Christmas Games for the Family!
December 17, 2012 10:09 AM   Subscribe

What are some fun games my family can play at our annual Christmas Eve party?

Every Christmas Eve my family gets together for a giant dinner, presents, games, the usual. This event has included a Greed Game/Yankee Swap/White Elephant since before I was born, but the past few years, we've incorporated some other games too. This year, I've been put in charge of the game, so I'm looking for some ideas with the following qualities:

-Good for about 20 adults ages 20-80. Some of the older folks aren't super mobile, so something they can play sitting down is probably best.
-Not a board game/dice game, etc. It should be pretty informal.
-Doesn't require any kind of AV setup.
-Should be somehow Christmas related.

In the past, we've played Christmas trivia Jeopardy using a big poster board, but after about three years of it, we are hoping for something new. We've also done things like word searches or name all the reindeer. Any new ideas would be more than welcome!

Thanks so much for your suggestions!
posted by chatongriffes to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: We've always played Celebrity (except that for my family of non-pop-culture types, it's more like Names that we All Know). We use the Alternative Play rules. Around Christmas we like to add "celebrities" such as Santa Claus, Rudolph, Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, etc. Other celebs who feature heavily: various pets in the family, Elvis, obscure famous people that only my parents remember, etc.

All the set up you need is pencils, a hat (Santa hat, if possible!) and imaginations/booze.
posted by AmandaA at 10:47 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Trivial Charades! -- does not have to be a drinking game. In fact, maybe instead of drinks, you incorporate a Xmas song sing-a-long.
posted by amanda at 11:19 AM on December 17, 2012

Drawing games (like Pictionary, but you don't need to own Pictionary to do this) work well for large, diverse groups. Make up words and phrases that are specific to the holiday and/or to your family, split everyone into two teams, and have each side take turns sending up one person to be the artist. You need large sheets of paper (propped up on an easel/chair or taped to the wall, or even just resting on a table if there's a way the whole team can get close enough to see), some markers, some kind of timer (borrowed from another game, or an egg timer from the kitchen, or someone's stopwatch or phone app), and enough time to choose the words in advance and write them on separate slips of paper. If you want to get fancier and have different categories of words, you might also want a die to roll to determine the category for each turn.

The team has a predetermined amount of time (e.g. a minute) to guess what their artist is drawing by shouting out as many guesses as they want to take; if they get it right, they get a point, and if not, the other team has a chance to steal the point by guessing correctly after the first team's time has run out. If the first team guesses correctly while there is still time on the clock, the artist can select another word and keep going until time runs out.
posted by jessypie at 11:29 AM on December 17, 2012

The "Werewolf"/"Assassins"/"Mafia" game is tailor made for your situation.

(FWIW some of the rules in the Wikipedia article are a lot more complex than the way I've played it -- we wrote the "roles" on slips of paper, and I believe we played with one Narrator and 2-3 werewolves/assassins/what-have-you. I don't remember there being other roles on the cards besides "townsperson" and "werewolf", though I guess I could be forgetting something. Been a long time since I've played.)
posted by Sara C. at 11:43 AM on December 17, 2012

My family plays Bingo with scratch off lottery tickets as prizes. It works for the old people, it works for a crowd, and you can always customize it to be more holiday-themed.
posted by JannaK at 2:55 PM on December 17, 2012

I have made Christmas edition of Guesstures and Scattergories and Taboo.

If you do the Pictionary that Jessypie recommends, see if someone can borrow a white board from their office for a few days.

I found tons of Christmas trivia quizzes online, both verbal and pictorial quizzes. Also the kind where they rename the popular Christmas songs - they give you something like Miniscule Suburb of Jerusalem and you have to write O Little Town of Bethlehem. We do these either as a large group with one person reading them out, or divide into teams to work together.
posted by CathyG at 3:24 PM on December 17, 2012

Apples to apples is my family's favorite game from the eleven year old to the eighty something year old...
Technically not Christmas themed, but the cards are red and green...
posted by missriss89 at 4:02 PM on December 17, 2012

Best answer: Time's Up is guessing game up to 18 players (probably not really a hard limit).

Time's Up! is a party game for teams of two or more players (best with teams of two). The same set of famous names is used for each of three rounds. In each round, one member of a team tries to get his teammates to guess as many names as possible in 30 seconds. In round 1, almost any kind of clue is allowed. In round 2 no more than one word can be used in each clue (but unlimited sounds and gestures are permitted). In round 3, no words are allowed at all.
posted by ridogi at 4:59 PM on December 17, 2012

The naming game, a staple of my family for years now, could work nicely. It's just a simple guessing game, with everyone split into two teams and then each person is asked to write down five things on a set amount of topics (so, five types of fruit, five films, five countries etc.) which are then put into a bowl. Teams then nominate a person/select an order of people who have a minute to describe whatever they pick out of the bowl. No gestures, no using the words on the paper, and each team takes turns describing to themselves. You could easily restrict the topics to Christmas themes like Christmas carols, Christmas food, famous reindeer, anything that'd fit.

The game is pretty informal, with the guessing getting pretty frantic as the bowl starts to empty, and has produced some running jokes among my family over the years. Also, age shouldn't be an issue; we have 12-80 years olds playing, and it's usually about 10-15 people in total.
posted by Inner Universe at 6:12 AM on December 18, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Games like Taboo and Catchphrase are always big hits with my family, so I think a Christmas themed analog version will be perfect!
posted by chatongriffes at 8:46 AM on December 18, 2012

I was at a Christmas cookie exchange where we played this game:

Everyone gets a dinner-sized paper plate (heavier, like Chinet) and a pen. You instruct them to put the plate on their head, like you would place it on a table. Next, you read a Christmas scene, and tell them to draw the scene on the plate they can't see on the top of their head: "Draw a Christmas tree. Now, decorate the tree, and draw presents, if you are so inclined. Next, draw a fireplace with a fire in it. Now, draw a stocking on the mantel--careful, don't let it get burned!" Etc.

Then, everyone takes their plate down, and giggles at each other's drawings.

If you want--you can vote on a best picture, or assign a point value to things like ornaments, presents, garland, etc. and the person with the most points/the choice of the crowd wins a small gift.

It is great fun, and a variation of the best birthday party game, ever (drawing a picture of a pig on your head)!
posted by FergieBelle at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2012

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