18 Christmas Party Games for a Holly Jolly Holiday Gathering

published Dec 10, 2023
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Table decorated for Christmas party
Credit: Juan Moyano/Stocksy United

Does your holiday gathering need a little more holly jolly spirit? These Christmas party games will add a festive (and competitive!) touch to your next celebration. Whether your group is interested in Christmas cocktails, can’t get enough of classic holiday movies, or is eager to show off their deep knowledge of Christmas carol trivia, there’s a holiday game that will put the jingle in their jangle. 

Ready to start the friendly competition? Here are 18 Christmas party games for your next Santa soirée.

1. Christmas Cocktail Competition

Are you a budding bartender? Show off your skills by hosting a cocktail (or mocktail) competition where everyone brings their best holiday recipe to the table. This is the time to break out that homemade eggnog or your grandmother’s milk punch. Sample a small glass of each group’s concoctions, then vote on the winner.

2. Christmas Movie Trivia

You’ve all seen the classics, right? This game will put your knowledge to the test, with multiple choice questions on all the holiday favorites. Plus, it’s an instant download from Etsy — perfect for snagging when the party starts to slow down.

3. Christmas Card Balderdash

Pick up a stack of holiday cards — the cheesier, the better. One by one, hold them up and have guests write what they believe the message is hiding on the inside of the card. Vote on which one is best and whether you think you have a greeting-card copywriter on your hands.

4. Gift Wrap Game

Love wrapping gifts? Then play a game you know you’ll win! The gift wrap game is simple. Everyone races to wrap a stack of presents … except they’re paired up and each using just one hand. It’s a game of creativity and coordination, and your ribbon skills can’t save you now.

5. Hallmark Movie Drinking Game

It won’t take long to get through your cocktail when you play the Hallmark Christmas Movie Drinking Game. You’ll find yourself taking a sip every time it starts to snow or the main characters bump into each other back in their hometown.

6. Holiday Pictionary

When you think of adult party game movie scenes, do you think of that Pictionary scene in When Harry Met Sally? Just me? Well, it’s a classic. And you can turn it into a Christmas party game by having guests draw everything from holiday movie characters to Christmas carols.

7. Mitten Hands Challenge

There are two basic pieces to this game: One is a person rolling dice, and the other is a person wearing oven mitts and trying to unwrap a layered present. The person wearing the oven mitts unwraps as much as they can until the person rolling the dice rolls doubles. Once they do so, the present passes to the next person and the cycle continues. The last person to unwrap the final layer of wrapping keeps the gift.

8. Gingerbread Decorating Competition

Now that most people have more time on Pinterest under their belts than they did when they were kids, it might be time to elevate the gingerbread house. Have a decorating competition, but add elements like the following: Who can make theirs look the most like a modern farmhouse? Which one can best channel dark academia?

9. Blindfolded Decorating

Give everyone a mini Christmas tree and a stack of ornaments. Blindfold the contestants. Set a timer. Now everyone starts decorating — except they can’t see. It’s a competition to see who can feel their way through some tinsel and garland.

10. White Elephant

Nearly everyone knows how to play White Elephant, but that’s because it’s a classic. This gifting game involves every attendee bringing a wrapped gift, typically under a certain dollar threshold and usually more of a gag gift than a real gift. Everyone draws a number and that corresponds to the order in which they get to pick a gift. Drawing one might seem like the best, but wait! Every gift can be stolen three times. That means the ultimate position could be going last, when you’ve seen everything unwrapped and get your pick of the best gifts.

11. Favorite Things 

The new take on White Elephant is the Favorite Things game, where everyone brings one of their favorite items, whether that’s a hair accessory, a book, or anything else that falls under the specific threshold for that party.

12. Holiday Never Have I Ever

Put a festive spin on a year-round favorite. Take turns asking questions, like “Never ever have I ever re-gifted a present from my mother-in-law” or “Never ever have I ever snuck an adult beverage into a dry family gathering.”

13. Festive Two Truths and a Lie

Along the same lines of Holiday Never Have I Ever, play a Santa-approved version of Two Truths and a Lie. Did you actually go streaking in a blizzard on Christmas Eve? Did you really catch mommy kissing Santa Claus? Did you really re-gift the present your first boyfriend gave you? Everyone will try to guess!

14. Ornament Guess

This game requires some preparation. You need to know exactly how many ornaments you put on your tree. Then, as guests filter in throughout the evening, you have them guess the number. The winner gets a festive prize.

15. Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt

The parents might have an advantage here, but make it a competition to see who can place the Elf on the Shelf in the most ridiculous and precarious situation. Just remember to put them back in the morning for the kids!

16. Jingle Bell Toss

This is the noisier cousin to the pong games you may have played in college. You arrange red and green solo cups (you know the drill!), then take turns trying to toss jingle bells into the cups. First to land them in every cup wins.

17. Hot Present

It’s just like hot potato — but with a present. Start with a fully wrapped present and pass it around until the music stops. That person gets to unwrap the present. But wait! There isn’t just one layer of wrapping paper. The mystery is when it will end, and each turn only unwraps one layer. The lucky person at the end gets to keep the gift.

18. Christmas Alphabet Drinking Game

No supplies needed for this Christmas party game! Simply go through the alphabet, taking turns with each person naming off a festive word. The first person could say angel, the next could say Bing Crosby, the next could say caroling, continuing through the alphabet. If they stall, they drink.