the eight ping pong balls and detach the clear plastic covering that encloses the tissue box hole opening. With the string, tie the tissue box around your waist with the box sitting just below your lower back and the box hole facing outward. In one minute, the contestant must bounce, wiggle, and shake to jostle the eight ping pong balls free. This game is also an excellent choice to play while social distancing.
How to Play: This Minute to Win It Christmas game sounds like it should be easy, but you will be surprised how quickly things turn out of control when a balloon starts to go adrift. Simply keep three separate balloons in the air for one full minute and you win. If you find that the challenge is too easy, try adding a balloon or prohibiting the use of your hands.
How to Play: Using glue or tape, attach a full container of TicTacs to each end of a ruler (both face up). Have a contestant bite down on the middle of the ruler. Once the clock starts, the contestant can shake their head to and fro to try and rattle all TicTacs out of both containers in one minute. For this game as well, be sure to refresh the supplies after each round to ensure that the game is safe and fun.
How to Play: Line up 15 plastic cups face down on the edge of a table (about six inches from the ledge). Players have one minute to blow up a balloon and use the air from the balloon to blow cups off the table. You can repeatedly blow up the balloon during the one minute. If playing multiple rounds with different family members, be sure to use different balloons each round to keep players germ-free!
And there you have it! We hope our list of 28 Christmas games helps you plan an unforgettable holiday party this year whether it is inside, outside, or online, with 2 other people or 20! Even if you don’t host a party, some of these games and challenges are fun to try at home with your family.