10 Holiday Family Games and Activities
There’s no denying that November, December and January can seem like a blur, often filled with more stress than cheer! During these chaotic months, it’s important to slow down and make time for the things that matter the most: spending time with your family and loved ones.
We collected 10 of our favorite family holiday-themed games to help you get moving, get silly, show off your smarts, and more! These fun games for people of all ages are also great at helping guests and visitors feel included, so try one out during your next holiday get-together, party, meal, or snow day stuck at home.
Wintertime Treasure Hunt
Plan an all-out winter-themed scavenger hunt with gifts as prizes to make your gift-giving celebrations last a little bit longer and make the memories feel that much stronger. You can search for templates online or come up with your own riddles and clues that reference your favorite holiday traditions. Modify this fun holiday game for any age group, making the clues more challenging as your kids grow up.
There are countless printable versions of holiday charades online for players both young and old to enjoy—we even found a Holiday Charades iPhone app! Here’s a quick rundown for those who haven’t played charades before: First, participants split into two teams. A member from each team draws a holiday-related concept or topic from a hat (or the app) and must act it out without speaking or miming the letters. Whichever team guesses the answer correctly gets a point. The first team to 20 points wins!
Burn off your kids’ holiday sugar highs with an energetic game of Santa Limbo! It’s played just like regular limbo, where participants bend backwards and walk under a stick that gets lower every round. But here’s the holiday twist: Participants have to wear a pillow under their shirts like a big ol’ Santa belly! Whoever can limbo the lowest without falling or hitting the pole wins.
Spoons: Candy Cane Edition
Got some candy canes and a deck of cards? It's time to play a holiday-themed version of Spoons! You need at least three players seated around a pile of candy canes. There should be one less candy cane than the number of players.
During the game, each person takes turns drawing cards from the deck. You're aiming to get four-of-a-kind: for instance, four queens or four sevens. When you have all four of the same card, grab a candy cane from the pile, but try to be stealthy about it! When the others notice, they all need to snatch a candy cane as fast as possible. The person who fails to get a candy cane is eliminated! Repeat this process until you have a winner.
Holiday Guess Who
You may have played this game before. After all, it’s a great icebreaker! In this holiday-themed edition, put names of famous seasonal characters—like The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Sugarplum Fairy, Tiny Tim, or even Buddy the Elf—in a hat. Have each participant draw one name, but don’t let them peek at it! Instead, everyone tapes the name they drew to their forehead and asks other guests questions to figure out who they are. Whoever guesses right first wins!
Snowman Building Competition (Indoors or Out)
Take your family’s wintertime fun outside with a snowman-building contest. Top prize goes to whoever can design and create the most intricate snowman. If you’ve got teens at home who need more of a challenge, have them build igloo forts instead. If you live in a warmer climate without a lot of snow, give the prize to the team or person who builds the most creative or authentic-looking snowman out of pillows and other household items.
Fact: kids are never bored if there’s a bag of marshmallows in the house. This means the holiday game possibilities are endless! While the most popular game is arguably “Fling the Marshmallows at Your Siblings”, we suggest another, slightly more civilized, activity known as Marshmallow Jenga.
Place a large plate or cutting board on your table, then ask each participant to take turns stacking marshmallows on top of each other. When someone causes the structure to collapse, they’re out! This game works best with the jumbo-size marshmallows.
Marshmallow Christmas Trees
If you’ve still got marshmallows laying around, put your family’s architectural skills to the test by engineering some edible, snow-covered Christmas trees! This game is great for teaching kids how to build three-dimensional structures, and all you need are a bunch of toothpicks and—you guessed it—marshmallows. Gumdrops and other soft, round candies can also be used to “trim” the trees.
Show your kids how to connect their candy and marshmallows with toothpicks to create the base of their tree. Then, show them how to create a second level with a few vertically placed toothpicks. The person or team with the tallest tree that doesn’t topple over at the end of the activity wins.
Pin the Nose on the Reindeer
As you probably figured out, this activity is a family holiday-themed version of the childhood birthday favorite, Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Instead of a donkey, buy or make a poster of Rudolph the Reindeer and have blindfolded participants try to pin on his bright red nose! Whoever gets the closest is your winner.
Make Your Own Snowflakes
This one’s a classic but can also be a great STEM lesson. Teach your kids about the unique and symmetrical nature of snowflakes by making your own six-pointed masterpieces! All you need to start are paper and scissors: Trim each piece of paper into a square and fold the square into a triangle. (Folding paper into a triangle first makes it easy to trim off the extra part.)Fold this triangle in half again, and then fold the new triangle into thirds so the edges sides stick up unevenly.Trim the uneven part off at an angle to create your points, then start cutting out pieces from the sides to make your snowflake design—just don’t cut the paper all the way through.When you and your child are done cutting, unfold carefully to reveal your unique snowflakes!
We hope these family holiday games brighten your season and inspire lots of laughs and fond memories—and even a little learning! Happy holidays from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America family to yours.