Normally, we throw a big Christmas party every year. But the holidays can be hectic, and sometimes we just want something a little more intimate. So last year, we decided to just have a handful of close friends over. And guess what? It was every bit as fun as our big party.
A small Christmas party can be a joyful occasion, a chance to sit and talk to people while sipping from your mugs. It’s a chance to catch up on each other’s lives in a more intimate setting. It’s a way to really connect.
And don’t think for one second that playing games is no longer on the table with a smaller group. These festive Christmas party games for small groups make a huge impact. Whether you’re with family, friends, coworkers, or anyone else, games generate happiness to fill whatever space you’re in.
5 Festive Christmas Party Games for Small Groups
Obviously, all groups vary. A group of close friends might love playing a game coworkers might not feel comfortable with. So, when choosing a game, pick one that will appeal to everyone, such as:
This game is fun for all ages and can lead you down some seriously silly paths. Someone starts a story with a sentence or two, then the next person adds to it. A few rules to make this a little more holiday-related:
- No starting with, “It was a dark and stormy night.” At the very least, it was snowy, right?
- Pick a theme or title for the story. For example, “When Santa Got Lost,” “Trapped in the Mall on Christmas Eve” or “Account Payable vs. the Lost Yetis of the North Pole” (you know, for an office party).
- No judging! Let people be imaginative. The point isn’t to write the Great American Novel; it’s to have fun and work together.
Some people choose an endpoint to work toward, but I prefer going around the room a few times, depending on size, and just seeing what happens. It’s entirely up to you how you want to end it.
End of the Year “Guess Who”
At the end of every year—and certainly at the end of every decade—people like to do a “best of” list. Doing this at your party is a fun way to see how much you know about everyone.
Have people write down their favorite movie, song, and TV show of the year (or some variation, depending on the group). Put the lists in a hat, shuffle them up, and lay them out on a table.
Everyone will also have a piece of paper where they can write down whose list they think is whose, corresponding to the order they’re laid out in. At the end, everyone reveals who they are. This is fun because you learn more about the people around you, and you also see who has been paying the most attention. To me, this is a particularly fun game to play at a work party.
(Note: you can also send out the questions in advance so people can think them over.)
The Human Christmas Tree
This is just goofy fun and a perfect game for the entire family. Split into “teams.” Designate one person as the “tree.” Decorate the Christmas out of them.
You know, tassels, ornaments, lights, angels, candy canes, balloons—the works. This isn’t a game that’s judged, except maybe by people on Instagram. In this game, everyone’s a winner.
Christmas Movie Charade
We’ve all seen a million Christmas movies, from It’s a Wonderful Life to Love, Actually to Die Hard. But can you act them out? This variant on charades has a few different ways you can play.
- Title charades. Just act out the title from a movie. Easy for Die Hard, harder for, say, Santa Claus vs. The Martians.
- Character lines. You get a line from a movie. Now you have to say it while doing your best impression of the movie character, and people have to guess the film. You also could act it out, like in normal charades.
- Character names. You get a list of characters from a movie and read them out and see if your team can guess the movie. We all might know that George Bailey was the name of the Jimmy Stewart character, but do you know Bing Crosby’s name in White Christmas?
The best part of this game is that people can talk about what the movies meant to them, their opinions on them, or anything else that springs to mind. There might be a clock during play, but between rounds, you can take your time and just chat.
Who said you need a big crew for Secret Santa? A small gathering works just as well. It’s the normal Secret Santa rules: everyone gets randomly paired up, people select gifts for each other, then you exchange presents on the day of the event. And let the guessing begin! To make the most of your Secret Santa, everyone can make a wish list ahead of time using an online shopping list generator from which you can buy directly.
A smaller party might make it easier to guess, but that’s okay. It’s more intimate. You can think carefully about who’s there, instead of just waving a finger around and guessing wildly. It might be more thoughtful.
Getting Intimate for the Holidays
Even though we’re in the middle of planning our big Christmas bash, I’m still wistful for that small party. There was something so nice about gathering with just a few people and sharing in their light. It had a warmth with which the heat of a crowded party couldn’t compare.
Don’t get me wrong; I love large Christmas parties, too. And I like games with any number of people. But these festive Christmas games for small groups are something special. The playing is really great. But it’s what you learn about each other, as you laugh and shout and think about your group, that makes everyone a real winner.
No matter the size of your party, you want an easy way to run a great Secret Santa. Enter Elfster! Our online Secret Santa generator makes it easy to draw names, start a Wish List, and buy presents online. Don’t forget that you can also play on an iPhone app or Android app.