These days it’s a rare treat to socialise with our nearest and dearest, which is why family gatherings at Christmas are so special. As well as eating delicious food, and sharing the year’s news, playing games can enhance Christmas Day, Boxing day and that awkward stretch in the run up to New Year. With a little bit of organisation, you can make sure everyone takes part and enjoys some old-fashioned fun. Here are just a few ways to entertain your loved ones this Christmas:



The central idea of charades, which is an age-old game, is miming to an audience who have to guess the title of a book, song, movie or play.. Most families will already know the rules and the different signs that indicate ‘sounds like’, ‘tiny word’, ‘syllables’ etc.

Divide your group into two teams and working in secret, each side comes up with a selection of titles – films, plays, books, songs and TV shows – that the opposition will have to act out. Write them down on paper slips, fold and pop them into Santa hats. So you will have two sets of mime titles to dip into, and points are scored each time a mime is successfully guessed by the watching teams

It’s perfect for all generations and even small children will enjoy watching the grown ups gesticulating wildly, and getting frustrated at not being able to speak. It’s always interesting to see who can master the art of using physical rather than verbal language to convey the meaning to another party.

Tried and tested titles that can flummox family member include: The Grapes of Wrath, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Postman Always Rings Twice. Nice easy ones we’d recommend include: Jaws II, Star Wars, Dr Who, Hard Times and Strictly Come Dancing. And for Christmas, how about It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch and Home Alone?



Strictly Come Family Dance Off!

Strictly Come Dancing has been central to most households’ winter entertainment in the run up to Christmas, so wouldn’t it be fun to channel some of that energy and diva dance creativity into a lively family competition? Hormonal teenagers may opt to sit this one out, but smaller kids, grown ups and grandparents could have their moment in the spotlight, and work off a few pounds in the process. Either individuals can put on a show and be scored by an in-house judging panel, or you can get into two teams and dance each other off the living room floor. Clear plenty of space, choose cheesy Christmas songs to dance to, put on your Christmas glitz, and get waltzing, jiving, and shimmying in true Strictly style! How about inviting the neighbours round for some inter-family competition?



Christmas Themed Memory Game

Here’s a much calmer game, ideal for a lazy Boxing Day afternoon, or to ease the excitement on Christmas Eve. Younger kids love this memory game, and it’s amazing to see how sharp their memories are! Fill a tray with Christmas-themed objects – say 20 things, like a Christmas card, a carrot,  a tree bauble. Everyone has a really good look for 30 seconds. Then take turns to be tested on memory. If three items have been removed can you remember which are missing? Or simply remove the tray and try and list all the items. Winners get a mince pie or chocolate off the tree!



The Christmas holidays could be the ideal time to teach your children some basic card games. They’re fun and are also great for learning, as card games involve a level of counting and addition. Good games to teach your children when it’s cold outside and the festive excitement is waning, include Rummy, Sevens and Trumps. For some added Christmas cheer, throw in some prizes to make the games worth winning.




Funny Drawings

Kids find this hilarious, but adults with drawing skills will enhance the game too. Everyone has a blank sheet  of paper.  Keeping your own drawing shielded from the other players, in the top third of the paper all draw a head – something funny like an alien, pig, or cross-eyed cowboy. Then roll that top section over so only the neck shows with plenty of space below for the rest of the picture. Pass to the next person and all draw a body to the thighs. Roll down to cover and pass again. All draw funny legs and feet – webbed, hairy, bow-legged ballerina etc. Finally pass on again and open up for a look at the mixed up creatures you have created!


Trivial Pursuit

Here’s a classic Christmas game that always raises the spirits – a glass of mulled wine will help! Released in 1982, Trivial Pursuit is the game with wide ranging questions on history, geography, literature, sport and popular culture. If played late into the night the game can become viciously competitive, and it’s a great way to test your general knowledge. ‘Triv’ can be fun to play in teams to win the famous ‘wedges’ – that way all ages can get involved.




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