You don’t often think to play games on Christmas Eve, but playing a game or two can be a lot of fun.
One fun game is ideally suited for anxious children, but could also be for adults, if you want to add some fun for gift giving. For children, this is a way to make that “open one gift on Christmas Eve” rule a little more exciting and make it last a little longer.
You create a hunt with clues, so the children have to follow the clues to find their gift. Instead of the gift being under the tree, for example, you might put it somewhere else, but the children will follow clues to find it. For this game, you can use anything to write your clues on. You could use Christmas cards in their envelopes that you had extras of, you might cut out Christmas tree shapes for this, or you might want to use ornaments.
Whichever method you choose, write a clue on each of your items and leave those around the house. You start by handing each child the first clue. It might say, “you sleep here every night” and the children will run to their beds. On their pillow you have placed another clue that might say, “mom’s eggs taste better with this” and the children head to the spice cabinet, where they find another clue on the salt. The final clue (and depending on the ages of your children and their tolerance, you might have only 5 clues for this game, or many more) will be the gift itself. To make it extra fun, have the gift be under the tree. Your children won’t see that coming!
If you have a large gathering on Christmas Eve, try a circle game. Have everyone get in a circle and the first person will start with, “in my Christmas stocking there is an apple” and the next person will add, “in my Christmas stocking there is an apple and a boot”. Each person will continue on, remembering the previous items and the adding one of their own, and all in alphabetical order. If you miss an item, you’re out of the game and the winner is the person who successfully remembers all the stocking items over and over again each time they have to recite the items and add to the list.
Looking for a little physical activity on Christmas Eve? How about a rousing game of musical chairs using Christmas music? This one can be particularly fun if you use upbeat and well-known Christmas music. Use songs everyone knows and require they sing along and dance while they run around the chairs. This adds a fun element because you are likely to have at least one person who gets so caught up in the music and dancing they don’t realize the music has stopped. This game is played like any traditional game of musical chairs with the loser being the one who doesn’t get a chair when the music stops.
Since the big event on Christmas Eve is Santa’s arrival, play a game of “where’s Santa”? In this game, everyone sits in a circle and one person is chosen to be Rudolph. That person leaves the room for a minute. A Santa is chosen among those left in the room. Rudolph returns and begins hunting for Santa. Rudolph should stand in the center of the circle and try to figure out which person is Santa. Santa, meanwhile, winks at other people in the circle. If someone gets winked at, they yell, “ho ho ho”.
Once Rudolph figures out where Santa is, another Rudolph and another Santa are chosen and the game continues.
By Christmas Eve, your Christmas cards have been on display for a few weeks, so maybe it’s time to play a game with them. Have someone set up a laundry basket, or a gift box a few feet away (the distance depends on the age of your players and ability). Have them try to toss the cards into the box or basket. This sounds easy, but different cards of different weights and styles will react differently and can be harder than expected to get into the box or basket.