When we throw parties, I want to make sure that everyone is having a good time at all times. So, I rotate between rooms and ping back-and-forth between groups. It’s pretty hard to keep up (“Were you guys just talking about Stranger Things? Oh, right, tax policy.”) and even harder to enjoy myself.
That’s why we now make sure there are games at the party, especially around the holidays, when parties get larger and more frequent. Games are really helpful when you have groups of people who don’t always know each other too well, like at work or with neighbors.
If you’re having a party, you want people to have a good time. And frankly, you don’t want to be running around like me. So, plan your party around these Christmas games for large groups and let the joy of life be the true life of the party.
The Best Christmas Games to Play with Large Groups
The great thing about having a large group is that there are a lot of people. But also, there are a lot of people. That means a lot of different ideas on what’s enjoyable. So, your games need to be:
- Simple to understand so you aren’t spending time going over the rules again and again (and again).
- Easy to play so people don’t get frustrated.
- Not too competitive so that no one gets too aggro.
- Inoffensive (though what is offensive might depend on how close you are).
- Good for helping people get to know each other without adding a lot of pressure.
You may have noticed the last one is the same as the one before it, and come to think of it, they’re both the same as the first one. That probably means they’re important.
The number one goal should be ensuring everyone has a good time. So, here are our best ideas for crowd-pleasing Christmas games to play with large groups.
If your group consists of people who don’t know each other too well, it might be helpful to break out some classic or updated icebreaker games. This is especially great for work parties, but even friends and family could learn something new. These are fun ways to get people loose and ready to roll through the rest of the party.
Christmas Carol Charades
Want to see your boss trying to act out “All I Want For Christmas Is You?” Of course you do. The great thing about Christmas Carol charades is that there’s a huge range of songs to pick from, from pop hits to crooning classics to soulful spirituals to weird novelties (like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”). A fun twist to this game is that the team gets extra points if they can sing a verse with no rehearsal.
“Company” here can mean the company at your party or an actual office. This is one of our favorite holiday party games for work and can be easily transferred to any Christmas gathering. Have guests write down their favorite Christmas present ever on a card. When everyone is gathered, read the card and have people try to guess who wrote it. You can have little trinkets for the right guess (and for the person in question if no one guesses). It’s both a way to see how well we know each other and to find out more.
Mini Marshmallow Toss
Marshmallows don’t just belong in your cocoa. This game combines the raw strength and athleticism it takes to toss a mini marshmallow with the courage it takes to eat them. Break into pairs of two. Each person gets 5 minis to toss into their partner’s mouth from, say, 10 feet away. The team that gets the most in the mouth wins. And if there’s a tie? Well, you better believe that means more marshmallows!
The Christmas Movie Quote Game
This one takes some planning. Print out cards with famous lines from Christmas movies, along with the very next line. One member of a team reads the line, and the team gets points for guessing the movie and saying the next line (if you want to add more drama, give them points for actors, directors, etc). If you’re at my house, if the line is, “Why is the carpet wet, Todd,” everyone will respond, “I don’t know, Margo.” It’s a hoot.
The Christmas Story: 1 Minute Tales
Everyone has a story to tell. Write down holiday-themed cues and put them in a hat. Anyone who wants to play pulls out a cue (Think, “My biggest Christmas surprise,” “Worst present ever,” or “How I found out Santa wasn’t real”) and tell a 1-minute improvised story. These might be sad, sweet, funny, or just plain true. The point isn’t to see who can tell the best story. It’s to share in the memories that surround the holidays.
Name that Tune: Christmas Edition
Break into teams. Get some tunes cued up in your Spotify. Set it to shuffle. Whichever team shouts out the tune first wins. If you find some truly eclectic lists, you’ll have a mix of the obvious (listen to 40 people shriek “Jingle Bell Rock!” in unison, like some demented Total Request Live) and the not-so-obvious (watch everyone struggle as Wesley Willis’ “Merry Christmas” weirds its way through the room). A wild guessing game often transforms into a ragged and sweet singalong.
The king of crowd-pleasing games, a Secret Santa gift exchange combines mystery, laughter, suspense, and, of course, giving and receiving gifts. It’s perfect for groups because everyone is trying to guess. It’s impossible not to be invested, if only because it tests your detective skills. “Let’s see,” you’ll think. “There’s no way that’s from Mary because she wouldn’t know that John doesn’t own Die Hard… or does she?”
That said, this game can take a lot of planning. That’s why it helps to use a Secret Santa generator that makes it easy for all your guests (and the organizer!). The right generator assigns names randomly and contacts the players who have signed up. You can create easily shareable wish lists online and buy directly from the site.
As long as everyone knows how to play Secret Santa, this game is as easy as it is fun. It involves the whole group, it generates big laughs, and everyone walks away with a gift.
To us, that’s the perfect game for the perfect party. All you need is a group of people ready to have fun and a great Secret Santa platform. With that, you have a night people will remember.
The Elfster wish list generator might be the best game-playing platform of them all. Our online Secret Santa generator makes it easy to kick off the fun and start a Wish List. Don’t forget that you can now play your reindeer games on an iPhone app or Android app.