Being a teenager means living in a strange middle ground between childhood and adulthood. That manifests in a lot of ways, but it’s especially acute around Christmas. You’re a little too old for the childhood magic to swirl into your mind but don’t quite have the sweet nostalgia that makes the season so achingly beautiful for adults.
This isn’t to stereotype teens as too cool for school, or thinking something is “lame,” or whatever people my age like to say about kids. It’s more that during Christmas, teens are trying to find meaning, attempting to understand how their new ideas about themselves fit in.
Christmas party games for high school students have to recognize this. They need to be fun, yes. But there should also be some kind of meaning, a purpose, and a way to think about themselves. These games celebrate the best parts of Christmas and some of the best parts of being a teenager, pairing old traditions with new technology.
The Best Christmas Party Games for High School Students
Christmas parties are often a mixed affair of adults and kids, with teenagers somewhere in the middle. They want to get involved but might not always feel able to. We hope these games help them get into the spirit of things.
Christmas Carol Charades
This is a good Christmas party game for people of all ages. There are thousands of Christmas carols, some really popular, some more obscure. Teams get together to act out the titles of songs, which is trickier and goofier than you think. One year, my teenage nephew mimicked weighing himself on a scale for “Away in a Manger.”
This game is fun for teens because it engages their mind, triggers their memory for songs they heard growing up, and lets them be silly.
Random Holiday Biography
Part of being in high school is thinking about the person you are and the person you want to be. That’s why games that encourage high schoolers to think about their identity are great options.
I’m a big fan of icebreaker games, where you get a prompt and have to speak about it for 30 seconds or a minute. It makes you really consider things and explore your own thoughts. Holiday prompts could include:
- What was your favorite gift ever?
- What was your least favorite gift?
- What is your favorite kind of decoration?
- Do you have a favorite ornament?
- Who in history would you most like to share the holiday with?
- When did you learn the truth about Santa Claus, and what was that like? (don’t do this if there are little kids around!)
- What are your thoughts on how Christmas is portrayed?
- What does the holiday mean to you?
Some of these can be silly, but they’re also meant to encourage thoughts on memory, nostalgia, and meaning.
Gifts for Charity
This one takes a little planning, but it’s really meaningful. Around this time, it becomes clear that some people can’t celebrate Christmas the way they’d like. Families who are struggling, who might be homeless, and for whom buying food is the utmost concern.
We do an “adopt a family” program through my mom’s church, and a lot of other organizations do this, too. You can have a party where everyone wraps pre-bought gifts, assembles gift bags, writes cards, and more.
This isn’t really a game, but it can act as one. You can divide into teams and see who can assemble the most gift bags or who can wrap the fastest. But the main point is that teenagers will have a chance to do something bigger than themselves. This generation is filled with people who are thinking beyond themselves, and this is a way to channel that energy.
Most high-schoolers have played some version of Secret Santa, but they might not know how much it has advanced. You can now play Secret Santa with a techy twist to engage the youngest generation.
A Secret Santa generator with a mobile application is a perfect game for high school students. Here are a few reasons why.
- It’s easily accessible on either an iPhone app or an Android app.
- You can add to your list whenever you think of something.
- You can snap a picture of an item you want and upload it.
- The anonymous nature lets people ask follow-up questions right from the app, so teens don’t even have to get off their phones.
- You can try to fool your giftee into guessing someone else and be goofy in a removed way, easing up self-consciousness.
And when the gifts are exchanged in the physical world and you’re looking at someone face-to-face and laughing as they guess? That’s the perfect blend of technology and real human authenticity. It shows how technology can facilitate togetherness. We think that’s an amazing lesson and a great experience for any high-schooler.
It’s been a long time since I was a teenager. But I still remember trying to make sense of things. I still remember that strange exhilaration and terror about how fast time was moving and how quickly things were changing. And I remember how that felt during the slow season of Christmas, when it seemed like time stood still and we were all nestled safely in the past.
Being a high-schooler is confusing. You want to charge ahead but are still sometimes frightened by it all. These Christmas games for high school students can be the perfect way to embrace the future while snuggling deeply in the past.
Want a great Christmas game for your high-schooler? The Elfster generator makes it easy for teenagers to enjoy Secret Santa. Teens love the convenience of our Secret Santa generator and the ability to start a Wish List on-the-go. And it’s all accessible from an iPhone app or Android app.