Fun Christmas Party Games for Kids

by A. Elizabeth Freeman
Have a Secret Santa or White Elephant at your Christmas party.

Have a Secret Santa or White Elephant at your Christmas party.

Keep children entertained at your Christmas party by planning plenty of games and activities for them. Both grown-ups and children can participate in the games so that underage guests won't have to spend the party off by themselves. If you have a cookie swap or gift exchange, each guest will get to take something home to remember the party.

Gift Giving Games

Hold a Secret Santa at your holiday party. If you'll see all the guests before the party, have them pick a name from a hat. If not, tell everyone to bring a gift suitable for all ages. Keep the price limit on the gifts low, around $10 or $15, so that guests don't overspend. You can also turn the Secret Santa into a White Elephant, where everyone brings an item they own but don't want or a gag gift. Have each guest pick a number from a hat at the party to determine the order in which they can pick the gifts.

Classic Games with a Christmas Twist

Play "Pin the Tail on the Reindeer" or "Pin the Nose on Rudolph." Replace regular Bingo with Santa Bingo, where the players have to shout "Santa," after getting a row of numbers. Play musical chairs but use Christmas songs, instead. Group the chairs in a circle, using one fewer chair then the number of people playing. Have guests walk around the chairs while "Jingle Bells" plays. Once it stops, guests have to scramble to get a seat. The guest left standing becomes the Grinch. Keep playing the game until only one guest is not a Grinch.

Fun with Candy Canes

Play "Pass the Candy Cane." Divide children into two teams, and give every child a candy cane. Tell them to hold it between their fingers, holding the hook upside down. Have them form two straight lines. Hook a candy cane on the first child in each line's cane and instruct them to pass the cane down the line. The team that makes it to the end of the line without dropping the cane wins. You can also use the candy canes as fish hooks. Fill two buckets with toys and candy. Players will need to use a candy cane to try and hook the objects and lift them from the bucket.

Wrapping Paper Games

Have a relay race to see which team can unwrap the most presents in the shortest amount of time. Wrap several empty cereal boxes and divide them into two piles. Have two teams line up. The first person in each line runs to the pile of boxes, grabs one, unwraps it and discards the paper. The paper needs to land in the trash can. The first person then runs back to his team and passes the unwrapped to the next player. The player runs, unwraps a box and runs back. The game continues until no boxes remain. Teams can also have a contest to see who can wrap up a teammate as a present the fastest.

Christmas Cookie Time

Instead of a gift exchange, consider holding a cookie swap at your party. Have children bring two dozen of their favorite Christmas cookies, preferably homemade. Set each plate of cookies on the table and let guests select from each plate. Provide plates and cellophane to wrap the cookies in. You can also blindfold each child and feed them a cookie, asking them to identify what type of cookie it is. Before you do so, make sure you are aware of any allergies guests may have.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, A. Elizabeth Freeman has been writing professionally since 2007, when she started writing theater reviews for and Theater Talk's New Theater Corps blog. Since then, she has written for Phillyist, TheNest, ModernMom and "Rhode Island Home and Design" magazine, among others. Freeman has an Master of Fine Arts in dramaturgy/theater criticism from CUNY/Brooklyn College.

Photo Credits

  • christmas present image by William Berry from