20+ Of The Best Games to Play During the Holidays

By Kelley Boymer
21 Nov 2022
Holiday-themed tic-tac-toe
Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

We love everything about the holidays! Everything from the music, to the decorations, and presents under the tree. Whether you like it or not, the holidays are here. With just a few days until Thanksgiving, we are in full holiday swing looking forward to delicious food, time spent with family and friends and all the festivities that comes along with it.

The holidays are a great time to relax, unwind and take a break from work, social media and other distractions. It provides an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and connect in ways you don’t always have the chance to.

With the cold temperatures outdoors, we often spend more time indoors during the holidays and are always looking for something fun to do. There are so many great games out there, and it’s the perfect respite from screens (and awkward personal conversations). So stoke your fire, light some candles, cuddle up with your favorite seasonal throw blanket and play a game with your family this holiday season.

Here are some of our favorite games to play during the holiday season.

20+ Of The Best Games to Play During the Holidays

The Best Games to Play During the Holidays
Photo by Noémie Cauchon on Unsplash

Puzzles

Growing up, it was a tradition that each year my family would put a new puzzle out for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It would be displayed on the living room table where you could work on it as the holiday progressed. It provided a quiet, peaceful getaway if you needed a break from the family. And a common goal amongst the family of finishing it before the holiday ended. It was always fun to watch it progress and work together. For younger kids puzzles with larger and less pieces are great as activity to do on their own.

Family Competition

Each Thanksgiving my family did a “Triathlon” as a way to bring some healthy competition and exercise into our time together. We would incorporate running, biking, wood chopping and whatever else felt fun and relevant that year. You can create your own holiday triathlon with your family and cater it to your families hobbies and interests. Maybe you incorporate a bake-off or gingerbread house contest. Make it fun and accessible for everyone!

Freeze Dance

Freeze Dance is a fun and simple game to play that the little ones in your family will especially love. Play some holiday songs and get everyone up and grooving. Someone needs to be in charge of the music and pause it every so often. Those participating must freeze in whatever dance pose they find themselves in when the music pauses. If they are caught moving after the music they are out. The last one dancing wins!

Charades

Charades are always a fun and easy go to game to play. You can make it extra festive by doing a Christmas or Thanksgiving Theme by picking related topics. For example, choosing Christmas songs, movies and books. This game of acting out is always fun for theatrical families and usually creates some laughs!

Trivia

For those who love to be tested on all of their movie, music, history, TV and science knowledge– Trivia is a fun game to play as a family. You can make your own trivia categories and do a Christmas theme or use a game board like Scattergories or Trivial Pursuit. This is an exciting way to work your brain and learn more while enjoying family time!

Mad Libs

Mad Libs were always a favorite growing up and I know they still are for so many kids– I used to do them all the time with my 3rd grade students. There are so many different types of Mad Libs now but you can invest in some if you know you will have some kids to entertain over the holidays. They will get so many laughs and will be occupied for hours with this fun and educational game. Try this holiday themed Mad Libs for kids or

Telephone

Another one I used to play all the time with my students during morning meeting– Telephone is a super easy, fun game to play with little ones. Make it holiday themed by using Christmas phrases. Sit in a circle and have one person choose a phrase to whisper to the person to their left. That person then whispers what they heard to the person to their left and so on. When it finally reaches the last person in the circle, they say the sentence they heard out loud. It is always funny to hear how the phrase changes and kids love it!

HedBanz

HedBanz is another great game to play with young kids, but the adults enjoy it just as much. Each person wears a headband with a card identifying them as something. Because the card is on your head you can’t see it and have to try to guess what it is. This is a game that will get everyone laughing and lighten the mood.

Clue

Clue has always been one of my favorite games. It is a timeless classic and perfect to play over the holidays with family and friends. My friends and I used to have Clue marathons for hours as a kid and adult. It’s a fun mystery game that requires some strategy but is still fun and easy.

Catan

Catan is one of our favorite games! You need at least 4 people to play and this is more of a game for teens and adults than children. Also, beware it can take several hours to finish playing so make sure you have a good chunk of time to play. This is a great game to play on a snowy lazy day or evening spent indoors.

Banana Grams

Love word games? Banana Grams is one of my favorites! It involves using letter tiles to make crossword puzzles as you race your opponent to complete your puzzle first using all your tiles. This is a great educational game!

Apples to Apples

My friends and I used to play Apples to Apples and laugh until we cried growing up. It is such a fun game and provides so much entertainment. This is a great game for both young and old and a large holiday crowd.

Chess

While it’s only between two players Chess is such a fun game to play and a great one to teach older kids. You can also do a chess tournament and get everyone involved. It would make a great holiday gift too!

Backgammon

Backgammon is another two player game and one of the oldest known board games! A cozy table game to set up and play by the fire. It’s a game of skill, strategy and luck.

Monopoly

For kids and adults ages 8 and up, Monopoly is another timeless, classic. Both educational and fun it gives kids the opportunity to play with money and other adult concepts.

Taboo

Taboo is another fun one and kids LOVE the buzzer. Challenge yourself by trying to get your opponent to guess your word without saying all the words you want to use!

Mancala

I have always loved Mancala. It almost feels meditative and is such a great, easygoing game to play with little ones or adults.

Sorry

My niece got Sorry for Christmas last year and we played for days non-stop. It is such a fun and simple game that can be enjoyed by kids as young as 4 to adults.

Trouble

Trouble like Sorry is a great starter board game for young kids. It simple, easy to play and fun for all ages!

Telestrations

Telestrations is fun and hilarious, a drawing, guessing game that will leave everyone laughing.

Merry DissMas

If you loved What Do You Meme than this holiday spin-off- Merry Dissmas where you get to roast your loved ones (in the most loving way of course) is for you!

Fish Bowl

Fish Bowl is one of my favorite party games that my family has been playing for years. It’s simple to play and is always a crowd pleaser.

How to Play:
  • To begin each player writes the name of 3 different people on small pieces of paper (it needs to be someone famous or well-known by the group).
  • Fold up each piece of paper and put it in the “Fish Bowl” or any bowl will do.
  • Split the group into two groups. There are three rounds.
  • 1st Round: One player from Team 1 picks one piece of paper from the bowl at a time and can use any words, (except those on the paper) to try to get the rest of their team to guess the exact name on the paper. Team 1 has 1 minute to get through as many names as they can. For example, if the name was “Britney Spears” they could say, “this is the singer who sang, “Oops I Did It Again” If their team guesses incorrectly they put the name back in the bowl. When Team 1 finishes, Team 2 continues with the names still remaining in the bowl. This continues until all the names are gone. Record how many names each team guessed correctly. Each player takes turns guessing and giving hints.
  • 2nd Round: The same names are returned to the fish bowl. This round Team 2 begins first and can only use one word to hint to the name on the paper. For example, for “Britney Spears” they may say, “Oops” if the earlier hint had been used. Again they continue until a minute is up or someone guesses incorrectly and switch teams until all the papers have been guessed. Tally up points, return names to bowl and continue to final round.
  • 3rd Round: Team 1 begins, but this time must only use actions (no sounds, noises or words) to have their team guess. Again they only have one minute and any incorrect guesses end their minute early. They continue switching between Team 1 and 2 until all the papers are gone. Again tally up points and determine a winner!

What are your favorite games to play over the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 Comments

  1. Kelsey wrote:

    I have so many fond memories of playing Balderdash and Chicken Foot with my big extended family!

    11.23.22 | Reply
  2. Kathleen wrote:

    Scrabble is a biggy in our house. Also some good old fashioned Cribbage!

    11.23.22 | Reply