After opening presents and stuffing ourselves at dinner, many of us simply slump in front of the TV for the rest of Christmas Day.
But that’s a missed opportunity for some great family fun – after all, getting everyone under the one roof at the same time can be a rare occurrence. So, why not take the opportunity to play some festive games together?
“Christmas is that rare time when you get everyone together, which can, of course, come with its own challenges,” says games enthusiast Josie Curran, author of Organised Fun.
“Our family manage by having a few bonding games and activities that can be used to keep the kids and grown-ups entertained while lunch or dinner is being cooked – and they’re also ideal to prevent us slipping into an early food coma after the feasting is done. It’s far more memorable than all collapsing in a heap in front of the television!”
In a bid to entice the nation’s families away from the telly, Ms Curran has suggested a few games to get all ages enjoying a spot of festive tomfoolery.
1. Christmas Carol Relay
What’s the game? You’ll need to be well versed in Christmas carols for this one.
What do we need? Your best carol singing voices and a pen and paper to keep scores.
How many people? Ideal for two to four adults and kids. The children need to be old enough to know the words to a good few Christmas carols.
How do we play? Decide who’s going first and get that person to sing a line from a popular Christmas carol. The rest of the group must then think of another song that features any of the words that have just been sung. For example, if I were to sing, ‘Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright’, the next player might sing, ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night all seated on the ground, the angel of the lord came down’, perhaps followed by, ‘The Angel Gabriel from heaven came’, etc.
Players score a point each time they correctly sing the connecting line. I’d suggest having a nominated person to keep a track of scores, as it’s impossible to do when you’re fishing Christmas carol lines from the back of your mind.
2. Human Christmas Tree
What’s the game? This puts the piles of discarded Christmas wrapping to good use, and adds fun to clearing up after presents have been opened.
What do we need? A pile of present-opening debris.
How many people? As many as are sat around your tree.
How do we play? Split into teams of three to four people, and divide all the leftover wrapping paper, ribbons, etc into equal piles for each team, and perhaps top these up with extra Christmas decorations. Decide who’s going to be the Christmas tree in each team. Teams then have five minutes to turn their elected player into the best Christmas tree, using the leftover debris. Prizes awarded for creative use of materials as well as closeness to the real Christmas tree form.
3. Race On Your Face
What’s the game? A great way to keep the family entertained between dinner courses – but not ideal for teaching children table manners!
What do I need to play it? Something small, edible and fairly flat such as a cheese biscuit or an after-dinner mint.
How many people? Everyone around the dinner table.
How do we play? Players lean their heads back and each place the appointed item in the centre of their forehead. You might want an umpire to make sure all items are positioned in the same place. On the word go, players race to get the item into their mouths by wrinkling and moving their face and not using their hands. If it falls off, the player has to place it back in the middle of their forehead and start again. First to get the item in their mouth wins. There’s a method to making it work, but if I tell you it’ll ruin the fun!
4. Dough You Know What It Is?
What’s the game? If you’re bored with charades and fancy something a little different, this one’s a great alternative.
What do we need? Ideally, you need a different colour Play Doh for each team. If you’re struggling to get any, you can make some salt dough by mixing three cups of flour, one cup of salt, four cups of water and one tablespoon of glycerine. You can add food colouring so each team has a different colour. Alternatively, use a lot of Blu Tac. You’ll also need pens and paper and a bowl to put the slips of paper into.
How many people? Works for small to medium-sized groups of between four and 12. Kids really need to be seven and over to properly grasp how to play.
How do we play? The object of the game is to be the first team to communicate a word through sculpting it out of dough for their teammates to guess. Get one person to write out 10 things for each of the players in the game. Make sure all suggestions are feasible to sculpt out of dough. Put these in a bowl on the table. Then get into teams of at least two people and take it in turns to be the dough sculptor for the team.
The first person pulls a slip of paper out of the bowl, looks at it and then passes it on to the other sculptor in each team. On the word, ‘Go!’ the sculptors in each team simultaneously start moulding their dough to communicate what the word is. It’s up to you whether you allow animation of the dough – animating the bird so it flies through the sky by waving it around in the air, for example.
The very clear rule is that communication must be through the dough model and any other sort of body action is not allowed. The first team to guess correctly wins a point. The first team to 10 points wins.
5. Look Of The Festive Season
What’s the game? This one’s great for aspiring fashion designers or anyone with a bit of creative flair.
What do we need? Whatever you can lay your hands on – bin bags, kitchen roll, curtains, sheets, feather duster – you get the idea.
How many people? As many teams as you like. Would suggest no more than four players in each team.
How do we play? Players get into teams and are given time to design their outfit from whatever they can lay their hands on – and the more festive, the better.
The only rule is that actual clothing is banned. Outfits need to be customised from whatever can be found around the house – bin bags, kitchen roll, kitchen utensils, bathmats, etc. You can choose to have one model, with the rest of the group creating, or have the full team wearing a series of the designed clothes. Points are awarded for creativity and inspired accessorising. Best outfit wins!
Do you play games on Christmas? What’s your favourite family game to play? Do you have any board games? Is charades a favourite?
– With PA
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