10 Traditional Christmas Games in the UK For All The Family

Christmas is almost upon us and we’re busy preparing for the big day!

Of course, that also means your children are brimming with excitement, ready for Santa to pay a visit on Christmas Eve. Have they been good or have they been bad? Are they on the good list or the naughty list?

Who knows!

Part and parcel of the Christmas fun in most UK households is playing games as a family. This pulls everyone together, creates a real festive spirit and also ensures that Christmas is a fun-filled time to remember. It’s often the memories of these times which we pull to the front of our minds in many years to come, and if you want your children to look back on their family Christmases with fondness, thinking of a few traditional games to play as a family, perhaps on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, is a great idea. 

There are countless traditional Christmas games that are played all over the country and most have a slight spin on them from household to household. You can twist any game to suit your family, whether you have small children or teenagers, but the whole point is that you’re playing together and enjoying the time.

If you’re a little short on inspiration, check out these ten traditional Christmas games for all the family this coming festive season. 

Simon/Santa Says, Christmas Style

This festive twist on the regular Simon says is a great way for the family to play together and have plenty of laughs! This is a good choice for families with smaller children, as the instructions aren’t too difficult and it also teaches about hand-eye coordination and following instructions too. 

Throw in a festive twist by getting everyone to wear Santa hats and make sure the instructions aren’t from Simon, but from Santa instead!

Christmas Charades 

Charades is a game played across the world at any time of the year, but in the UK many families twist it to a Christmas theme and play as a whole family. If you’ve never played charades before, you can play in teams or individually, but if there are smaller children playing it might be best to pair up with an adult so they get a fair shot at winning too!

You then act out a phrase or thing and everyone has to guess. The first one to get it right wins a prize – maybe a mince pie!

Traditional Board Games

We tend to focus so much on the electronic side of things these days, with iPads and tablets being all the rage, but good, old fashioned board games are something everyone can enjoy at Christmas time especially. Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly, Operation, you name it, everyone will love it!

Depending on the age of the children in your house depends on the type of boardgames you can play, but younger children will enjoy things like Snakes and Ladders, whilst older children will enjoy a good, competitive game of Monopoly. You can also buy themed Monopoly games these days, which is a good idea if you have fan of Harry Potter, Disney, or one of the other available themes. 

Festive Hide And Seek

Okay, hide and seek might not be the most festive of games, but you can give it a slight twist and make it festive by making everyone dress up in festive garments, perhaps as an elf, Mrs Santa or Santa himself! 

Young children will love this game and it’s also the ideal way to help them burn off some steam before bed on Christmas Eve. With any luck, they’ll sleep until a decent time and everyone will be able to get a good night’s rest before the big day!

Guess Who/Who Am I? 

You can either play the board game version of Guess Who or you can keep it old school and use a sticky note and a pen! This is one of the most traditional games played in the UK no matter what the time of year, but remember if you’re playing with children that you choose people they are going to know too! 

In this case, you stick a piece of paper on someone’s forehead and write the name of a person. They then have to ask you questions and try and guess who they are. 

Name That Tune

You can easily give this traditional game a Christmas twist by playing Name that Carol instead, or simply Name That Christmas Song. 

Choose a famous song with a Christmas twist which the children are going to know and then someone has to hum it. You then have to guess what the song is and the winners grab themselves a prize. 


Another game that’s not particularly Christmassy per se, but it’s certainly a great, fun game for the family and one which the children can get involved in too. All you need is a deck of cards, give it a shuffle and then you deal one at a time. If two cards come out simultaneously which are the same deck, or if you’re using a picture deck, the same images, the first one to slap their hand down over it and shout “snap” is the winner.

Kids love this game because it gets quite competitive and frenetic and it’s one for all the family. You can even try and find a Christmas deck of cards for this very purpose. 

Truth or Dare, Christmas Style

Whilst Truth or Dare has long been a game for adults to play after a few drinks, there’s no reason why you can’t make it family-friendly and mix in a few mince pies and other treats instead! A great way to pull everyone together, create some laughs, and the kids will love it because it will make them feel especially grown up. 

Christmas What’s in The Bag?

This one will take a little preparation as you’ll need some brown paper bags and a few Christmas goodies or objects. You could have a Santa hat, perhaps a carrot from the snowman’s nose, or something which basically screams Christmas. You then place a blindfold on the person doing the guessing and they have to use their hands to guess what the item is. 

Pin The Tail or Nose on Rudolph 

Rather than the regular ‘Pin The Tail on The Donkey’, you can pin the tail or the nose on Rudolph or put the nose on the snowman! Basically twist the traditional game to add in a Christmas theme. Winners grab themselves a prize and the kids will love it because it’s fun, it brings everyone together and it’s active too, so as before, they’ll burn off some steam before bed!

Christmas Trivia

A little like the pub quiz, but not in a pub and completely about Christmas, this is a great way to help your kids learn about Christmas and the real reason for celebrations taking place. Team children up with adults and ask questions about Christmas. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins a prize, and again, it’s super competitive so the kids will love it and learn something at the same time. 

Playing games together as a family is something you should be doing all year around, because it fosters that family spirit and helps pull everyone together. However, the Christmas period is the ideal time to start!

There are countless different traditional games you can play, but many of them are regular games with a festive twist. You can even make up your own game, but whatever you do, make sure it avoids the use of the TV, tablet, laptop or iPad. 

Getting children to think, use their creativity and move around is a good way to help them develop and learn something new, whilst also helping them to burn off some energy in the hours before Santa arrives!

If you’re playing games on Christmas Day, it’s also a good way to make memories that will last for a lifetime and again, it will certainly exhaust your children so that they get a good night’s sleep when they go to bed for the night. 

Most games require little or no preparation, however you might like to head online and download some resources, such as questions you can ask in a Christmas trivia game, or a big image of Rudolph which you can pin the nose on. It’s not hard at this time of year to find countless resources and most of them can be downloaded for free.

Remember to throw in some glasses of milk, mince pies, cookies and other Christmas treats to keep everything super-festive and fun. 

In terms of creating long-lasting memories, Christmas is the ideal time to do it. If you look back on your childhood, it’s likely to be Christmas which makes an appearance more times than anything else in your memory bank. Help your children to remember it in the same wonderful way.

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