Sure, Christmas is a holiday that brings the joy out of everyone. If I’m being completely honest, though, it’s one of the most stressful times of the year for me. The dinner parties, excessive time spent in the kitchen preparing meals, the last-minute shopping, and the crowds sometimes just completely drain me from what’s supposed to be a magical time for the family.
Instead of saying RSVPing yes to every. single. engagement., I’m taking a time out this year and planning a couple family-only game nights where we’ll play holiday games and just sit around and chill. Hopefully these holiday games will help us relax and truly enjoy the season. I’ve been researching obsessively, and came up with these entertaining, holiday games are great for kids. Bonus: you and your spouse will love ’em just as much as the kids do.
1. Human Christmas Tree
Divide your guests up into teams. Give each team a roll of green crepe paper, a variety of ornaments on hooks, and tinsel. Have the teams choose one member who will become the Christmas tree. Then, set a timeer for two minutes. The team has until the buzzer goes off to wrap up their Christmas tree with the green streamers and decorate them with ornaments and tinsel. Once time is up, the groups will vote on which tree is the best (or most creative, or prettiest).
2. Jingle Bell Shake
This one will get everyone dancing! For this game you will need two empty tissue boxes (one per team), two ropes or ribbons, and 10 to 20 small jingle bells. Poke two holes on opposite ends of the bottom of the tissue boxes and weave the rope or ribbon through them, then tie the empty tissue boxes around the players backside. Place 10 little jingle bells in the box. When the Christmas music starts, one player per team has one minute to dance out as many of the bells from the box that they can.
3. Holiday Maze
Divide players into teams, or if multiple families are present, each family can make up a team. Provide each team with a pair of pantyhose with the toes cut off, two pieces of ribbon, and at least 10 balloons. The goal of the game is to blow up the balloons and stuff them into the pantyhose (5 per leg), then tie the toes closed using the ribbon. Once they have completed this, one team member must wear the pantyhose on their head. The first one who dons the completed antlers on their head wins.
7. Twelve Days of Christmas Relay
Place a pile of candy canes on a table and provide a plate or small basket for each player. Give each player a candy cane to put in his mouth with the hook end down. The player must use the candy cane hook to pick up as many candy canes from the table as they can in one minute and move them to their plate or basket. When the minute is up, the player with the most candy canes in their basket wins. Repeat with two new players, one per team.
10. Snowball Fight
Divide the children into two teams and place a dividing line in the middle of the room. Provide each team with a basket of crumpled white paper or tissue paper. Once you call “go,” the players on each team must grab a snowball and throw it into the other team’s side. They may pick up any thrown snowballs on their side and throw it back to the other team’s side. This continues for one minute. The team who has the least number of snowballs on their side after one minute is the winner.
11. Marshmallow Toss
For each team, provide a wreath, a bag of marshmallows, and a bucket. Have one person from each team hold the wreath to their side, and place the bucket directly behind the wreath. Another team player will have one minute to throw marshmallows, one by one, through the wreath, aiming for them to land in the bucket. After one minute the player with the most marshmallows in the bucket gets a point for their team. Play again with two other team members, and so on. The team with the most points after each player has had a turn wins the game.
Photo: Getty/Tatyana Tomsickova Photography