Fun games to play at your next holiday party

No matter what you celebrate, these games are sure to liven up your gatherings with friends or family.

Photo: RODNAE Productions

The holidays are a great time to gather and enjoy each other’s company. Whether you're going home or spending the break here with friends, games are an awesome way to pass the time at any gathering with friends and family. Here are a few of my favourite options.


Merry Fishmas

For this game, you'll need two chopsticks, two large candy canes, and a bunch of smaller candy canes. Attach one large candy cane to the end of each chopstick with a string to make it look like a fishing hook. Have two players go against each other, each holding a chopstick in their mouth and trying to pick up as many smaller candy canes as they can using their candy hook. The player who can “fish” the most candy canes wins!


Candy Cane Relay

Split up into two teams and hand each player one candy cane to hold with their mouth as a hook. Each team must pass another candy cane from person to person without using their hands, just their hooks. The first team to pass the candy cane through every player wins! Note that since you’re putting your mouths close together, it’s best to play this game with folks inside of your “bubble”. An easier version if you have younger kids around (or don't want to get so up close and personal with other players) is to hold the hook in your hand.


Unwrap Gift Relay

If you've done Secret Santa with your friends and family before and are looking to change things up, this game is a real game changer (pun intended). Make sure everyone brings a gift that is very well-wrapped, then give each person a pair of mittens. Every player has a minute (or another time limit of your choosing) to try to open the gift. When time is up, if that player hasn’t been able to open the gift, they pass it on to the next player. The person who manages to unwrap the gift gets to keep it! You can have two or more gifts going around at the same time to make things more interesting.



This game is like charades but backwards. So, instead of having one player act something out for the entire team to guess, it’s the opposite. The whole team minus one player acts their item out and that one player must watch everyone and guess what they're trying to convey. Since more than one person will be acting, you can choose more elaborate scenes to write down. This will undoubtedly bring out a lot of laughs!


White Elephant

This is another way to spice up your gift exchange. Each participant brings one wrapped gift. All players are assigned a random number (you can use an app or the old-fashioned method of picking a number out of a bowl) to determine the order of the turns. The player who picked number one opens a gift, then the second player can choose to open another gift or steal the one that has already been opened. When a person’s gift is stolen, they can either choose a new wrapped gift to open or steal from another player. In order to avoid never-ending circles, you can assign a set number of times that a gift can be stolen. Player number one gets a chance to steal at the end once all of the gifts have been opened. The game is over once everyone has a present.