Festive Twists for Simple-Setup Classic Games

Christmas Family Games

We’ve all spent A LOT of time at home this year. And it can be hard to come up with new ways to entertain the troops. Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

Sometimes you have the energy to get into the kitchen and cook up a storm. Sometimes you turn the house into an art studio and give David Hockney a run for his money. And, sometimes you just need a quick win! An easy activity that requires minimal effort, minimal (or ideally no) expense, but still gives you a few minutes of fun and entertainment for the littlies.

Here are fifteen of our suggestions for simple festive twists on classic games to keep the kids (big & small) busy and happy!


It’s an oldie but a goodie. Use our printable list of Christmas characters below for a few rounds of festive charades.

Jolly Festive Christmas Charades

Christmas Kim’s Game

Christmas Ornaments

Lay out a selection of different Christmas Decorations on a tray.

Take turns to be in charge. Everyone else covers their head with a Santa hat whilst the person in charge quietly removes one decoration. (If you don’t have hats, just look away!)

Then, Santa hats lifted, the rest of the group have to guess which item has vanished.

Snowman Drawing Competition


You’ll need some white disposable plates or large circles of white card for this one.

Give each person a white plate or circle of card, and a pen. You each then attempt to draw a snowman face on your plate or card, whilst it is balanced on the top of your head! Decide together which one most resembles your frosty pal!

Christmas Songs Emoji Quiz

Emoji quizzes are great fun for the whole family. Make up your own, or get a free printable copy of the Jolly Festive Christmas Songs Emoji Quiz when you sign up to our newsletter. Details below.

Ornament Hunt

Do you know the Legend of the Christmas Pickle? One of the most endearing and unusual festive traditions around! Read more about it here; it’s inspired our Ornament Hunt idea!

Christmas Pickle Ornaments
Pickle Ornaments. Image Credit: Steven Miller. Flickr. CC by 2.0.

Select an ornament (preferably a robust one!) from your tree. Then take turns to reposition it whilst the others step out of the room. First to find it wins!

We would strongly recommend that you make this a hunt for the eyes only, as people rummaging repeatedly through the tree is a recipe for festive tears!

Pin the Nose on Rudolph

Use our printable below, or create your own supersize Rudolph face for this festive twist to the all-time children’s party favourite. Cover eyes with Santa hats or thick festive ribbon before turning three times on the spot and then trying to position Rudolph’s nose correctly with blue-tac.

Pin the Nose on Rudolph

Christmas Spoons

Candy Canes

A variation on the traditional card game of spoons; instead of removing a spoon as sneakily as you can from the central pile, try the game with candy canes and aim to avoid spelling out C-A-N-D-Y.

For more on how to play spoons, click here.

Ornament Bean Bag Toss

Draw out a Christmas Tree on the largest piece of card you can find (perhaps unfold a packaging box and draw on that?). Then using either beanbags if you have them, or non-bouncy balls (or even some actual non-breakable Christmas tree decorations if you’re feeling really brave!), take turns throwing them from a start line to add the decorations to your tree. Different points are gained for ornaments in different zones!

Positively Splendid Ornament Bean Bag Toss
Image Credit: Positively Splendid

If you’d like to go the full hog and make your own festive bean bags to enjoy playing this game again and again, Positively Splendid has all the details.

Secret Bows

Gift Bows

You’ll need a bumper bag of mixed colour gift bows for this game.

Everyone picks a colour and is given an equal number of bows of that colour. Over the course of the afternoon or evening, everyone then needs to stick as many of their bows on others, undetected. The most prolific bow colour at the end of the night wins!

If you’d prefer not to be wasteful with bows, simply play this game after Christmas day and save the bows on parcels received.

Christmas Rounds

Mum & Son Playing at Christmas

A really simple game for those times when you really need as minimal effort as possible!

One person starts with a Christmassy word. The next then has to say a word starting with the last letter of the word before. And so on and so forth.


Your turn next…!

20 Questions

Question Mark

Another easy classic. Someone thinks of a Christmas character. The rest of the group then ask questions to guess who they are? The snag is that the person answering can only reply with ‘yes’ or ‘no’! Will you guess the answer before the twenty questions run out?!

Jingle Bell Toss

You’ll need some non-breakable cups and small balls. Ideally use some little sleigh bells to add a proper jingle to proceedings(!), but otherwise try scrunching up some white paper into tight balls and have a snowball toss instead!

Layout a set of ten plastic or paper cups in a triangle (10-pin) formation. Use an umbrella or string of fairy lights to create a starting line. Take turns to try and get as many sleigh bells into the cups as you can. You can allocate different points for different cups if you wish.

Playground Park Bench Jingle Bell Toss
Image Credit: Playground Park Bench

Playground Park Bench have the full lowdown on creating a gorgeous long-lasting board for repeat play of this game. We think as long as you pop something heavy into the base of each cup to keep it upright as you play, you could set up a quick version of the game pretty easily!

Treasure Hunts

Chocolate Coins in a Money Box

Ever popular and seriously easy to set up, a treasure hunt is always a winner for a family activity. For our festive twist, we recommend hiding candy canes or chocolate coins around the home. Just be sure not to put any coins next to the radiator!

What’s In The Stocking?

Christmas Stockings

Take an empty stocking and fill it with 3-5 items. Others then have to guess what the objects are by touch alone. Strictly no peeking!

Christmas Songs Pictionary

Bringing back the Christmas Songs for a second time because we just can’t get enough! This time, take turns to draw out clues for your songs for others to guess. Either come up with your own list of songs or use the free printable below.

Jolly Festive Christmas Songs Pictionary

Any of these games would be brilliant additions to a North Pole Breakfast! Have you heard of it? Check out our guide to welcoming (back) your elf in style!

If you’re looking for activities to enjoy with family and friends over Zoom, we’ve got loads of great suggestions.

Share With Your Festive Friends!

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