Fun Family Holiday Games

When families come together for the holidays it is a great opportunity to plan a few games that can include any age and physical capability.

Outdoor or Covered Area Games

  1. Ping Pong is fun at any age. It is spirited competition with two players or doubles.
  2. Family Sports.  Basketball, Badminton, Volleyball, Kick ball or even Croquet in the backyard or local park depending on weather conditions, of course.
  3. Santa Tag. One person is “Santa” who doesn’t want to be caught!  Attach several snow flakes to their back and other guests try to tag “Santa” (and get a feather) in 2 minutes or less per chase.  The trick is no one can use their hands to tag “Santa”.  The one with the most snow flakes wins.
  4. Jump Rope. Everyone who wants to participate can play. (And work off some calories at the same time.) The one with the most legal jumps, i.e. no misses, wins a prize.
  5. Talent Show.  Willing participants get to display or perform their talents.

Indoor Holiday Games with playing cards, board games or Word games

  1. The Dictionary Game.  With a dictionary, each person takes a turn to find an unusual (or unfamiliar) word in the dictionary.  He/she announces the word and everyone writes down what they think the word means, including the person who chose the word who writes down the correct meaning.  The various answers are passed to the person choosing the word who reads each guess aloud.  Everyone votes on which is the correct meaning.  The winner is the one who gets the mostvotes, real meaning or not!
  2. Pictionary.  A popular card game where teams compete by choosing cards out of a deck of special Pictionary cards and tries to draw pictures without numbers or letters which suggest the word printed on the card. The teammates try to guess the word the drawing is intended to represent.
  3. Holiday Scramble Game.  Someone says a word related to the particular holiday and everyone tries to come up with as many words possible within the letters in that word. The winner with is the one with the most authentic words.
  4. Apples to Apples. Guests pick from descriptive cards that they select and hold.  Each guest will say a word and the rest of the players with the descriptive cards offer their version of that description.  The winner is chosen by the person who thinks he or she has the best description for their word.
  5. Scavenger Hunt with pictures of an item related to the Holiday such as reindeer or a sled.  (Great game to involve the kids). The host hides these pictures all around the house. Pictures can be cut out of magazines or drawn.  The winner is the person/youngster who finds the most pictures.
  6. Digital Hot Potato.  Get out the camera.  The first player sets the camera timer for the longest setting available and starts the countdown. He or she points the camera at themselves for a couple of seconds,then passes it to the person on the left.  Each guest does the same until the camera snaps a shot. The last person to avoid having their picture taken wins.
  7. Charades.  Tailor a charades game to the holiday you’re family is celebrating. Print slips of paper detailing the charade to be acted out. For Christmas, people can act out characters from “A Christmas Carol,” names of Christmas/Hanukah songs, holiday movies, poems, stories and so on.
  8. Unwrap the Gift Game.  This game is similar to musical chairs, in that the action starts and stops with the music. Select a present that anyone in your family would enjoy winning. Wrap the present in several layers of gift wrap. Ask everyone to sit in a circle on the floor or around a table. Turn on some music and tell family members to pass the gift around. When the music stops, the person who is holding the gift gets to remove one layer of gift wrap. Keep turning the music on and off until the gift is unwrapped. The person who peels off the last layer of gift wrap wins the gift.

All these Holiday games can be rewarded with a few simple prizes such as gift cards for the local Starbucks or Coffee Bean or other gift shop.  Prizes could also be something to enjoy at home like escaping doing any dishes, first in the buffet line, first choice of dessert or getting special recognition during dinner.  Of course, money is always appreciated too!

These are just a few ideas to help make your holiday a memorable family tradition that guests will look forward to every year. Games can be creative, fun and involve everyone.  Have fun and we hope you enjoy creating some new family traditions.

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