Holiday party games

Christmas tree by Mallory Marrs.

For those who believe games aren’t just for children; these holiday-themed activities are perfect for get-togethers and small parties.

Guess How Many Ornaments on the Christmas Tree

This is a great icebreaker to use while waiting for guests to arrive. If you don’t have a Christmas tree, you can have people guess the number of candies in a bowl, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Gingerbread Decorating Contest

This is one of the most intensely competitive holiday games in existence. Even those who claim that they can’t draw/paint/decorate cookies enjoy this game (and often win). Bake or buy a stack of gingerbread cookies (make sure to have extra in case they break) and unleash the icing. When everyone is satisfied with their creations (you might consider imposing a time limit), have all contenders cast their votes for their favourite.

If your group is more advanced, consider a gingerbread house building contest or divide into teams and have a holiday cookie bake-off. For recipe inspiration, check out our December recipes.

Christmas Song Bingo

Music bingo doesn’t just belong at pubs. Use an online bingo generator to make your own bingo cards with your favourite Christmas songs. Then, play snippets of your Christmas music in a random order while your guests mark off the song titles on their cards.

Christmas Song Trivia

For those who want to take Christmas song bingo to the next level. Choose from a selection of your favourite Christmas songs and have your guests compete to complete the lyrics or guess the title.

Christmas/Winter Charades

A classic, but one that never fails to entertain. If you don’t own charades, find some suggestions online or make up your own. If your friends or family are more artsy than theatrical, consider Christmas pictionary.

Candy Canes

This is really just a holiday spin on the card game ‘Spoons.’ Candy canes are used in place of the spoons. If you don’t know how to play spoons, here’s a good link with the rules. It can get pretty intense, so it might be a good idea to avoid playing with anyone who has overly sharp nails.

The Donkey Award

This is a fun one for New Year’s and great for people you know really well (who you trust). Guests nominate their friends/family for whoever made the biggest “ass” of themselves in the past year. Keep the stories light and funny—like your friend forgetting their own name, for example. Make sure to ask permission before blabbing a friend’s embarrassing secret. When everyone has been nominated, guests cast their vote for their favourites and the Donkey is selected.