Children home on winter break are full of boundless energy and laughter. Why not harness all that winter joy and have a game day for your family? Maybe your family has a few beloved games that you’ve played over and over again and you need a break from the norm or maybe you’re family wants to begin a new holiday tradition and you need some inspiration… whatever the reason, we have plenty of wonderful holiday game suggestions that we’re sure will please every game lover in your home.
If you’ve invited older children over and you’d like to burn off some of their energy before moving on to cake and cookies, try holiday variations of the popular "Minute to Win It" games. Have your party-goers take turns and see who can take the biggest swallow of hot chocolate or who can sing "Rudoplh the Red-Nosed Reindeer" the fastest. If you want to be particularly silly, see how long it takes to pop a red pom pom on their Vaseline-covered noses. Be sure to take pictures!
If your friends and family are more artistic, try a gingerbread house decorating contest. Divide your guests into teams of 2-4 kids and then give each team its own house to decorate. You can use traditional gingerbread houses or go with the slightly more-kid-friendly route of using small milk cartons or graham crackers. Set the time for a specific time and see how creative and complicated the decorating can become in that time frame. All of the gingerbread houses can either be judged by all of your guests with polling boxes and slips of paper or you can have a few grown-ups or older kids be the judges and select the winner.
A holiday version of Pictionary lets the imagination fly. Write down lyric snippets from well-known carols and see who has the best drawing skills. You can also do this in reverse: If you have a talent for illustration or know someone who does, set out several depictions of popular carols and holiday songs and see how many your guests can correctly guess.
Scavenger hunts (also sometimes called treasure hunts) can be a fantastic way to incorporate holiday spirit, burn off excess energy and strengthen their minds. Use the clues to lead throughout the house or even outdoors where they may encounter Frosty or Rudolph (just make sure the kids are all appropriately prepared to be out of doors if you plan on this approach)?) in search of the big prize. Not only will they work their minds, but they might get a change to run off some of that sugar.
Even the smallest of your visitors will love these ideas and be begging for this for years. It’s easy to adapt preschool games for a Christmas part. Try "Pin the Hat on Frosty" or "Pin the Star over the Nativity". Strap on a set of fake antlers and a red nose to become Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and play a game of "Rudolph Says". Have a team relay race featuring Frosty’s black top hat instead of batons.
A different option is to try the Penguin Walk which is a lot of fun and causes much hilarity to ensue. Have the kids line up in teams of four to five people. Hand a balloon or a small soft ball to the child who’s lined up first.. Your guests place it in between their knees and then must navigate through the course you’ve laid out waddling the whole way like a penguin. The first team to finish is the winner.
One of the most traditional Christmas Party Games is the White Elephant or Gift Exchange. Based on your guests age and capability of following complex directions, you can host a white elephant gift exchange in many different ways. One option is to put all the presents on a table, have everyone pick one and open it at the same time, no exchanges allowed. Or try to have the kids all take turns allowing them to choose either a new gift from the pile or one that another child has already selected. Another creative way to exchange gifts, is to host an auction allowing your guests to bid on their favorite gift using fake money you’ve provided them.
Regardless of whether you are hosting a large party or simply playing with your own children, you’ll be able to create many wonderful memories and spread Christmas cheer..