Did you know that the myth of Santa Claus is based on the Turkish monk St. Nicholas? Rather than riding in a flying sled and climbing down chimneys, St. Nicholas donated his large inheritance and spent the rest of his life helping those less fortunate than him.
In addition to being associated with generosity and caring, Christmas has become a time when families can get together to catch up and enjoy each other’s loving company.
Are you wondering how you can savor the wintry weather for one of the best Christmases ever? Keep reading to learn all about 12 outdoor games you can play with loved ones during your Christmas celebration.
1. A Snowman Competition
When it comes to Christmas, snowmen are as iconic as Santa Claus. If you have enough snowfall, then you can host an outdoor snowman creation competition. You can go with the classic look that features coal buttons, a carrot nose, and more, or you can mix things up.
An awesome twist to a snowman competition would be to create a specific character, such as Santa Claus, Mr. Scrooge, or even a fun pop-culture character like a Marvel Superhero. You can vote on it so that your guests feel like they’re contributing. Whatever character you choose, you’ll need to make sure you have the proper materials.
You could even give each person or team free rein to make whatever kind of snowman they can think up. In that case, you should have a wide range of different items available, from old clothing to various vegetables or fruit pieces. Afterward, you should have several judges decide which one is the most creative or accomplished. You can even pin award ribbons on the snowmen’s chests.
Don’t forget to have a photoshoot with all of the snowy creations so that you’ll keep these wonderful Christmas memories for a lifetime.
2. Reindeer Antler Ring Toss
Most people are familiar with the classic ring toss game, but you’ve probably never played reindeer antler ring toss. For this game, you will need at least one headband of reindeer antlers that everyone can share, or you can purchase multiple ones so that people can play at the same time. You’ll also need a bunch of plastic, light-weight rings to toss at the antlers.
You can put a mark in the dirt or spray paint a line on the grass so each person knows where to stand. There should be at least a ten-foot distance, or longer if you want it to be really challenging. To win the game, each team of two people, thrower and catcher, has to get as many rings on the antlers as possible within a certain time frame. A smaller window of time, such as 60 seconds, will amp up the excitement.
The person wearing the reindeer antler headband shouldn’t move from their spot, but they can move their head or lean forward in order to better catch the rings. Of course, this could also work against them if they’re not synced up with the partner who’s throwing the rings.
The winning team can be given a neat gift, such as a Christmas mug, baked goods, a small Christmas tree plant, or anything else you can think of. You can even give them the antler headband too as a funny souvenir to look back on.
3. Sled Bowling
If you have a hill and a generous amount of snow where you live, then you can play one of the most exciting Christmas games of all time. Almost everyone loves bowling, but sled bowling takes things to a whole new level.
Aside from a sturdy sled, you’ll also need large but soft bowling pins. You can also use different objects as pins too, such as empty trash bins or anything else that comes to mind. Just be sure that what you use for pins is soft enough so that no one gets hurt when they knock into it.
Don’t forget to make sure that every player wears a helmet. It would also be a good idea to wear knee pads and elbow pads. Younger kids can ride in the lap of a parent for extra protection. It’s also best to place the pins as far away from trees as possible.
You’ll need someone to keep track of everyone’s score and then the winner can be given a gold trophy in the shape of a sled.
4. Make Your Own Christmas Gameboards
Pretty much everyone has played Monopoly, Life, Sorry, Scrabble, and other popular board games. Year after year, the same board games can get, well, boring.
This year, you can encourage everyone’s creativity by pairing people up and allowing them to make their very own board game from scratch. For this hands-on activity, you’ll need to provide your guests with sizeable pieces of cardboard, colored pencils, magic markers, crayons, and more. You can even have a big box of miscellaneous toys, like army men or Hot Wheels cars, that could be used as pieces for a board game.
As if arts and crafts weren’t fun enough, after everyone finishes their creations, you can have a wild time trying each board game. To ensure that everyone has a turn, you can set a time limit of 10 minutes, for example, until it’s time to switch to another table and a new game. You should also include a piece of paper with each game so the creators can clearly write out the instructions on how to play.
To add extra competition to this fun-filled activity, you can also have a vote for the best board game. After the festivities, your loved ones will be able to take the board games home so they can create more happy memories during the new year and beyond.
5. Christmas Family Feud
While some classic games can get old after a while, Family Feud offers endless and timeless fun. To get into the spirit of the holiday season, you can make the topics all about Christmas trivia. Instead of struggling with making your own questions and answers for the game, you can save time and easily download a pre-made PDF.
For this game, you’ll need to divide your family into two groups. Afterward, one person from each team will have to face off at a time. The host will read a question and one of the two feuding family members will have to buzz in as quickly as possible before the other does.
Whoever buzzes in first will get the chance to answer the question, such as “What is a role someone might play in a Christmas pageant?” They will have the opportunity to reveal all of the correct answers to the question unless they receive three strikes. For example, they might guess a “wise man” or “Mary, mother of Jesus.” If someone gets three strikes, however, then the opportunity switches to the other team.
Although, if the other team guesses wrongly, the point goes to the original team. The process should be repeated until all questions are answered. Afterward, the team with the most points wins. It would be a fun idea to make custom t-shirts with Christmas decorations and a text saying, “I Feuded With My Family and Won!”
6. Ugly Sweater Decorating Contest
This arts and craft activity is sure to make your loved one’s ribs hurt from so much laughing. You’ll have to gather as many plain sweaters as you can if you’re expecting a big turnout, or you can split people up into small teams so that they can work together on their monstrous clothing creations. A thrift shop or a Goodwill is sure to have a bunch of fairly inexpensive sweaters that you can choose from ahead of time.
In addition to the sweaters, you’ll need a wide range of materials that your loved ones can use to decorate with, such as colored fuzzballs, glitter, fabric markers, stencils, tiny bells, fringe, and other stuff. The more scrap, the better! To add an exciting urgency to the contest, you can put a time limit on how long people can spend on their ugly sweaters.
After all of the sweaters are created, then it’s time for the eyesore fashion show. If you really want to get into the spirit of the contest, you can make a little catwalk area, as well as a table for judges. For extra laughs, the judges can hold up numbers when rating each sweater, but the twist is that the lower the number, the better the score.
An added bonus to this fun activity is that family members will have a humorous souvenir they can take home so that they’ll always remember this year’s awesome Christmas celebration.
7. Snowball Tag
An old-fashioned snowball fight might be too chaotic for an outdoor Christmas game, but snowball tag could be just the thing to get everyone’s blood pumping. If you have enough snow, then you can have one person who is ‘it’ and they’ll have to tag someone else. Instead of using their hands, they’ll have to make a snowball and have good enough aim to tag another player.
It’s important to make sure the snow that’s being used isn’t too hard or has a rock hidden inside of it, for instance. If you don’t have snow or want to be extra safe with this game, then you can use a soft white ball instead. Either way, this awesome activity is like a game of dodgeball, except it’s off the court!
If your backyard isn’t large enough, you could take this game to a park or a nearby part of the woods. After several rounds, you’ll want to reward the victors with extra marshmallows in their hot cup of cocoa.
8. Campfire Story Time
While the weather might be cold, there’s nothing like a cozy campfire and huddling up with loved ones to warm the body and soul. Not only can you roast marshmallows over the fire, but it’s also the perfect time to tell stories in the way our ancient ancestors did. It’s a simple yet wholesome activity during a time when complex technology has become so ingrained in our lives.
To get in the spirit of the holidays, you can read aloud Christmas stories for all to enjoy. Aside from the all-time English classic, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, there are plenty of shorter stories to choose from as well.
Here’s a range of wonderful suggestions that are family-friendly:
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
- The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern
- The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Lucy Wheelock
- The Boy With the Box By Mary Griggs Van Voorhis
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May
- The Elves and the Shoemaker by the Brothers Grimm
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe by Elizabeth Harrison
- ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
- TheLittleMatchgirl by Hans Christian Andersen
You can nominate the best storyteller to recite them or take turns by passing the books around. The wintry atmosphere will truly heighten the experience. Plus, whenever your family hears about any of these stories in the future, they’ll always remember these precious moments during Christmas.
9. Open Presents Race (With Oven Mitts)
Opening presents is one of the most exciting things to do on Christmas. If you want to turn opening presents into its own hilarious game, then you’ll need to purchase enough oven mitts for your guests. They’re a small investment for a lot of entertainment!
While it’s fairly easy to open up a present with your hands, it’s a lot harder and a lot funnier trying to open a present when you’re wearing oven mitts. To up the stakes, you can have two or more people compete against each other to see who can open up their gift first despite the handicap.
For any tricksters who figure out ways to open the gifts quickly with their mitts, you can experiment with other silly rules like switching to one hand only or opening the gifts behind their backs.
If you really want to shake things up at this year’s Christmas celebration, then you can give the winner of the race the ability to trade their gift with one of the slowpokes. Either way, don’t forget to record this outdoor Christmas game so that you can take the laughs with you far into the future.
10. Who Am I?
Who Am I? is a simple game on the surface, but it can really set the stage for a ton of laughs. All you’ll need for this activity is a set of index cards and some tape so that the cards will be able to stick to the players’ foreheads.
Before your Christmas event, you’ll want to write the names of holiday-related characters on each index card, such as Rudolph, Mrs. Claus, Santa’s elf, Jack Frost, Mr. Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and more. After everyone has their card stuck to their forehead (no peeking!), it’ll be up to them to talk with other players and get hints about who their character might be.
You can make the game more challenging by giving each player a limited amount of guesses before they’re out. People who guess their character can continue to help other players guess. For further fun, you can play multiple rounds and even have the winners face off with each other by giving them new character index cards.
In addition to bragging rights, the final winner can be given a Christmas gift basket with a bunch of goodies, such as candy canes, seasonal-scented candles, Christmas tree cookies, and more.
11. Pin the Heart on the Grinch
Lots of people have pinned a tail on a donkey, but how many hearts have you pinned on a Grinch? As the iconic Dr. Seuss story goes, the Grinch has a notoriously tiny heart. With this new spin on a classic game, your friends and family can do their best to give the Grinch a heart where he needs it most.
This is a game you can buy for a reasonable price or you can make it yourself. If you want to make it from scratch, you’ll either need an extra-long sheet of construction paper or tall poster board. From there, you’ll need to trace a figure of the Grinch, then use scissors or an X-Acto knife to cut the image out. You might find it easier to draw the details of the Grinch before cutting him out, but it’s whatever you prefer.
You can use a similar method to make a bunch of red hearts. When your loved ones actually play the game, you’ll need to put sticky putty or tape on the back of the hearts so that they can stick to the Grinch. Every player should be blindfolded and spun around before they try to pin the heart to the marked spot on the Grinch.
Whoever gets closest to the right place should be given a big red heart-shaped lollipop.
12. Gingerbread House Baking and Decorating
Gingerbread houses not only look beautiful and festive, but they also taste delicious. This Christmas, why not have a gingerbread house baking and decorating contest? If kids are involved in the baking, make sure there is adult supervision.
If you’d rather have all of the festivities outside, then you should make the gingerbread ahead of time. You’ll need plenty of materials that guests can use to decorate their houses. Aside from the frosting which will act as a glue, you should get candy canes, gumdrops, peppermints, chocolate pretzels, Hershey kisses, and any other sweets you can think of. The more variety you have, the more opportunity guests will have to be creative and unique with their decorations.
Afterward, you can have judges decided which houses are the best ones. If the gingerbread was baked fresh by the guests too, then you can judge for taste as well as aesthetic. After the winners are decided, everyone can celebrate by feasting on their culinary creations.
Now You Can Get Ready to Play Christmas Games With Your Loved Ones
With this awesome guide on 12 of the best outdoor Christmas games, you can make sure that this year’s festivities are the most memorable yet.
At Greetings Island, our goal is to make party planning easy, which is why we have a huge selection of eye-catching invitations and cards. Whether you’re looking for a Christmas invitation that’s illustrated or a card that can feature a beloved photo of your family, we’re sure to have the perfect design for you.