Are you in charge of the Christmas party this year and want to spice it up a little? An easy way to do that is with some fun party games to break the ice and get everyone mingling. Whether you’re hosting the Christmas bash in the office or at a hired venue these exciting games will definitely have attendees on the floor laughing, and generally having a good time.
Here is a list of 35 enjoyable office Christmas party game ideas to keep your team entertained.
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Gift exchange games
We all know that Secret Santa is a popular choice in the workplace, but if you want to spruce it up a bit, get creative with the following games:
1. White elephant
This is a favorite gift-giving game; it’s essentially a livelier version of Secret Santa. How it works is really simple; everyone brings a wrapped gift (obviously), and they are all placed together. You can draw names from a hat to decide who will go first.
The first player chooses a gift and opens it. The following person can either choose a gift from the table or steal the gift from the individual before. This continues down the line until everyone ends up with a present. Those who were stolen from go back to pick up a new gift, which can’t be taken.
Here are some extra rules you can incorporate:
Three swaps and you’re out: If you steal a present three times during the game, you are out of the game and can no longer steal a gift.
Three swaps and the gift is out: If a present gets stolen three times, it’s out of the game and the person who holds it gets to walk away with it.
No extra turn/no extra swapping: Some people don’t allow the first player to swap at the end. Or, if they do, the first person simply gets to swap once with no additional swapping allowed.
2. Dice exchange
This present swap is an interesting one and can easily accommodate a large group of people. Everyone brings a gift that is suitable for any receiver. Once the game begins, they hold on to the present they have brought with them.
Everyone sits in a circle (or groups if there are many people) and dice are handed out. Not every person gets one; every few are handed a die, and they are then allowed to roll the die. A background song plays (preferably a Christmas classic). If the person with the die gets a 3, they get to trade the gift they brought with someone else. Whether they get a gift or not, they pass the die on to the next person, then it continues around the circle.
This continues until the song ends and everyone keeps the present that has landed in front of them.
3. The numbers game
As everyone arrives, take their gifts and mark a number on them. Also, give them a piece of paper with the same number on it and ask them to write down an unusual fact about themselves. That paper then goes into a hat.
Once the time comes for gifting, the host will pull a piece of paper from the hat and read out the fact, but not the number. Attendees then have to guess who the fact is about. The first person to get it right gets that present and are out of the game for the rest of the time.
The game continues until everyone has a present in hand. This one is a lot of fun, and you can get people participating pretty quickly. The facts that come up will have partygoers in hysterics.
4. Whose gift
This is a great way to make a stuffy situation an entertaining one. Get all the wrapped gifts and place them in a central location. You can decide on the order of the participants. The first person gets their present, opens it, and the games begin. That person has to guess who brought the gift. If they get it wrong (and this will happen a lot) they have to sing a song — or do something equally embarrassing.
Watching everyone make a fool out of themselves will make the atmosphere light and fun, and you’ll be on the way to an enjoyable Christmas party.
5. Holiday trivia
Unlike your usual trivia, this one is played with presents (Yay!). The host will have drawn up some trivia questions beforehand, and each will be associated with a gift. The host will show the first present and ask a question. The players raise their hands if they know the answer. The host calls on them and whoever gets it right first gets the present.
Once the first person has received their gift, it moves on to the next until each person has a gift. This one will get adrenaline pumping amongst the competitive employees and will get everyone excited for the party.
For small groups
It can be hard thinking of party ideas for a small group; but don’t worry, we have it under control! These engaging games should get everyone interacting and enjoying themselves in no time.
6. Laughter challenge
Get everyone together, and the first person should begin laughing like Santa (Ho ho ho!). This person can crack a joke to make his audience laugh. Once someone laughs, they then take over. The idea is that the last person who manages to resist temptation and laugh wins a prize. Like any office party, make the prize exciting to ensure everyone participates.
Let the hidden drawing talents creep out with this funny game. Blindfold each person and ask them to draw an item or person related to Christmas within a two-minute timeframe. The other team members need to guess what they are drawing. Like standard Pictionary, the team that gets it correct the fastest wins.
8. Human Christmas tree
What’s more exciting than turning into a human Christmas tree? For this one, have some decorations laid out on the table for each team. One person should volunteer to be the tree and are given two minutes to turn into the most fabulous tree. The team with the best tree wins a prize.
9. Candy cane game
You will need a small stocking, a heap of candy canes, chopsticks and a large bowl. The aim of the game is to take candy canes out of the bowl with chopsticks placed in the player’s mouth. The player who gets the most candy canes in the stocking wins! Sounds easy, right?
10. Marshmallow mouth
Remember trying to catch an M&M in your mouth? You can turn back time with these marshmallow slingers. Cut the bottom out of a paper cup and wrap the bottom of a balloon to replace it.
To play the game, divide the group into pairs, give one player a marshmallow slinger and the other a bowl of mini marshmallows. The first player to shoot five marshmallows into their teammate’s mouth wins.
11. People bingo
Get to know your attendees by playing a game where mingling is the only way to win. To carry out this game, you must create a list of 10–15 traits or activities and give every participant the same list.
Participants have to walk around the room and find other members who agree with items on the list and check them off. The winner is the person who fills in their list the fastest with a different employee name for each item.
12. Christmas memory game
This one is a live version of spot the difference. Put Christmas items on a tray and give people one minute to memorize the items. Take the tray away and have them write as many down as they can remember in 30 seconds.
13. Gift wrapping challenge
See how well your colleagues can work with each other by tasking them with wrapping a gift together with only one hand each. The team that does it in the shortest amount of time wins.
14. Toilet paper snowman
Gather everyone into pairs. The aim of the game is for the pairs to work together and wrap the quickest snowman using loo roll — it also teaches them important teamwork skills.
15. Holiday two truths and a lie
A great icebreaker game; players will say three of the funniest Christmas presents they’ve ever received — two should be true and one made up. As the players go round the room, you’ll need to write down what you believe is true or false. The person with the most correct answers wins.
16. Guess who
As soon as guests start pouring in for the party, stick a post-it note on their back with the name of a celebrity, politician or cartoon character. Others talking to the person must talk to them as if they were who their note says. The person to discover who they are first wins a prize at the end of the night. To make it exciting, the prize could be a stay at a fancy hotel for two.
17. Jingle bell shake
The jingle bell shake is an ideal game for adults at Christmas. So, how do you do the shake? Tie an empty tissue box around the player’s back (poke two holes on opposite ends and weave a rope or ribbon through it, so it acts as a belt).
Place 10 small jingle bells in the box, start the music for a minute, where the player must dance out as many bells from the box as they can.
18. Reindeer antlers
This game is a top icebreaker as it gets people looking ridiculous with a pair of tights on their head. To play the game, you divide players into teams of three and provide them with a pair of tights (with the toes cut off), 15 balloons and two pieces of ribbon. One person should wear the tights on their head while the others blow up the balloons and stuff them in the legs of the tights.
You can offer fun prizes for the:
- one who finishes first
- tallest standing (most upright)
19. Carol singing in Paris
Before the party, write down names of Christmas songs on slips of paper (two for each song). Then put as many slips as there are people in a bag (there needs to be an even number for this game). Each person will draw a slip and begin humming the song (everyone will start humming at the same time).
Each person has to find the other person who is humming the same song as they are. Once they locate this person, they hold hands and start singing the song out loud. The first ones to do this are the winners! This is not only funny, with people singing at the top of their lungs, but is a great team-bonding game.
20. Christmas card couples
To make this game work, gather old Christmas cards and cut the illustrated cover in half until you have as many card halves as guests. Have each attendee select a card-half from the basket. Once they are armed with their card, they’ll need to locate their other half. The first three couples that match win. Prizes could include a day in lieu, a spa voucher or some booze.
21. Christmas balloon burst
Divide the group into two teams, one with red balloons tied to their ankles, and one with green balloons. The team members need to try to pop other people’s balloons. When a player’s balloons are popped, he or she is out of the game. The last team with one or more unpopped balloons wins.
22. Holiday charades
Play this holiday-themed classic by using names of carols and Christmas movies. Break into teams and tally points to make it a competition.
23. Sticker stalkers
Give all guests a page with 10 stickers. The object of the game is to get rid of the stickers by sticking them on other people; they can only put one sticker per person. If a player gets caught, they must take their sticker back. They must also take a sticker from the person who caught them, but they can try to give these stickers back later in the game. The first person to get rid of all 10 of their original stickers is the winner.
If someone falsely accuses you of “stickering” them, you can automatically put one of your stickers on that person.
24. Holiday food tasting
Employees blindly sample an assortment of edibles related to the season. The person who correctly identifies the most items wins. When playing this game, ensure vegetarians don’t eat any meat — it could leave a bitter taste for all involved.
25. Fun employee awards
What’s an office party without some kind of silly awards? Create awards or present gag gifts for the person who makes the best coffee or the staff member who is always late.
26. Blind Christmas tree ripping
Divide yourselves into two groups and have a person from each team compete with an opponent. Both people need to be blindfolded and given a sheet of green wrapping paper, out of which they’ll aim to rip a shape that resembles a Christmas tree.
Whoever manages to rip the most “perfect-looking” paper Christmas tree gets a point. The team with the most points wins!
If you have no way of blindfolding yourselves, try playing this game while holding the pieces of paper behind your backs.
27. Penguin waddle
For this game, you’ll need to grab a few balloons and clear out some space in the office. The aim is simple: a person from each team waddles like a penguin to the other end of the room with a balloon between their knees. Then they must waddle back and pass the balloon to the next person in line who repeats the process. The first team to finish wins!
To add a layer of difficulty, when someone drops their balloon, they need to go back to the start and try again.
28. Ornament on a spoon
Create a sort of obstacle course using your work desks and office chairs. Then, divide yourselves into two teams. A person from each team needs to walk around the obstacle course and return to the beginning, all the while balancing an ornament on a spoon in their hand. If they drop the ornament, they need to go back to the start.
Upon returning, they hand over the spoon and ornament to their teammate, who has to follow the same steps.
To avoid ending up with potentially dangerous shards all over the floor, play this relay race game only if you have shatterproof Christmas ornaments!
For virtual office parties
If your company is working remotely, there are still ways to bring the Christmas spirit to the (virtual) office. Whether they’ll be through Skype or Zoom, these virtual game ideas will bring on the festivities for any team:
29. Christmas scavenger hunt
This simple but super fun game can be played in 15 minutes within the comfort of your own home. Create a list of holiday-themed items or prompts and let your team go on a merry scavenger hunt during the work Christmas party.
To play, someone needs to announce one of the items on the list and whoever brings it back first, earns a point. This can be anything fun from a childhood Christmas photo, a Christmas stocking or your most favorite gift of all time. Get the player to share a story about the object so they can earn more points and use a timer to make things more fun!
30. Festive tree decorating
Decorating the Christmas tree is usually a seasonal task in the office. If you can’t do it as a team, do it separately and turn it into a contest! This can be a funny and festive game for your remote team! Get your employees to decorate their own mini-Christmas trees and reward the best one with a prize — a virtual one, of course.
Get them to add baubles, tinsel and even lights whilst getting the conversations going as they busy themselves decorating. Ideally, you’d want to send your staff members a mini tree and ornament kits in advance or give them the cash to purchase one themselves!
31. Christmas karaoke
What’s a party without karaoke? Your team may be virtual, but there are still ways to sing a good old Christmas carol together and have a laugh. Turn your karaoke party into a game by having team members belt out their favorite holiday songs, whether it’s “Jingle Bells” or “White Christmas”.
Gather a Christmas carol playlist, use a programme like Watch2Gether to synchronize your video stream and find lyric videos on YouTube to get the ultimate virtual karaoke session. The person with the best voice or funniest performance wins!
32. Guess the gift
One of the most enjoyable office Christmas party game ideas to get into the spirit! Snooping through Christmas gifts is an annual tradition for some, so we’ve found the perfect way to do it without getting in trouble.
Each employee has to gift wrap an item deceptively and display it on the screen for their virtual team to see. Everyone then has to guess what the “gift” is by its shape and sound. Team members will be throwing in their wildest guesses, making it a fun and sociable party as though you were all in the room together.
33. Virtual secret Santa
Secret Santa is a popular choice in the virtual workplace, too! While it may seem impossible, it’s actually feasible and just as festive as the real game. Use a tool like Draw Names to arrange the office game and have each team member pick a name from the virtual hat. Everyone will gift their designated colleague with a fun present.
Of course, you can’t do this in-person, so get everyone to deliver their gifts to the person’s home. The team can open their presents during the virtual get-together to get the party going.
34. Christmas costume contest
This one is pretty self-explanatory, yet incredibly fun! Set a time and date, and have your team dress up in their most creative, festive outfit (or outrageously ugly Christmas sweater). Then hold a video conference where everyone gets to reveal their outfit and vote for their favorite ones in the group.
You could decide on some winner categories beforehand, like “best DIY costume” and “funniest outfit”. The winners could receive a little prize at the end.
35. Christmas “this or that”
Have your team try this game this holiday season! Arrange a video conference and ask everyone to write down a few Christmas-themed “this or that” questions. For example, “snowmen or elves?” and “mulled wine or hot chocolate?”. Then read them out loud for everyone to answer. This is a great way to strengthen the bond with coworkers (and watch them engage in lengthy debates over silly things like pudding).
If you get stuck for ideas, you can find plenty of Christmassy “this or that” questions online. What’s more, Jolly Festive explains how you can do a “this or that” knock-out challenge to reveal your team’s favorite thing about Christmas.
A rule to remember when organizing any staff party is to ensure there’s plenty of food and alcohol. If you’ve decided to arrange it in-house, you’ve got a larger budget to splash out on awesome prizes to make these office party games hard to forget.
Have you ever played any of these Christmas games? Let us know in the comments section below!
Originally published 10 December 2020. Contains contributions by Angela Stephanou and Electra Michaelidou.