Playing games at your next holiday party can bring everyone together, encourage laughter and create wonderful memories. Games are not just for the kids. Adults can enjoy the friendly competition and camaraderie that comes from playing, too. Having fun is contagious—even those who don’t participate in the game love to watch and get into the holiday spirit.

1. What’s in Santa’s Bag?

Make Santa’s bag out of an old pillow case or create your own with red fabric. Fill the bag with 10-15 small household items like a hairbrush, wooden spoon or apple. Tie the bag closed with a ribbon. Give each guest a sheet of paper and a pen and ask them to guess what is in Santa’s bag by feeling for items from the outside of the bag. When playing the game with young children, pair them up with older kids or parents to help them write their answers. The winner is the person who guessed the most items correctly.

2. Holiday Charades

Write the names of movies or holiday characters that are easily recognized by your group on index cards. Place the cards in a decorated box. Turn on some music, have all the players sit in a circle and pass the box around. When the music stops, the person holding the box picks a card and acts out what is on it. If your guests prefer drawing to acting, supply a large dry erase board and markers. When someone guesses correctly, turn the music back on and the game starts again.

3. Coordinated Wrapping

This game works best with older children and adults. Pair up your guests and have them put their arm around the other person’s back, leaving one right arm and one left arm from the couple unrestricted. Supply a shirt box, wrapping paper, scissors, tape and a bow. Ask them to wrap the box together with each person only using one arm. Make it a relay race by having more than one team of conjoined wrappers. Give prizes for the fastest team or the best wrapped package.

4. Name That Tune

Play a couple of seconds of a popular holiday song and ask your guests to name the song. A variation on this game for older children and adults could be to play the song and have guests sing the next line. More tech savvy hosts can put together several movie clips and have their guests name the movie, actors or next line.

5. Who’s the Artist?

Provide a clipboard, sheet of white paper and a pen for each player. The players must hold the clipboard on their heads while they draw, so that they can’t see what they are drawing. One person gives instructions for a holiday scene. Instructions might be to draw a fireplace with three stockings; add a Christmas tree in the corner; put a star on top of the tree, etc. When everyone is done, choose a judge to determine the best picture. This simple game will guarantee laughter from artists and judges alike.

6. Celebrity Sighting

Write the names of holiday figures (such as a shepherd or Rudolph) on a name tag or wide masking tape and put one on the back of each of your guests without them seeing the name. Have the guests mingle with each other, asking only yes or no questions to try to figure out who they are. This is a great game for breaking the ice and socializing with everyone when guests first arrive.

Make your holiday party entertaining and enjoyable. Encourage your guests to get off their chairs, put down their plates and join in the fun. Playing a game breaks down the walls we build around ourselves as we share the holiday spirit and joy of the season.

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three teens.


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