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5 Fun Family Games You Will Love To Play Over The Holidays

It is officially the most wonderful time of the year, Her Campus Family! No matter what you celebrate, I want to extend the sincerest happy holidays to you. We almost made it through 2022, and over the next few weeks, many of us, including myself will be visiting our families. One of my favorite things about seeing my parents and my extended family over the holidays is the games we play. With the exception of past COVID years, each holiday season, my family and I play fun games together during our gatherings. They make us laugh and create some really awesome memories. If you are seeing your family soon and trying to think about what to do after you make it through the interrogation stage where everyone asks you about school, career, love life, etc., here are 5 fun games to play with your family this holiday season:

White Elephant

This game is also known as “Dirty Santa,” but I prefer “White Elephant.” This game takes a little bit of planning, but the rules are pretty simple. Before your family meets up, send a message out that everyone needs to bring a gift of their choice. The item can be a gag gift or actually something fun and usable. Make sure to set a price limit. Anywhere between $10-$25 dollars works perfectly. Have everyone wrap their gift, and when you are all together, take some scrap paper and number each piece until you have the amount of players/family members in the game. Then put the numbers in the bag and have everyone draw a number out. This will indicate the order of players. Player #1 will go to where the gifts are arranged and choose one. They will unwrap it for everyone to see. Then player #2 goes: they have the option to choose a new gift from the remaining pile, or they can steal player #1’s gift if they like it. A gift can be stolen up to three times. If your gift is stolen, you can either open another gift or steal another gift that has already been opened. You cannot steal your gift back immediately if it is taken from you. However, hypothetically, you can steal your original gift back if you have the opportunity to. For example, let’s say you are player #3 and player #4 steals your gift. You decide to open a new gift rather than stealing from player #1 or #2. Let’s say then player #5 loves your new gift and steals it from you. If you want your original gift back, you can then steal it from player #4 (however, it can hypothetically be stolen again by someone else as it still has one more chance to be taken until it’s in its final owner’s arms). This process continues until every player has had the opportunity to open or steal a gift. Player #1 usually has the best situation because since they went first, so at the very end, they can choose to either keep their gift or switch it out with another player’s gift. Lots of joking fights happen, alliances are made and it is always priceless to see people’s reactions when they open the gift you chose to bring. One year, I brought a gallon-sized coffee mug with the saying “I’ve reduced my coffee intake to one mug a day” written on it.

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Gingerbread House Making Contest

Head to your local Target or even Dollar Tree and pick up some gingerbread house kits. The night your family is all together, split into teams of 2-3 and decorate the house together. You can choose a theme or just do a traditional gingerbread house. Before you start, appoint a couple of family members as judges. My family usually puts the grandparents in charge. Set a timer for 45 mins and have at it. Make sure the judges are in a separate room while you are constructing (to limit any family favoritism or bias because we know it exists). After the timer is up, leave the room and the judges can come and make their decision. The winner has bragging rights, and if you want to spice things up a bit, you can make some candy or trinkets as a grand prize.

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Taboo

In my family, you learn how to play Taboo at a young age. I think I was five years old the first time I participated. In summary, everyone sits in a circle. There are two teams and every other person is on the same team. When it is your turn, you draw a card. The card has a term you need to describe, but it also has a list of terms that are “taboo” and you are not allowed to say. The goal is to get your team to guess the term. Once they successfully guess, draw another card, and try to get as many terms as possible in your allotted time. The person on your left is the timekeeper, and the person on your right holds a buzzer and clicks it every time you say a taboo word. If you say a taboo word, you immediately forfeit the card and move on. The buzzer is arguably the most fun position of the game. After 2-3 rounds, the team with the most terms guessed wins.

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Uno

A simple game, but a classic game. Don’t knock this one because it’s basic. Uno is super fun, can get very competitive and it can even include the littles in your family learning their colors and numbers. Also, Uno can be found in almost every household, and if you don’t have it, it can be found in almost any store.

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Bananagrams

People hate on this game because you have to spell words, but if my father, who hates all things writing and language arts, can enjoy this game, so can you. For those who have not played Bananagrams, based on your number of players, you get a number of tiles with letters on them. There is a pile of tiles in the center, but they are flipped, so you cannot see the letters. When someone yells “split,” flip your tiles over and begin making a crossword. Words can read up to down and right to left, and words cannot be flush against one another. If you hate a letter, such as a “q” (they are the worst), yell “dump,” put the tile in the center and grab 3 tiles from the pile. When someone uses all their letters, they yell “peel” and everyone grabs one more additional tile no matter where they are in forming their crossword. This keeps going until there are no more tiles in the center and the first person to successfully create a crossword yells “bananas.” Then the other players examine to make sure there are no misspelled words or cheating. Words must be three letters or longer, and it’s a great game to show off the vocabulary you learned studying for the SAT.

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I hope your holidays are filled with happiness, love, great memories and tons of games. Enjoy the season, Her Campus family, and don’t forget to pick up one of these games (or White Elephant items) next time you are holiday shopping.

BriannaRose is a UCLA Communications major and Film/TV minor who aspires to break boundaries and stigmas. As an aspiring creative director, she works on student films and photography projects, and has professional experience in both fashion public relations and internal communications for cable. In addition to writing, BriannaRose volunteers at local animal shelters and competes in pageants. She currently represents the city of West Hollywood in the National American Miss system.