For Filipinos, the Christmas season starts in September when Jose Mari Chan's songs inexplicably start chiming from speakers everywhere. Filipinos love the holidays so much that they start preparing for it when the months start rhyming with December. It's the most anticipated time of the year, where we can spend quality time with our family. This is what makes Christmas in the Philippines unique and memorable.
So it’s never too early to get ready for Christmas parties, especially if you want to impress that tita or tito you love inviting to your home over the holidays. And what could be the most exciting to plan with the family but the games that make temporary competitors of you all, young and old.
What better way to spend your holiday party than to make it a competition among relatives? Friendly competition in the family makes for better relationships, especially for relatives who don't get to spend so much time together apart from the holidays.
One way to do this is to set up games that could be played in teams; you can organize teams according to immediate family, or mix it up and make a randomized group selection. Either way, everyone is sure to have fun with the following games:
1. Christmas Family Feud
One way to spice things up during family holidays is by conducting a friendly game of Family Feud. How it works is you form two teams of at least 5, and you have to answer the most likely answers for a question.
The game starts with one question, and the two teams race to answer it. If the first team answers correctly, they get to decide whether they or the other team is going to try to enumerate all possible answers to the question. Higher ranking answers merit more significant points. If you're not familiar with the game, you can read up about the mechanics of Family Feud.
The classic Family Feud game involves survey questions with many possible answers, ranking from most voted to the least. You can put a twist on this game by conducting your survey with your family before the Christmas party so that your questions would be about relatives or family traditions.
This can test how much you know one another, or maybe unearth some fun family anecdotes. Either way, it's going to be a lot of fun for everyone.
2. Christmas Charades Relay
Another brain-teasing Christmas game for everyone is charades. The rules of charades are you act the number of words, syllables, and pantomimes to have your team guess your word. Set a time limit for each side to act out the words. Whichever team guesses the most words wins.
To make it a little harder, you can incorporate twists in this game by incorporating words or items associated with specific family members. For example, instead of just saying "fried chicken," you can put in the words, "Lola's fried chicken." You can act out who the person is, but there should be no pointing or talking.
3. Ornament Relay
Do you know that timeless holiday party game, kalamansi relay? Well, here's the Christmas version of it. You can use a Christmas tree ornament as your balancing object. Line up your teams and set obstacles for them a few meters away.
You can spice this game up by putting multiple obstacles they should hurdle, like chairs or books to step over. Make sure the obstacle course will be safe for everyone to navigate!
If the ornament falls midway, the person needs to start, again, at the first point. Be careful not to use decorations that are easy to break, especially if you have clumsy relatives! You can play these team games with both adults and kids, but make sure the members are equally balanced; so that there won't be unfair advantages.
4. Candy Nutstacker
A popular game from Minute-To-Win-It is the Nut Stacker, where you use a pencil to stack nuts on top of each other, with holes on the sides. Not familiar? Many videos tried Nustacker at home. But since it's Christmas, you can use a small candy cane to move and stack the nuts.
5. Junk in the Trunk
For this game, you’ll need a small empty tissue box and string to tie it around the player’s waist. Instead of tissue inside the box, place ornaments, cards, (or even money if your ninangs and ninongs are up for it!), which the player will try to shake off in a minute. If no one manages to shake all items off, the winner is the one with the least number of things in their basket.
6. Snowball Shovel
This is like the ornament race earlier, only with cotton balls on the spoons. Set up two bowls at each end of the room, and have the players retrieve cotton balls from one end then transfer them to the other bowl. This sounds easy, but cotton balls are light and can fly off quickly. If a cotton ball falls, the player needs to start at the first end again. Just like with the ornament relay, you can place obstacles around your home to make the game a little more challenging.
7. Christmas Wreath Relay
This is a simple relay game using only some huge Christmas wreaths and heads. Yes, you read that right. It’s a team game in which the teams will have to move a wreath over their lines without using their hands. They will have to do this task by maneuvering their heads and whole bodies to transfer the wreath on to the next member of the team.
8. Christmas Card Cliffhanger
Gather up your Christmas cards, and line them up on a table, so they're standing up like a row of pyramids. You can use ten cards. The players need to blow the card until each is lying on one side, hanging from the edge of the table. If the card slips off the table, the player would need to place it atop, again, and repeat the process starting with that card.
9. Candy Cane Catch
For this game, you can use ribbons, strings, or garlands. Tie each end on two chairs a few meters apart, then give the players a bowl of candy canes to use. They will have to stand on the chairs and drop the canes onto the string. You can have them race to have one candy cane hanging from the string or have the most candy canes hanging after a minute.
10. Holiday Pie
Here, you will need some whipped cream and small red pompoms. Whether your playing in teams or pairs, one of each group or couple will have their face covered with whipped cream. (Don't cover the eyes, mouth, and nose, though!) And their teammates or partners will have to throw the red pompoms on their faces. The team or the pair with the most pompoms on their teammate's face after one minute wins.
Games for Kids
Christmas parties are not complete without the kids running around the place, happy to see everyone together again. This can be a handful when you're hosting the party, and you're trying to keep everyone happy and nothing broken. You can channel those kiddos' energy by setting up games for them to play that the whole family can enjoy, too. Here are some examples you can follow:
11. Pin the Nose on Rudolph
One fun game is this classic Pin the Nose on Rudolph. All you’ll need is a big photo of Rudolph and a fist-sized fuzzy ball you can stick with tape on big ol’ Rudolph. You’ll also need a blindfold which the child participants will wear.
Blindfolded players will have to gently spin on the spot a few meters away from Rudolph. After a couple of turns, they can now walk to the photo to pin the nose. You can assign a partner for the children who can assist them while they walk. Make sure there are no obstacles they can trip on, and that the kids will not be overwhelmed by the voices coaching them.
12. Stack the Gifts
For this game, you'll need to bring out the wrapped gifts. The children will need to stack these up as tall as possible before they topple down or after a set time limit. You can split the kids up into teams, with one adult per group to help them.
Make sure the gifts you use are not fragile, or you’ll have one disappointed recipient at the end of the night.
13. Oven Mitts Unwrapping
One thing about children is that they get really excited when opening gifts, and would usually tear off wrapping piece by piece heartily. It's easily the best part of the night. But you can make it a game by giving them oven mitts to wear while they open mini gifts with prizes in them.
This will be a fun and entertaining game for everyone, and you can also teach the kids to slow down with the unwrapping; so that by the end of the night, you’ll have less mess to clean up. It’s a win-win!
You don’t have to make this a very tight competition for children, as they may take it the wrong way if they lose. Just make sure the kids are having fun.
14. Face the Gingerbread Man
Based on the famous game Face the Cookie, wherein you move a cookie from your forehead to your mouth by using the muscles of your face and by using no hands. But to make it more Christmas-themed, you can use a gingerbread man instead of a regular cookie.
There you have it! These are some examples of fun Christmas party games you can try at home with your family over Noche Buena and gift-giving. You can customize these games to make them more memorable for your relatives this holiday season. All these are easy to prepare, and the whole family can join in the preparations.
15. Jingle Bell Line
You’re going to need some popsicle sticks and tiny bells for this game. The players will have to place one end of the popsicle stick in their mouth so that the stick is parallel to the ground. Then, they need to line up the five tiny bells on the popsicle stick without letting any bell fall. A bit tough, but I’m sure your kids, even parents, can enjoy the game as well!
16. Candy Cane Bob
For this game, you will need some candy canes again — place at least ten into bowls (10 pieces in one bowl per team or participant). The players will have one candy cane for them to place in their mouth and use to hook the candy canes on the bowl and transfer it into another bowl.
Whatever games and food you choose, what’s important is spending quality time with your family during the holidays and making the best out of these moments.