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Christmas party games are perfect this time of year…it's Christmas, what better time of the year to get together and play nice?

Take a few minutes now before the hustle of the holiday to explore a few new games that may add a bit more sparkle to your yuletide happenings.

Stocking Stuffer Surprise

This is an easy game to adapt for any age. The preparations are simple and remain the same no matter who plays. You'll need stockings for each player and a few simple gifts or candies to put into the stockings. Another great thing about this game is that it doubles as party favors and we all know that during the holiday season we can all use anything that does the job of two!

Youngest players can play like go fish. Hang two sheets and have someone hide behind it. To play give the children a stocking and have them “hang” it by putting their hands into an opening in the sheets. The stocking is then filled with a cry of “ho, ho, ho!”, the child can pull their hand out to see what they received. It is simple, but very fun.

Players who are just a bit older can play this game rather like heads up seven up. Two to five children are “it” while the others put out their stockings and hide their eyes. As quietly as possible the children who are “it” place goodies in one stocking apiece. When they have finished those children who have received goodies try and guess who filled their sock. If they guess correctly they take that child's place as “it”. If the child playing “it” is not discovered they remain “it” Play continues until all children have had their stockings filled, or all have had a chance to be “it”.

A great way to play this game is appropriate for all ages. If youngsters are included, it is wise to partner them with an older person. Begin on Christmas Eve by drawing names. Set a price limit, and head off to the nearest open store. Once there , split into couples and shop to fill the stocking for the person whose name we have drawn. It is very fun to see what ends up in those stockings. At times with a restricting price and time limit, the gifts are very creative! It is always great fun and laughs abound. It's definitely one of the favorite Christmas party games.

Christmas Guess Who

This is a classic game that can easily be adapted to reflect a Christmas party theme. The only preparation or modification you need to make for younger players is in the selection of simpler one word topics.

Inside every child is a ham waiting to come out. At a Christmas party select a few simple Christmas words and phrases for the children to act out. Have all the kids sit on the floor while one child stands in front. Tell the child what he or she is miming and let the other children guess. Once the correct answer is guessed a new actor is selected and play continues.

For older children the game can be more sophisticated. Have them break into teams and select 10-15 Christmas themed topics. The catch is they don't get to do the topics they create; they are for the other team. Screen the topics for difficulty, and assign a higher point value for the most difficult ones. This is a game of points!

Each team then selects the desired difficulty level and draws a topic. Then play is like above with one player trying to act out the clue for his or her team to guess. There is no stealing because the opposing teams created the clues. At the end of play, the team with the most points wins.

If you like the idea of being able to steal, then an impartial judge, this most often means mom or dad, can create the clues and keep them secret from the players. This also provides the opportunity to add a race element. Give all the teams the same clue, then they act simultaneously. The first team to guess correctly wins.

Christmas Pictionary

This is not your run of the mill picture drawing guessing game. The rules are the same, but the medium is different. For this game no paper or pencils are allowed. Instead you get a frosting bag filled with frosting, and several sheets of paper towels, parchment paper, tinfoil or if you really want to get tricky large sugar cookies. All the same rules apply: divide into teams, select a clue and draw it so your team can guess. But you have to do this with frosting. The winners either accrued the most points, or if the game board is being used reached the end the fastest.

Just a word of caution: This game can get very messy, especially in the wrong hands. Adolesent boys, for example may require extra supervision to ensure they don't give into the overwhelming urge to frost their neighbors. To deter extra curricular frosting activities you may want to award bonus points for neatness in frosting use. When all is guessed and done, they can eat the cookies and have a good laugh.

Christmas White Elephant

What Christmas party would be complete without a white elephant game? This is a party pleaser, doubles as a party favor, all while allowing you to off load some poor unloved item in the hopes of getting something you will love, or at least tolerate.

There are many ways to play the white elephant game. Each is fun, so if your favorite mode of play is not listed here, just play it your way! If you have never played the white elephant game, or don't know how, keep reading.

Getting the gifts: There are a variety of rules that apply when selecting the type of gifts you will use in the white elephant game. Be sure all participants are on the same page. If you plan on having a white elephant game, it might be wise to specify what type of exchange it will be. It can be gag gifts, used items (or the re-gift), pamper me gifts, books well you name it. Just be sure you do name it. If the gifts are to be purchased set a price limit to keep things fair.

The exchange: One way, the speedster white elephant, is to have each person select a gift and open them at the same time. Once all gifts are open the mayhem of stealing begins. Each player can keep the gift they selected or steal one from someone else. If your gift is stolen you then can keep the one you got, and the chance to steal or pass moves around the circle clockwise from the person who went first. If you choose to steal, you get to do so now. Then play goes back to the next person in line. Each player has only one turn to steal or pass (unless their gift is taken). The game ends when the stealing rotation reaches the first person again.

The next way to play is one person goes first and play passes clockwise from them around the circle. The players turn consists of selecting and opening a wrapped gift, or stealing a gift that has been opened by a previous player. If your gift is stolen you open a new gift or take one from another player. (You can't take the gift that was stolen from you back) .When all the gifts are open, and play reaches the first player, a new round begins. Play continues around the circle with each player having one chance to steal a gift or keep the one they already have. Each gift can only be stolen twice. The third person to take it gets it, period.

Note: this is a great game, but not for young children, especially those who are still in the phase of “if I touched it once, it's mine forever”. Suggested age group for this game is 10 and up.

Christmas Gift Wrap Relay

Why does gift wrapping have to be holiday drudgery? Make a game out of it. Set up a pile of gift items, then a pile of boxes, followed by a pile of scissors and wrapping paper (the tackier the better, this is a game), then lastly a pile of tape. Divide the players into teams. This is a relay race, and you can play it in a few ways.

The first mode of play is to have each player on the team wrap one gift. The first player must complete his or her wrapping moving from each station to the next and then tag the next player who goes to wrap their gift and so on until each player has wrapped one present. Points can be awarded for neatness as well as speed.

If the individual effort doesn't sound like your idea of fun then make it more of team effort. Have one player from each team at each station. The first player selects the gift and takes it to the second player, who then goes to the second station and selects a box and so on until the gift is wrapped.

It this sounds like fun, but your party goers are a bit young to manage scissors and tape, you can tweak the game by having the wrapping paper already cut to size, and the tape already dispensed. Or you could use gift bags instead. Another variation is to have the smaller children unwrap the gifts instead of wrapping them.

Christmas party games add to the fun of the holiday and will have everyone enjoying themselves!