10 parlour games to play on Christmas Day
Christmas is the perfect occasion for a games marathon. It’s fun, you get to spend quality time together, and the whole family can get involved.
Christmas family games
If you don’t fancy sitting around the table playing a board game or card game like these, there are plenty of other fun games that all the family will love. Some don’t even need any equipment – just a group of enthusiastic players looking to have a laugh.
Historically called parlour games, these are indoor activities that don’t require much movement or equipment and were popular among the upper and middle classes as a way of passing the time in the Victorian era.
So if you want to get the teenagers off their phones and stop the grandparents from snoozing, take a look at our 10 favourite parlour games for all the family.
We’ve all heard of this classic game that’s fun for people of all ages. Write down some famous phrases, films, songs, books and TV shows on bits of paper that everyone will know.
Play in teams and pick one person to act out whatever’s on the bit of paper they choose without saying a word.
The other team members should try to guess what’s being acted out as quickly as possible. The actor can use clues like number of words, number of syllables and ‘sounds like’ to help their teammates. But remember, you’re not allowed to talk!
2. After Eight game
You’ll need a box of After Eights for this game. Everyone gets a chocolate, takes it out of the protective sleeve and places it on their forehead. The winner is simply the first one to get their chocolate down their face and into their mouth without using their hands.
3. Who am I?
One person writes the name of a famous person on a Post-It and sticks it to the forehead of another player without them seeing.
It’s the job of the player with the Post-It to ask questions to determine who they are (i.e. the name of the famous person). The other players can only answer yes or no.
4. Squeak Piggy Squeak
One player is selected to be the farmer and they should be blindfolded and given a cushion or pillow. Everyone else sits on a chair in a circle around the farmer. The blindfolded player should spin around a few times and find a lap to sit on with their cushion. They then ask the person whose lap they’re on to “squeak piggy, squeak”.
That player should make a piggy noise and the farmer has to guess the player who they’re sat on. If they make a correct guess, they get to swap places with the piggy. The other players should then move around and sit in a new seat, ready for the next round.
To play Fictionary, you’ll need a dictionary (or access to Google).
Player one picks an obscure word, and the other players must write down a made-up definition of that word. Player one then reads out each fake definition along with the real one, and the other players should vote for the definition they think is real.
Points are awarded for any fake submissions that receive a vote and players earn points for guessing the right answer. If no one guesses correctly, player one gets a point.
Create some bingo boards by simply drawing a grid and adding a random number to each square. Each player should have their own bingo board and a pen to mark off each number.
You don’t need a fancy bingo machine for this game. Simply write down numbers 1 to 99 (or whatever number you want to go up to) on bits of paper and then fold each bit of paper up and put them in a bowl. One person is the bingo caller and picks out a bit of paper to call out – the more festive and fun the bingo call is, the better! For instance, “Reindeer poo – number 2” or “Burnt turkey – number 30”.
The first player to get a line or full house is the winner.
7. Read My Lips
Based on the hilarious game from Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, pick a category – like food or countries – and write down 10 items in that category.
Play as teams with one person wearing headphones and listening to loud music, while another player mouths the items one at a time for the player to guess.
8. Ibble Dibble
If you’ve watched Season 4 of The Crown, you’ll be familiar with this game, which sees the Royal Family play this as a drinking game with Margaret Thatcher at Balmoral.
Each player is called an ibble-dibble. Start by going around the room and giving each ibble-dibble (player) a number, i.e. one ibble-dibble, two ibble-dibble, three ibble-dibble, and so on.
Next, take a used cork from a bottle of wine or Prosecco and light the end of it with a match or lighter, then blow it out so it’s blackened with soot but no longer hot to touch. The cork will be used to mark people’s faces with small black dots – known as dibble-ibbles.
Each player must take it in turns to introduce themselves, announce how many dibble-ibbles they have (which will be zero at the start of the game), and then choose another player to do the same.
For example: “Number one ibble-dibble with no dibble-ibbles, calling number three ibble-dibble with no dibble-ibbles.”
Player three will then do the same, and the game continues until someone messes up. If a player pauses, stutters, gets their dibbles and their ibbles the wrong way around, or calls the wrong number of dibble-ibbles that someone has on their face, they must take a drink (if you’re playing it as a drinking game) and get a black dot (dibble-ibble) on their face.
9. Wink Murder
This game works best with a large group of people – perfect if you’ve got extended family over.
Assign one person as the detective and then secretly appoint a murderer. This can be done by getting as many bits of paper as there are remaining players, mark one with an X and then fold them up and place in a bowl. Ask each player to pick a piece of paper out. The one who picks the marked paper is the murderer.
They must subtly wink at another player, causing them to drop dead. The detective should use their investigative skills to correctly identify the murderer. They get three chances.
10. Memory game
Get a large tray or shallow dish and place 20-30 random objects on it. These can just be everyday items you find around the house like a button, a paperclip, a coin, a stamp, a tea bag etc.
Then set a timer for one minute and get each player to memorise as many items as they can during that time.
Once the time is up, cover the tray over with a tea towel, or remove it from sight, and give each player a pen and paper. Then ask them to write down as many items as they can remember.
The winner is the person who can recall the most correct items from the tray.
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