Guests hold champagne glasses and talk at a holiday dinner party

The decorations are set, the menu is handled, and you’ve sent out your holiday party invitations. Now, it’s time to figure out how to entertain your guests. Whether you’re hosting a bash for a large group or a more intimate get-together, a few holiday party games up your sleeve can keep the fun quotient high.

Rather than sharing a list comprised strictly of Christmas party games, these ideas offer holiday game options that will be a hit no matter how you celebrate the season. But they all have one thing in common: They’re sure to make the season merry and bright and provide a great time for everyone. We’ll mention some games to entertain adults and others that all ages can join.

12 Fun Holiday Party Games

Guests sit around a living room playing holiday party games

Poor Rudolph may have never been allowed to join in any reindeer games, but your guests will certainly be welcome to participate in these party games. Here are 12 party game ideas that’ll work for just about any holiday party theme.

1. Guess How Many

A great way to begin the holiday party games is by having guests guess how many ornaments are on your tree when they arrive. Simply keep a notepad and pen stationed somewhere convenient and let guests add their estimate next to their name. You could also have a large clear jar filled with mini candy canes and have guests estimate how many are in the jar. At the end of the game, you can give the winner(s) a prize. Hint: This game works perfectly for an office party as well.

2. Holiday ABCs

This is another fun and easy game to help get the party started. Beginning with the letter “A,” ask each person in the group to name something that’s related to the holiday season. The key to this game is speed — if someone takes more than a few seconds or can’t think of a word, they have to take a sip of their drink. It’s a blast to keep going through the alphabet and see who remains standing. As you might imagine, this game is for adults only.

3. Favorite Holiday Memory

For an amusing and revealing icebreaker game, ask people to share a favorite holiday memory. You can go around the group and ask everyone the same questions or come up with several different ones. If you opt for the latter option, write each question on a small piece of paper, fold it up, and place it in a bowl. Each person can then pick one and share their answer. Some questions could be:

  • What’s your favorite and least favorite holiday song?
  • As a kid, what did you love most about winter?
  • What food do you love eating during the holiday season?
  • Is there a holiday movie you always watch during this time of year?

4. Face the Cookie

For this fun game, the player leans their head back as you place a cookie on their forehead. They then have one minute to use their face muscles (no hands allowed!) to get the cookie in their mouth. Make it extra challenging with cookies in asymmetrical shapes such as a gingerbread man, menorah, dreidel, snowman, or Santa.

5. Find Holiday Items

Whether your fam is snowed in or simply unable to travel, not everybody can get together in person during the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean you can’t connect from afar. For this virtual holiday party game, everyone must find something in their house that relates to the holidays — maybe it’s a cookie cutter, Santa hat, menorah, chocolate gold coins, or silly reindeer antlers — and tell a quick story about it. You could also choose an item that starts with a particular letter or is color-specific.

Note: If you’re planning a virtual holiday party, check out these customizable virtual event invitations.

6. Who Said That?

This guessing game is a fun way to put your guests’ trivia knowledge to the test. Gather quotes from your favorite holiday songs and movies (“You’ll shoot your eye out!” from “A Christmas Story” comes to mind) to see who can correctly guess the source. For added excitement, limit the guessing time to 10 seconds per person.

7. Holiday Charades

Guests at a Christmas party play charades and other holiday party games

Whether you’re hosting a birthday party, bridal shower, or holiday party, you can’t go wrong with a game of charades. If you’re doing Christmas charades, choose scenes from Christmas movies or lyrics from Christmas songs. You can easily adapt this to other traditions or your holiday party theme.

8. Never Have I Ever

There’s nothing like a drinking game to truly get the adults into the holiday spirits. (See what we did there?) For this version of the “Never Have I Ever” game, all you and your guests have to do is state something you’ve never done during the holidays. Then, whoever has actually done the thing that was mentioned has to drink. You can get as silly or as saucy as you like. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Never have I ever shopped for other people’s gifts and ended up only buying gifts for myself.
  • Never have I ever learned all the lyrics to “Jingle Bells.”
  • Never have I ever avoided a particular family dish because I secretly don’t like it.

9. Holiday Pictionary

For a hilarious holiday twist on Pictionary, break into teams to draw popular Christmas carols or other tunes of the season (Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song, anyone?). Once the group correctly identifies the song, they must sing it to earn full points.

10. Mouthful of Marshmallows

Let’s face it: Stuffing our faces is one of the best pastimes of the holiday season. So, you may as well lean into it with this hysterical game. You and your guests will compete to see just how many marshmallows you can fit in your mouth while saying seasonal words like “candy cane,” “snowball,” or “family.” The person who can talk with the most marshmallows in their mouth wins.

11. Two Truths and a Lie

As the name tells you, this game is all about stumping people. You’ll say three things about yourself (two are true and one is false), and the other players will try to guess which statement is the lie. For a holiday rendition, simply tailor it to your holiday party theme. For example, at a Christmas party, you can ask each guest to mention the worst or best Christmas gifts they ever received. Everyone else will then have to determine which one is a fakeout. Here’s a good primer on how to play the game.

12. Paper Plate Artist

One of the easiest and most entertaining party ideas, this game requires nothing more than paper plates and pens, pencils, or markers. Set a timer for one minute and instruct guests to draw various holiday scenarios on a paper plate while the plates are on top of their heads. They could try a snowman, gift box, ice skater, or a gingerbread house. But without seeing what they’re drawing, it could turn out quite different. The person with the most dazzling artistic skills wins a prize. For extra laughs, you could also award a prize for the most “WTH is that?”-worthy illustration.

6 Fun and Easy Holiday Activities for Kids of All Ages

Hands decorate ornaments as part of their holiday party games

Depending on the ages of your holiday party guests, you might want to consider some other activities to keep everyone entertained. Here are just a few ideas to spark your creative holiday spirit.

1. “Chalk It Up” Ornaments

Get crafty with DIY decorations that adults and youngsters will love. Buy a few extra boxes of ornaments (opt for plastic if the kiddos are doing this craft), and paint them with chalk paint. Guests can then use a white paint pen to draw holiday designs on the ornaments or customize them with their names or other fun doodles.

2. Holiday Bingo

It’s hard to go wrong with this classic game that you can refashion into Christmas bingo or Hannukah bingo. (There are even free printable PDFs.) You can also keep the kids from getting bored with easy and entertaining board games like Candy Land (there’s even a winter edition), Chutes and Ladders, and Trouble, which has that covered dice pop-o-matic to keep things “popping.”

3. Holiday Cookie Making

Homemade cookies are always a welcome treat, but it can be an ordeal that leaves you with a four-letter situation: mess. Instead of making cookies from scratch, use plain, store-bought versions and let your guests add the icing and sprinkles. To add a competitive element, set a timer and see who can make the best-decorated cookie.

4. Cinnamon Stick Candle Holders

There’s nothing like the warm scent of cinnamon to bring a cozy, holiday feeling. For this “scentsational” activity, simply wrap cinnamon sticks around a candle with a rubber band. Cover the elastic with pretty ribbon or twine, and you have cinnamon stick candles that work perfectly for a tablescape, mantle decoration, or room freshener. Bonus: Whether you use real wax candles or LED candles, it’ll still smell great. This handy craft also makes a lovely gift for guests to take home.

5. DIY Popsicle Stick Ornaments

For a fun and simple holiday craft, make popsicle stick Christmas trees you can use to decorate your tree, mantle, office desk, or any other space that could use some holiday cheer. All you need are popsicle sticks, stickers, and twine. To make this craft kid-friendly, substitute the glue gun for Elmer’s glue or other kid-friendly adhesives. Another fun option is a menorah made out of popsicle sticks, which you can also adapt to create a Kwanzaa kinara.

6. Wine Bottle Vases

We all know the holidays can include plenty of drinking. But before you throw away those empty wine bottles, do your holiday party (and Mother Nature) a favor by cleaning them and stashing them for this fun holiday craft. Paint the bottles ahead of time in festive colors or let your guests do the honors. Then, use stencils to add words, symbols, and other decorative elements. Or, add some fake snow and frost to the bottle for a classic winter wonderland aesthetic. Fill with flowers, pine twigs, and voila — you’ve made an instant holiday centerpiece.

Gather Your Party People and Have the Happiest of Holidays

Holiday party guests cheers in front of the Christmas tree

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or something altogether different, the holidays are a time to get together with those you love. And with fun games and activities like those on this list, you’re sure to revel in the joy of the season.

When planning your party, consider sending digital personal holiday invitations — you don’t have to worry about buying paper invites, paying for postage, or keeping track of guests. You can manage RSVPs, send updates, and so much more from one simple dashboard. After all, you want to save your energy for the party — and all those games you’ll play.