Easy ideas to get your guests involved

Planning games and activities for a Christmas party can be a challenging task.  Food and drinks are easy.  Decorations are usually already done.  But, finding games and group activities can be a chore for the average party planner.  Once the guest list, location and menu have been chosen, attention can be directed to preparing games for entertainment.  Awarding a prize is not necessary but may get more of your guests involved.  It can be something as nominal as a $5 gift card to a coffee shop or a simple non-gendered gift.

Playing games encourages your guests to move around, mingle, laugh and enjoy themselves. Many of these activities can be done with food or drink in hand also.  Here are some game ideas that will make your party a hit.

• Ornament Scavenger Hunt - before guests arrive, strategically place 10 -12 similar ornaments around the gathering or party area.  Try to select an ornament that blends well and doesn’t catch the eye quickly.  Choosing the same style/shape in gold, silver, wooden or clear ornaments allows them to be hidden “in plain sight”.  Keep a detailed list of where each ornament is hidden.  When guests arrive, hand them each a numbered slip of paper with a line for “found” location and a pencil.  Give them simple instructions.  It is helpful to either point out the first ornament or save one from you collection to show the guests what they are looking for.  Putting a time limit of 10-15 minutes on this game helps to keep it slightly competitive but not impossible.  After time is up, have guests mark correct answers as you go through the area and point out each location.  Award a prize for most ornaments found.

• Gingerbread Man - This game is best for couples, but as long as there is an even number of people it will work.  Prepare game by printing off, decorating and cutting out several gingerbread men.  Use brown cardstock and adhere decorations.  Once completed, creatively cut with scissors or rip “cookie” in half.  Put the upper half in one small mixing bowl and the lower half in another.  Mix well with a wooden spoon and leave it resting in the bowl for a cute touch.  If you want to take this game up a notch, play the part and wear a Christmas apron dusted with flour at the door. When guests arrive, ask them to “catch the Gingerbread man” by having each person select one part out of either bowl.  Make sure the pieces go out evenly.  Now instruct your guests to match up their gingerbread man with another guest’s piece.  The winning match receives a prize.

• What’s in Santa’s Bag - prepare game by finding a Santa’s bag or sewing a simple one. Next, collect roughly 12 to 15 items that a person might find related to Christmas or the holidays.  Examples might include:  cookie cutters, candy canes, tape, jingle bells, ornaments, film, batteries, and wrapping paper.  Place all items in the bag and then tie it up tight so there is no opportunity to peek.  Guests can play individually or as a team.  Give them a numbered sheet of paper, hand over the Santa bag and start the timer with a limit of  5 to 10 minutes.  Players must feel and/or shake the bag to decide which items are in it.  The guest or team with the most correct answers receive a prize.

• Upside down Santa (or Snowman) -  prepare Christmas game by purchasing white paper plates that have a large bottom and are on the firmer side (flimsy plates will not work unless you really double them up).  Each guest will also need a pen, crayon or marker.  There is an option to have a few different colors to increase the difficulty level.  Have guests hold paper plate upside down on head so they will be drawing on the bottom. Next, recite descriptive scene that includes your Santa or Snowman.  An example starts:  In the living room, a large fireplace stood against the wall with a roaring fire.  Four Christmas stockings hung on the mantel. A beautiful, tall green Christmas tree stood majestically in the corner.  It had a red ruffled tree skirt and blue Christmas lights.  There was a sparkling silver star positioned right at the top.  Santa stood beside the tree placing a large yellow box beneath the tree.  Continue on with the rest of the story, giving as many details as you choose.  The premise behind this game is for the guests to draw this “scene” the best they can without taking the plate off of their head.  Have guests remove plate and score points for how well the scene was drawn.  Example:  One point for having a fire in the fireplace, one point for every stocking that touches the mantel, one point if the star is on the top of the tree, etc. The guest with the most points wins.

Left right Left Christmas party game

• The Passing Game (also known as left or right) -  prepare Christmas game by purchasing several sturdy, inexpensive gender neutral gift items and wrapping them well with Christmas themed paper. Search and print a “Left/Right” Christmas story.  Guests will sit in a circle and start with one wrapped item in their hands as you recite the story.  When the word left or right is heard, guests will pass their gift to the neighboring person in that direction.  Be careful not to recite the story too fast.  Reading slowly and taking pauses will allow your guests to catch up with the passing.  At the end of the story, guests get to open the gift that they end up with. 

• Name that Christmas Carol -   prepare game by selecting 20-24 Christmas carols. To raise the difficulty level, choose a line of the song that is not part of the chorus.  Give each guest a sheet of paper with the lines and a pencil to write their answers.  When finished, guests can score all the correct answers as you either read them aloud or play the real music.  The guest with the most correct answers wins.

This year, try including your Christmas party guests in games and activities at your get together. It is a wonderful way to make sure everyone has a great time!