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10 Holiday Games That Your Family Will Actually Want To Play

Having fun as a family is the best part of the holidays. But getting everyone involved can be a challenge - and that's what these games are for. Young, old, or teenaged, these games will have the whole family smiling.

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1. Who Am I?


What: An identity game.

Directions: Each player gets a sticky note and a pen, and writes an identity on the note (ex: Santa after a long day). Each player then sticks their note on the forehead of a nearby person, with the identity showing. One by one, everyone takes turns asking the group yes or no questions in order to guess the identity written on their forehead.

Make it your own: Get creative with your identities! How about “Mrs. Claus in June” or “An Angel”?

2. Six-Word Story

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What: A fun way to tell a story together.

Directions: One person begins the story by saying “Once upon a time there was…” and completing the sentence. Go around the circle and have each person contribute to the story. The catch: Each contribution is limited to six words. The story should travel around the circle twice.

Make it your own: Make the stories holiday themed by contributing ideas about Santa, elves, or reindeer!

3. The Wind Blows / Via

What: A holiday twist on musical chairs!

Directions: Set chairs in a circle — one fewer than the number of players. Designate someone to be "It." "It" stands in the middle and says "The wind blows for everyone who has finished their Christmas shopping!" All who fit that statement must leave their seat and find a new one, while "It" also scrambles for a chair. The person left in the middle is now "It."

Make it your own: This can take any holiday theme. "The wind blows for everyone who loves fruit cake," "for everyone whose favorite pie is apple," etc.

4. Three-Chair Improv

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What: A chance to create magical scenarios.

Directions: Set up three chairs and label each with a sheet of paper taped to the back of the chair that tells the person sitting in the chair what their role is. For example: Santa Claus, a kid on Christmas morning, an elf, etc. Two people sit next to each other and begin to act in their roles. After about 30 seconds, a third person joins and takes on that chair’s role. Every 30 seconds or so, someone from the group takes the third chair, and the other players shift over one place.

Make it your own: Continue for as long as you want. See where the scene goes!

5. Holiday Treasure Hunt / Via

What: A chance to make presents even more fun.

Directions: Each person wraps a gift for each member of the family and hides it somewhere around the house. Then everyone disperses to try to find their gifts!

Make it your own: Do this on Christmas Eve, or on Christmas morning before the rest of the gift giving, or even the day after Christmas if you want to extend the holiday!

6. Group Spell

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What: A fun and challenging chance to work together.

Directions: The object is to have to spell a word, as a group, by means of random individuals saying each letter out loud. For example, for the word "CHRISTMAS," one person says "C" another says "H," and so on. If two people speak at once, the group goes back to the first letter. The group is not allowed to use body language (i.e., pointing).

Make it your own: You can spell any word you want, from the name of your pet to the name of your favorite Christmas carol.

7. Celebrity


What: A great way to get everyone laughing.

Directions: Before starting, each player writes the name of a different celebrity on a number of slips of paper. All of the slips are placed in a bowl. Players are then split into two teams, and the first team selects a player to be the clue giver. That player picks a name out of the bowl, and then has one minute to get his or her team to guess the right celebrity.

Make it your own: For a holiday twist, only pick celebrities that have starred in classic Christmas movies.

8. Spoons

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What: A fast-paced and funny card game.

Directions: Start with everyone in a circle, with five cards dealt to each player. In the center of the circle there are a number of spoons — one fewer than the number of players. The goal is to get four of a kind and also to pay close attention to what everyone else is doing. You can find full directions here.

Make it your own: If spoons are scarce, you can also play by putting a tongue out, or placing a finger to your nose.

9. Telephone Pictionary


What: A hilarious combination of two classics.

Directions: Start with phrases that each player makes up, and the next player must try to illustrate the phrase. This continues until the original phrase becomes a drawing of something that's usually completely unrelated. You can get step-by-step directions here.

Make it your own: Start with little Christmas stories! Example: "Santa admonishing a reindeer."

10. The Grateful Game

Paul Biris / Flickr RF / Getty Images

What: An awesome twist on an old idea.

Directions: Each player writes down five things that he or she is grateful for, and they're all placed in a hat. One by one, players draw items from the hat and read them aloud. Everyone guesses who wrote each item.

Make it your own: For a group who knows each other well, it's fun to try to trick one another. For example, if Mom loves her new slow cooker, Dad might write "my new slow cooker."

Items 2, 3, 4, & 6 inspired by Moving Beyond Icebreakers.

Kick up your curly-toed shoes, and put a little peppermint in your step with Dance Like an Elf! Direct from Northpole and specially delivered by Hallmark.

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