Make the Season Brighter with These 3 Holiday Games for the Whole Family

Photo by Aleksandar Nakic / iStock
Photo by Aleksandar Nakic / iStock

It’s that time of year: The family is here, the fire is delightful, the cider is hot…and sometimes intros are strained and conversation gets pretty sparse (hey, it happens to everybody). We’ve got a great way to break the ice and get everybody giggling in no time, whether they’re three or 93. Let the merriment and memory-making begin!

1. Crazy Costumes, Holiday-Style

Before the gang arrives, prepare a bag full of dress-up clothes—and the more outlandishly holiday-ish, the better! Over-size suits, glittery dresses, whimsical hats, antlers, tinsel, high heels and boots, crazy sweaters, and masks that you wouldn’t wear any other time are made for this game. Is your wardrobe on the more conservative side? Hit your local thrift shop for some garishly excellent finds.

How to Play

  • Have players sit in a circle.
  • Turn on the music and set a timer.
  • When the music starts, pass the bag of clothes from person to person as quickly as possible.
  • When the music stops, the player holding the bag has to pull out an article of clothing (without looking!) and put it on.
  • Keep playing until the bag is empty.
  • At the end, the player who is judged to look the silliest is the winner!

2. Hot Potato Camera

Remember hot potato? Well, here’s a modern spin on the game we found here. Instead of a “potato,” this version calls for a digital camera or smartphone, and some scraps of paper and writing utensils. (FYI, dropping is entirely possible, so we recommend a couple of options: Play over a soft surface, use a phone that has a protective case, or use an older model that you don’t mind risking.)

How to Play

  • Have players sit in a circle.
  • Have everyone write down one or two zany actions (e.g., stand on your head, kiss the dog, put on Grandpa’s sweater, etc.) and put these in a bowl.
  • Set the timer and turn on the music.
  • When the music starts, pass the camera from person to person as quickly as possible.
  • When the timer goes off, the player holding the camera must draw a funny action from the bowl and have his or her picture taken performing it.
  • Capture all the photos, upload them to a digital album maker (such as Shutterfly), and send to family members as a New Year’s gift!

3. Holiday Charades

Who doesn’t love a good miming challenge every now and again? (Plus, it’s great practice for your wee one’s brain!) 

How to Play

  • All you have to do for this one is make a list of holiday songs, holiday movies, or even holiday toys. Bam! Holiday charades.
  • Have some little actors in your group? Create a special kids’ phrase list with ideas that are easier for them to act out (such as snowman or Santa Claus).
  • If everybody’s okay with it, capture some of the holiday hilarity on that smartphone of yours—you’ll want to remember the fun for winters to come!
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