5 Games that Crush at Christmas Parties
“Hey Jason, we’re having a Christmas party this year. I know you’re the games guy, and you always do such a good job. Can you come up with a game for this year that will make all of us have the most incredible time while also being simple while also being different while also making sure it’s fair?”
If you are the games guy of your youth ministry or even church, odds are you hear this conversation for every single Christmas party you'll attend this season. If you aren't the games guy, or your church seems to be lacking one, you'll likely hear this same speech simply because you are the youth leader. If you feel like your Christmas party season is adding immense stress because of the games, then look no further than this list. We've put together five games that are sure to crush at all of your Christmas Parties this year.
1. White Elephants/Dirty Santa
A Christmas classic for the church gathering, but what if you tried to spice things up this year. The beauty of a white elephant/dirty Santa gift exchange is its options for customization. Perhaps you have been doing the same theme for the last several years, or maybe your group only sets a budget with no theme. One simple way to spice up your gift exchange is to add a new theme or new set of rules.
Some of our favorite themes include:
- Has to be from your House
- As Seen on TV
- The Color Yellow
- Throwback Edition
- Starts with the Letter Z
Any of these themes will work, and if you're looking for even more inspiration, a quick google search will offer you tons of options. There is one rule, though, I believe should be clarified before every white elephant, or else you'll have some grumpy participants. If you are doing a gag gift exchange, make it known. If you are doing a nice gift exchange, make that known. If you don't clarify, the person who brought the great gift will inevitably end up with someone's throw away gift, and the Christmas spirit will die just a little more every time it happens. *This may or may not be from personal experience…*
2. Gift Wrapping Competitions
Let's take a minute to be honest with one another. There are some people in the world who are naturally better at wrapping presents. No matter how much someone tries, they will still fall short of those natural wrappers, and that is okay! Why not make a game out of this and see who can wrap presents the best?
If you want to spice things up, even more, hand them some odd objects to wrap like an egg or a single Hershey kiss? Some simple ways to spice up a gift wrapping competition are to add a time limit, change the number of supplies available, or even give them EXTREMELY large objects to wrap while also adding the other stipulations. As adults or even students in the room, everyone will have wrapped a present before, so this is a universally known experience. If not, why not experience the joy of torn paper right here?
3. Human Christmas Trees
I’m a 6’3 guy, and let me tell you, this competition was both my favorite and least favorite activity every year. As the often tallest guy in the room, it was almost a guarantee I would be selected to be the human tree every year. The pro: lot’s of canvas to work with. The con: too much canvas to work with. My "tree decorators" would inevitably run out of material halfway up or down the tree, and we'd have to improvise for the latter half.
These are some amazing memories, though, and it creates some fantastic pictures to decorate with throughout the year. This is a simple activity to get lots of people involved while also allowing your more creative and artistic folks to shine in a way like they haven't before. Trying to create a human Christmas tree is no small task, and it takes a team to do this. You can even use some of your more uninvolved students to act as secret judges (this is important to make sure no one feels embarrassed).
The odds are that no student or leader showed up ready to be turned into a pinnacle decorative staple of the Christmas season, but I can promise you they will have tons of laughs and jokes to celebrate with afterward. The one warning to give here: AVOID. THE. TINSEL. It gets everywhere, and if you'll likely spend the next 365 days vacuuming it out of your carpet. Stick to the classics like paper and lights, and you're in for a holly jolly time!
4. Christmas Cookie Competitions
Food is a vital ingredient to the success of any event. If you aren't offering food at your event, then this competition can serve as the dessert to your evening. If you are offering food, well, this can still serve as the dessert of the event. Competition, Food, and Fun are three powerful things to helping a Christmas party head to the next level.
You can do a Christmas cookie competition in a variety of ways. The first option is to do simple circle cookies that people can decorate. However, they choose. This is always a good idea, and I believe it will help bring a new flavor to your event, seeing how your party attendees get creative. The second option is to get specifically shaped cookies like gingerbread figures or Santa heads. This is always interesting because you’re still challenging creativity while also ensuring people can stick to the classics if needed.
The best part about cookie decorating contests is the lack of need for judges. Once everyone is done creating, you have options for voting as well. The whole party can vote on who they think has the best looking cookies, or you can even turn to the internet and social media! The possibilities are almost as endless as the amazing calories your party will consume in this smashing success of a game!
5. Complete the Carol
“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree.." What lyric comes next? "All I want for Christmas is?" Some of you might say you and others will go with my two front teeth. Different generations think of different songs, and this is one of the reasons a complete carol or Christmas song competition will crush at your next Christmas party.
There are few things as wonderful as watching the overzealous competitor realize they don’t actually know as many lyrics as they thought and then floundering to answer. It’s also an equally amazing moment for the shy participant in the group to know the answer, bring it forward, and watch as their answer propels their team to victory and success!
Music is a universal language, and the Complete the Carol competition will allow you to engage with all types of Christmas music as you host your next Christmas party. You can change the name away from Carol, but as a Southern Baptist boy, I always appreciate alliterations. You just won't catch me dancing to those tunes…not in public anyway…
I hope these five games help you look like a hero at your next Christmas gathering or party. The holidays are meant to remember and celebrate. It's a beautiful time to reflect on the true reason for the season, and that is the coming of Christ. We understand that the youth leader wears many hats, and in this season, the game master might be one of them. If there is ever anything we can do to help, please feel free to reach out!! Thank you for what you do every day; youth ministry is as important today as it's ever been!