Christmas games are an essential tradition of the festive season, but let’s be honest, after that third helping of roast potatoes and stuffing, the prospect of movement and acting excited is a bit of a tall order. Still, you don’t want to miss out on the usual cringey diversions, so we’ve scratched out egg-noggins and put together a few game ideas that require an absolute minimal amount of energy. Needless to say, charades are out of the question.
Now, in order to embrace the laze on the actual day, some of these games will require a bit of prep, but it’ll be worth it for the chance to unbutton those jeans, loosen those belts and have a bit of fun through a carby and mulled wine fog. You might need a printer to give all the participants handouts, but since most people will have a digital divide of some sort, you can just share the files with all your players.
- Secret Santa with a 20-question twist
One person, maybe the host, or whoever is feeling most generous, will need to supply a mystery gift. It’s a good idea to go for something gender neutral and universally applicable so that anyone can enjoy it. Bottle of bubbly? Fancy chocolates? A voucher for an experience or online shopping? Tea or coffee? Go nuts. Anyhoo, the group as a whole gets 20 questions to figure out what the gift is. Standard rules apply, just yes/no questions. Guessing the gift is not advised at this point – if a contestant decides to make a guess, and they’re wrong – they forfeit their place and can no longer compete. After the first 10 questions have been asked, pass around the mystery gift so everyone gets the chance to see how much it weighs, maybe give it a gentle shake. To make things fair, everyone should be allowed to ask the same amount of questions, so after the 20 have been used up, round up to the nearest number of questions so everyone has asked the same amount.
After all the questions have been asked, everyone offers their first guess – but secretly. (Eh, see! With the secret Santa? Anyway..) They write down their names and guess on a piece of paper and submit to Santa – without revealing their guesses, Santa will decide whose guesses are the most accurate and cut down the number of contestants by half – if you have an odd number of guests, make a judgement call based on the quality of guesses. Obviously, if someone got it right the first time, then wahey – we have a winner! Otherwise, we’re onto the second round of guesses. For this stage, Secret Santa will provide 3 clues as to what the gift might be.
Then the remaining contestants draw straws or do rock paper scissors – whatever won’t make you throw up – to decide the order in which they guess next. Because their final guesses will be voiced out loud: going last means more options will be eliminated, but someone might guess before your turn! Even if your guess was the same, whoever gets it right first, wins! If there are still no correct guesses, we enter the final stage. Once again, Santa will name the contestants whose answers are closest. Those remaining contestants will pull the title of a famous Christmas song out of a hat and try to write down all of its lyrics! The one with the closest entry to the actual song will win the prize. The eliminated contestants are allowed to help – just no smartphones!
- Word Games & Trivia
Thinking yes, but moving, certainly not! Fun wordy type games can be: Guess the next line for a selection of Christmas movies. Guess the book quotation – pick anything Christmas related or from a Christmas book for this – A Christmas Carol, Harry Potter, Hogfather, Bridget Jones, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, Fairytales… heck, the Bible?
Emoji-based guessing games are also great fun. Use emojis to either depict movie titles or famous songs. Again, printout or digital file is fine and people can play individually or in teams.
You can combine these ideas together and create your own at-home Pub quiz. Just make sure all the questions are Christmas or New Year related.
This additional round might be a little trickier to prep for, but so much fun, with the added nostalgia factor. Play clips of all-time Christmas adverts – just make sure to stop them before the critical moment – your guests are to guess what brand the ad is for. Sainsbury’s, M&S? If anyone doesn’t get the Coca-Cola one, are they even alive?!
- Movie Drinking Games
These games are not for the faint of heart, especially if you’re stuffed – but at least your stomach is well lined! First, select a movie – hopefully, by this point, everyone will be too full and tired to squabble over the movie choice – but if you have lots of guests, the best options are ensemble films: Lord of the Rings, Love Actually, Ocean’s 11, Knives Out, Any Avengers Movies, X-Men etc. Put the character names in a hat and have everyone draw their character. For every character, assign a particular action. Examples: whenever Sam says Mr Frodo, every time Hawkeye shoots an arrow, every time Rusty (Ocean’s 11) eats something etc. You’ll also need to assign a universal action – eg every time a spell is cast in Harry Potter or a dinosaur eats someone in Jurassic Park. Lastly, get a token – it can be anything, a keyring, a bauble, doesn’t matter. Everyone can pour themselves their drink of choice, but in the centre – prep some shots.
Now for the rules: turn on the film and every time a character does their action, their assigned person has to drink a finger of their drink, then passes the token to whoever is the next person that has to drink. Keep passing the token around as you take turns. Whenever the universal action comes on screen, whoever was the last person to hold the token has to take a shot. This game can get pretty hilarious, and pretty messy, pretty fast – with the added bonus that some character and action combinations can be lethal. What if you pull Captain America, every time he punches someone out of the hat? Or every time Hugh Grant is an insufferable whiner?! Officially there is no winner, just respect to whoever makes it to the end credits. Perhaps the last man standing can be given the prize of Alka Seltzer and Gaviscon – which they’ll certainly need in the morning!
- Guess the resolutions!
This is sweet, simple and has the potential to be hilarious. Everybody writes down their New Year resolutions, without signing their name, each resolution on a different bit of paper. Pop them all into a hat and draw them at random. Everybody has to guess who they think came up with the resolution – and queue the compulsory mockery at their ridiculousness or likelihood – maybe even place wagers on how long before the resolutions are broken!