It’s the most wonderful time of year, right? Your kids are home from school. The house is decorated. There’s yummy food everywhere. And your home is nearly constantly filled with visiting friends and family. (Or, well, at least that was the case pre-pandemic and will hopefully be the case again, soon.) But what do you do when you’re on “Day 2” of visitors and out of things to talk about? Adults can usually find their own entertainment, but kids sometimes need help.
Luckily, these Christmas games and activity ideas are all perfect for kids of just about any age. Some end in sugar rushes while others will end in nap time. Either way, though, they’re sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
If you’re looking for even more holiday fun, we’ve got you covered. Whether you want snow jokes or Santa jokes, we’ve got ’em. Christmas riddles? Those, too. We also created an epic Hanukkah playlist and Hanukkah jokes and puns page for everyone celebrating the festival of lights.
DIY Christmas Games to Make the Holidays More Fun
1. Oven Mitt/Saran Wrap Game
Everyone loves this game! The idea is simple. Take a present and wrap it in a ton of plastic wrap. After a few layers, add another “prize” or present. Think: Cash, change, candy, a gift card, etc. Keep wrapping until you have a giant ball. Next, find some festive oven mitts. Set a timer for 30-60 seconds and let the person wearing the oven mitts attempt to unwrap as much as possible. When their time is up, they keep what they found and then pass the ball and mitts to the next person.
2. Christmas Movie Bingo
Think of all the cliche moments found in Christmas movies: Hot cocoa dates, Santa’s wink, “believing.” Make a list and then turn it into a game board. As your kiddos watch a Christmas movie, they can mark off which tropes they witness. Whoever scores that straight line first is the winner. (As adults, you could easily forgo the bingo board and turn this into a drinking game, instead.)
3. Snowman Building Race
Remember that bridal shower game where you wrap your partner in toilet paper and make a wedding dress? It’s just like that, but the kids will turn their partners into snowmen.
4. Guess the Christmas Scent
Fill some Ball jars with Christmas-y things: Pine needles, candy cane bits, vanilla, chocolate chips, maple syrup. Blindfold your kiddos and let them guess what each smell might be.
5. Christmas Would You Rather
You’ve played “Would You Rather?” before, right? This time, do a Christmas edition: Would you rather have ham or turkey tomorrow? Jellied or whole cranberries? Lots of little presents or one big one? Red or green? Gold or silver? White lights or colored lights?
6. Candy Cane Hide and Seek
Stash mini candy canes all over your house and let your kids look for them all, just like an Easter Egg Hunt.
7. Ring the Antlers
Those antler headbands? Make some rings using pipe cleaners or glow bracelets and take turns tossing them onto the antlers. Or, ya know, buy the “real thing” from Amazon.
8. Christmas Freeze Dance
This game is perfect for when you literally have no resources and need a few minutes to yourself. Just put on some Christmas music and let your kiddos play freeze dance. Be in charge of pausing the music, or let an older kid do it. Last person to freeze is out!
9. Christmas Ornament Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of different ornaments to look for that typically hang on your tree. This could be a mix of generic colors and things that are more personal, like a certain kiddo’s handprint or a noodle frame.
10. Snowman Bowling
There are two ways to do this. You could stuff some cotton or tissue paper into some old, rinsed-out 2-liter bottles and then use a sharpie to decorate them like snowmen. Next, you can line them up just like bowling pins then let your kids roll a light-weight ball at them. Another option is to use some white gift boxes in various sizes and stack them atop each other. Dress the white box pyramid like a snowman and have your kids try to peg the snowman with balls and knock off each layer of boxes.
11. White Elephant Gift Exchange
Raise your hand if you kind of hate white elephant gift exchanges! Still… they’re popular for a reason: People like surprises. You can find the rules pretty much everywhere, but they’re convoluted.
12. Gingerbread House Competition
Buying a gigantic gingerbread kid for each kid is a bit excessive. But, these days they often have “villages” with two to three smaller houses. Let your kiddos decorate them and then award prizes.
13. Jingle Bell Toss
You need two things for this game: Dixie or Solo cups and jingle bells. Use a Sharpie to label the cups with different point values and you might consider taping them to a table. But, ya know, that’s an added step you don’t need to take.
14. Cookie Decorating Competition
Girl. Buy some cheap icing and some break and bake cookies and let your kids go cray-zay.
15. Christmas Pictionary
Have your family contribute names of Christmas songs, movies, or characters. Split into teams or partners and take turns pulling from the list and drawing your selection. (Use only red and green markers, obviously.)
16. Snow Painting
There are kits you can buy. You can also just buy cheap spray bottles and fill them with water and food dye, then turn the kids loose in your snow-covered yard.
17. Christmas Who Am I?
“People say my belly looks like a bowl full of jelly. I survive on cookies and milk. I have eight pets. Who am I?”
“I don’t particularly like my neighbors. They sing a lot. People think I’m curmudgeonly. Who am I?”
18. Christmas Printables
Just desperate for a few minutes of quiet? How about some Christmas-themed printables? “Printables” are things you can print at home and let your children use. Think: MadLibs, coloring pages, or word searches. It’s a nice free and quiet activity most kids love.
19. Christmas Tic-Tac-Toe
Not only is this game super cute and easy to make, but it’s also a great party favor for kiddos and an easy game to take on the way to grandma’s house. Just invest in mini burlap bags, some puff paint, and some Christmas erasers (you can usually find those in Target’s Dollar Spot). Draw a tic-tac-toe board on the front of each bag using your puff paint. Next, fill each bag with five each of two different erasers. Your kids can divvy up who gets the candy canes and who gets the Christmas trees and then use them as x’s and o’s for the game. Easy peasy!
20. Christmas Cup Tower Game
Don’t want to spend a ton of money on a Christmas game your kids may not ever break out again? This game’s for you. All you need is a bunch of green plastic cups (and supplies to decorate them if you prefer). Everyone takes turns stacking cups, trying to get them high enough to form a sizable Christmas tree. Think of it as reverse Jenga, holiday edition!
21. Gift Stack-a-Thon
The only thing you need is a bunch of already wrapped Christmas gifts. Divide your family and friends into two teams and nominate two little ones as your stackers. Have them stack as many presents on top of each other as they can. The highest gift tower wins.
22. Stocking Mysteries
Want to add a little mystery and danger to your Christmas games this year? Well, too bad because the most riddling we’ve got is a guessing game using your family’s Christmas stockings. Fill each sock with a bunch of small toys and then have the kids feel the stocking and identify the items. The kiddo with the most correct guesses wins.
23. Pin the Carrot on the Snowman
We’ve all played some variation of the game, pin the tail of the donkey. Well, you can incorporate this birthday game into your holiday fun. Cut out a snowman with all the trimmings except for a nose. Spin the kiddos around and give them carrots stickers to pin on the face of the noseless snowman. The child that puts their carrot closest to where a snowman’s nose should be, wins.
24. Christmas Relay
Think of all your favorite things you like to do during the holiday, like stringing popcorn, hanging stockings, and singing Christmas carols. Now turn it into a death-defying race of speed and accuracy! These activities may seem easy when you’re doing them at a normal pace, but when you put a timer on them, things can get crazy. This is an exciting way to get things done and have fun with the fam. So split everyone into two teams and add as many obstacles as you want. In addition to the indoor activities, you can even take the games outside and include snowmen building and Christmas light hanging into the mix. The first team to finish will be crowned the Christmas champions and losers have to clean up the mess.
25. Christmas Post-It Guessing Game
Have you ever played the headband games where one person has a card with a word written on it on their forehead, and then everyone gives them clues until they guess what the card reads? This is the super-simple, cheap, and easy DIY version. All you need is a fresh pad of sticky notes and some ideas for what to write on them.
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