The holiday season is the most party-filled time of the year. From Halloween to Epiphany it seems like there’s a new event to be celebrated every other week. It’s when people gather to drink warm drinks, build fires, sing songs and tell stories to expunge the cold of winter. Holiday games are an indispensable part of that tradition.
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Blind Christmas Trees
Players in this game use colorful markers, sheets of paper and a hard book. At the command of a chosen leader, participants place their paper and book atop their foreheads. Guided by the leader's description, they attempt to draw a picture of a room in a house that has been decorated for the holidays. For example, she might say, “Draw a Christmas tree. Now add ornaments. Now a fireplace.” Once the round is finished, points are awarded for elements drawn successfully, such as ornaments that wind up on the tree instead of in the fireplace. Half the fun of the game is seeing how well (or how poorly) the players draw when they can't see what they’re doing.
Participants in this game divide into two teams that square off with each player facing a member of the opposing team. One person, chosen to begin, asks the player he faces a question related to any topic. The other player must always answer with the words, “holiday sausage.” The team of the responding player is awarded a point if he is able to answer without smiling or laughing. If he fails, his team must ask the questions. If anyone objects to the phrase “holiday sausage,” a different phrase can be substituted.
Holiday Memory Games
Place various holiday-related items on a tray or table and allow players up to a minute to memorize every item present. Remove the items and see who can recall and name them all. The player who remembers the most items wins. Another memory game, “Packing Santa’s Bag,” is played in a circle. Each player says, “I packed Santa’s bag, and in it I put…” The first player lists one item. The second player lists one item in addition to the item listed by the previous person. Each successive player must name his own item and recite all previously stated items. Any player who forgets an item, or who fails to come up with an item of his own, is considered “out.” The game continues until only one person is left.
The Minister's Cat
This Victorian-era holiday parlor game was featured in a musical film adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” and in a Christmas episode of the sitcom “Frasier.” Players form a circle. The first player begins clapping his hands to set the rhythm. He then thinks of an adjective beginning with the letter "A" to describe the minister's cat. For example, “The minister’s cat is an angry cat…” The game proceeds clockwise, with everyone listing a word that begins with "A." A player who fails to think of a word in time is considered out of the game. The next round begins with the letter B. In an alternate version of the game, the first player says an "A" word, the second a "B" word, and so on until the players have used every letter of the alphabet.