Hello! Ed Elf here. How about some fun and games? Party games are fun any time of year, but they really come into their own at Christmas when there are lots of people gathering together to celebrate. Here are a few you might like to try.
Pass the Parcel
There’s a present wrapped in many layers of wrapping paper. If you’re very lucky, the grown-up in charge of the game will put a sweet or small chocolate bar in each layer of wrapping so that every round there’s a mini-winner. Come on responsible adults…don’t be mean! Sit around in a circle and, when the music starts, pass the parcel round from friend to friend. When the music stops, the one left holding the parcel unwraps one layer of paper. The one who opens the last piece of wrapping keeps the gift. You can now buy this game in the form of sprouts, puddings and fat Santas.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
You will need a big picture of an animal without a tail. It doesn’t have to be a donkey. Pick your favourite. Make a tail out of some cloth, cardboard or string and attach Blu-tack to one end. You and your friends will take turns to wear a blindfold and try to attach the tail as close to the animal’s bum as possible. Whoever gets closest is the winner. An alternative is: Pin the Nose on Rudolph. The nose can be made from a small blob of red Play-Doh or a scrunched up piece of red tissue paper with Blu-tack attached.
Have you ever tried eating a sugared doughnut without licking your lips? It is so hard to do. In this game, a row of doughnuts (the ones with holes in the middle) is hung with string from a washing line or length of string. You have to try to eat the dangling doughnut without using your hands or licking your lips. Anyone who licks his or her lips is out. The last one standing is the winner – although you all get to eat doughnuts so there can be no losers here. Yum!
Memory Tray Game
Get the grown-ups to put some interesting objects on a tray. Things like a lipstick, a bracelet and small pieces of fruit are ideal. Maybe 10 to 15 things in all. You and your friends will be given 30 seconds to remember what is on the tray before it is covered up with a cloth. You’ll now each have a paper and pencil to write down as many of the objects as you can remember. Hand in your papers to see who has remembered the most. If there is a tie of scores, ask the grown-up in charge to remove one item from the tray and take away the cloth. The first person to guess what object is missing will be the winner.
The Humming Game
This is best played in teams or maybe pairs. Ask a grown-up to write names of your favourite Christmas songs on small pieces of paper. Fold them up and put them in a bowl. One person then has to pick out a piece of paper, read the song title and hum the tune to his/her teammates. Absolutely no singing aloud! You have one minute to hum and guess as many tunes as you can. The team members with the most points at the end of the competition are the humming champions.
Dance away with your friends to some of your favourite tunes. When the music is stopped by the adult in charge, you have to stay as still as possible – like a statue. The first person to move is out of the game. The last one left standing perfectly still is the winner. If you’re a fidget, like me, this could be a tricky one for you. But hey, it’s always fun to dance.
This is a great game at Halloween, but there’s no reason why you can’t play it at Christmas too. Put some rosy red apples in a bowl of shallow water, then take it in turns to try to grab an apple with your teeth. Whoever does it quickest is the winner. Be prepared to get your face wet.
Chinese Whispers with Actions
Ask the grown-up in charge to give you an action to perform. It can be something simple like pretending to wash a car or sweeping the floor. This has to be kept secret from everyone else. You go into a separate room and perform the action for one of your friends (let’s call them George for the fun of it), while the others wait in a room next door. One more friend is invited to join you (let’s call this one Henry) and they see the action performed by George. Henry then performs the action for the next friend in the room – and so on. The last person invited into the room has to guess what the original action was. Trust me when I say the performance of the last action will look nothing like the first – and it is hilariously funny to see the action change from friend to friend.
Elf Helper: There is one game I won’t be recommending. I have to think of Elf and safety, you know. But you might be interested to hear about it. This is a really old game, often played on Christmas Eve. It’s called Snap-dragon. A bowl of brandy (that’s dirty booze) with raisins in it was set alight. The idea was to try to pluck the raisins out of the bowl without getting burnt. Were they all barking mad or what? I quite value my skin and hair, thank you very much.