Gather your family and friends, young and old alike. Here's a list of 10 favorite games to play together over the holidays. These are tried-and-true crowd pleasers, ready to take your next gathering to the next level!
1. The Name Game. Give each player several strips of paper and a pen. Each player writes one name on each strip of paper. The names can be absolutely anyone—famous, non-famous, infamous, dead, alive, real, fictional, people you know, people you used to know, whatever. Once each strip of paper has a name, it should be folded and deposited into a large bowl, combined with all the others and stirred. Divide the group into two teams. One player from the first team takes the bowl full of names. Set a timer or stopwatch for one minute. The player holding the bowl takes out one slip of paper at a time and tries to get his team to guess the name, giving any clues he can without stating the name. Once the name has been guessed, the player can remove another name and begin giving clues until the time is up. If a name is still in mid-play when the timer goes off, the player should fold it up and place it back in the bowl. Count the number of correctly guessed names to keep score, and pass the bowl to the second team and repeat. The game ends when all the names have been guessed. The team with the most correct names wins.2. Sardines. Sometimes known as backward hide-and-seek, this game is fun for all ages, and is best played in an entire house with the lights off or dimmed. One player is chosen to be the first sardine while the rest of the players huddle together, counting to 100. The players then disperse and begin seeking quietly for the sardine. Once a seeker finds the sardine, he or she quietly squeezes into the same hiding spot as the other sardines, until one by one, each player joins the "Sardine Can." The last player to find the sardines is the first one to hide the next round. 3. Indoor Snowball Fight. Purchase two reams of white paper and divide the group into two teams, each team in their own "camp" and equipped with a ream of paper. Each team has 15 minutes to create "snowballs" by tearing and wadding the paper into snowballs. Once the time is up, the snowball fight begins! Toss "snowballs" at the opposing team and enjoy the flurry! 4. Living Room Idol. You'll need an iPod, a set of headphones, and a playlist of familiar music. Each player takes a turn being the pop star, choosing a song they know well. The player cues the song set at a high volume and places the headphones over his ears. Once the song starts, the player sings along at full volume and gusto. The audience can hear only the player singing, and none of the original music. Once the song has ended, the audience raises fingers to give a score, 1-10 (10 being the high score). The player with the highest score wins. 5. Mafia. A fun game of suspicion, fibs, and mystery-solving, this party game is so fun it's almost criminal. A bit too complicated to summarize in this post, find the full explanation of rules here. 6. Shadow Stories. A blank wall, a strong flashlight, and a good story are all you need to begin playing this fun game. Divide the group into two teams, the "Storytellers" and the "Actors." The Storytellers tell a story (any story works—a book, an original spontaneous tale, or a piece of family folklore) while the actors create the visual interpretation with shadows on the wall. Once the story ends, teams switch roles and tell another story. 7. The Dictionary Game. Each player is equipped with a piece of paper and something to write with. One player quickly searches the dictionary for a word that is most likely unfamiliar to the group. The player reads the chosen word to the rest of the group, spelling it if necessary, and each player writes it on his paper. Each player then writes a definition for the word, while the player with the dictionary writes out the correct definition. Players then pass their papers to the first player, who shuffles them and then reads the definitions one by one to the group, including the real definition. Players then vote on which definition they think is the correct one, and the first player scores the definitions (one point for each vote), then reveals the real definition. The dictionary is then passed to another player, the papers are dispersed, and the next round begins. The player with the most points for his definitions wins. 8. Ask Me Anything. A great get-t0-know-you game especially for multi-generational groups, each player takes a turn in the "hot seat." Each player gets to ask the person in the hot seat anything at all. The person in the hot seat is allowed to "pass" only one question. Once all questions have been answered, another player takes the "hot seat" until everybody has had a turn. 9. Two Truths and a Lie. Each player must supply three statements, written or spoken, stating two truths and one lie about himself. Other players discuss and guess which of the three statements is the lie (majority rules for the final guess). Players who stump the group by getting them to believe their lie move to the next round, until there is one winner. 10. Never Have I Ever. Each player begins with 10 fingers up. One by one, each player begins a statement with, "Never have I ever ____________," supplying the group with something they have never done. (For example, "Never have I ever jumped out of a plane to skydive.") Each person in the group who HAS done whatever was said, has to put a finger down. The game ends when the first person has put down all 10 fingers. On behalf of all of us at Mrs. Fields, have a happy, safe, sweet holiday! (Image created via Wordle)