Christmas is a holiday of traditions – and that makes it a perfect occasion to play a traditional party game. What party game could I be thinking of? Two words. First word sounds like…
Yes, I’m thinking of Christmas charades. Of course, charades can be played at any time of year. However, the ever-popular guessing game is especially well-suited to holiday parties, and here are a few reasons why:
- It works well for family gatherings and groups of different sizes.
- It’s easy to organize, saving you time and money during the hectic holiday season.
- You can add holiday flavor to the game by using Christmas-themed words and phrases.
On top of all that, it’s ridiculously fun! But if you’re reading this article, you’re probably already sold on playing charades at your next holiday gathering. This article covers everything you need to know to get a rollicking game of Christmas charades going.
The rules of charades vary almost as much as the rules for White Elephant. Therefore, even if players think they know the rules, it’s a good idea to run through them to make sure there’s no confusion (or worse, disputes).
Setup for Christmas charades is very simple. You will need the following:
- A timer, whether it’s a phone, watch, or a buzzer from a board game you own
- Paper and pencil for keeping score
- Slips of paper containing Christmas words and phrases for players to act out (see below)
- A grab bag for people to randomly select slips of paper
Players should divide into two equal teams. Alternatively, everyone can be on the same team and “play against the clock.” Here’s how it’s played:
- Team A chooses an “actor,” who picks a slip of paper from the grab bag. The phrase on the slip of paper is kept secret from the other players on Team A.
- The actor has one minute to silently act out the phrase. The actor may not mouth words, point to objects, or draw letters in the air. However, certain well-established charades signals may be used.
- If Team A correctly guesses the phrase before the timer goes off, they score a point.
- To complete the round, Team B gets a chance to guess a phrase following the rules above.
- The game ends after a pre-determined number of rounds. In general, all players should get to be the actor an equal number of times Therefore, if there are two teams of four, the game should end after round 4 or 8 or 12, etc.
- The team with the most points wins. If the game is tied, proceed to a “sudden death” round where each team gets another chance to guess. Continue this until one team scores and the other does not.
Those are the basics of charades. However, it’s important to note that there’s no such thing as “official” charades rules. If you’re accustomed to a different set of rules, use them – you’re the host!
Ideas For Christmas Charades
As mentioned, you don’t have to go to a lot of fuss to organize a game of holiday charades. That said, if you want to go the extra mile, here are a few things that can add a dash of holiday sparkle to an already fun activity:
- Use holiday stationery to keep score, and a Santa hat to hold the paper slips.
- Give the different teams Christmas-themed names (Santa’s Little Helpers, the Grinch Brigade, etc).
- Have players wear something silly and festive when acting out a phrase, such as a Santa hat or Rudolph nose.
- Give something Christmas-y to the winning team, even if it’s just a token prize such as a candy cane.
- Incorporate your party’s theme into the game of charades. For example, for a tree trimming party, the phrases could all relate to Christmas decorations. The same theme could also carry over to your gift exchange.
While not strictly necessary, little touches like those can go a long way toward making your game of Christmas charades more memorable.
Between all the Christmas songs, decorations, foods, movies, and traditions, there’s no shortage of material for a game of charades. Here are some well-known holiday words and phrases you can use. For a printable PDF of these word lists, click here.
Of course, you can come up with your own Christmas charades word list as well. By making your own list, you can tailor it to the group that will be playing. You can make it easier or harder, choose phrases that appeal to younger or older people, and so on.
Just like Christmas trivia and Christmas Pictionary, charades is an easy, fun, and affordable activity for just about any holiday party. I hope this article took some of the guesswork out of this age-old guessing game.