Holiday parties and get-togethers are fun, but can bog down when people either know each other too well, or are unfamiliar with each other. Our list of Christmas icebreakers includes super short and easy icebreaker games to get your party moving. We also have team Christmas icebreaker games, and some special icebreaker games for dinner parties and gift giving. Some even can be modified and used for any occasion.
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Super Short and Easy Christmas Icebreaker Games
Have guests guess the total number of ornaments on the tree as they arrive. The closest guess wins.
Give each person or team a piece of paper and instruct them to write the alphabet vertically from A to Z. When you say, “Go!” they are to write a holiday word that starts with each letter. The first one(s) to complete the list wins.
Christmas Memory Game
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.
Name That Carol
Make a list of lyrics from Christmas carols, but only provide 3-4 words from each song. The person who names all – or most – of the songs in a certain amount of time wins.
Christmas Icebreaker Games for Teams
Gift Wrap Challenge
- Provide gift wrap and rolls of ribbon.
- Divide the groups into teams of two.
- Each pair of players stands side by side with the hands next to each other tied together.
- Each team must wrap a package using only their untied hands.
- Additionally, they must tie it with a bow.
- The winning team is the one that ties the package correctly first.
Unwrap It Fast!
You will need a Santa or elf hat, a pair of bulky gloves or oven mitts, one gift wrapped in multiple layers of paper, and one or two dice depending on how many people are playing.
- Set the wrapped prize in the center of the room with the hat and gloves next to it.
- Have players sit in a large circle.
- The first person rolls a die and if a six shows, they take a turn running to the center, putting on the hat and gloves, and start unwrapping the gift one layer at a time.
- The dice continue to be passed, until another six is thrown.
- When someone rolls another six, they run to the center, take the hat and gloves, and continue unwrapping the gift.
- The person who unwraps the last layer of paper gets to keep the prize.
Christmas Balloon Burst
- Divide the group into two teams, one with red balloons tied to their ankles, and one with green balloons.
- When team members hear, “Go!” they start popping the other team’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.
In this game, teams are given a paper bag with the following items:
- One unused pair of pantyhose, a five-inch hole cut in the tummy panel, and the feet cut off
- Red ribbon
- 14 small balloons
Set a timer for five minutes. One member of the team volunteers to be the reindeer. She slips the pantyhose on her head, with her face showing through the hole that has been cut in the tummy panel. The team blows the balloons up and slips them through the open end of the pantyhose until they resemble antlers. Use the ribbon to tie the legs of the panty hose closed and to decorate the antlers. The team that makes the best antlers within the five-minute time period wins.
- Attach a hanging hoop to the ceiling – a large embroidery hoop from a discount store works well.
- Divide the group into pairs.
- Have a large basket with 30 to 40 Ping-Pong balls or make balls of paper.
- One person in each duo is blindfolded and their partner gives instructions on how to throw the balls through the hoop.
- Set a specific amount of time – 30 seconds works well.
- After the thirty seconds expires, count the number of balls the team has managed to get through the wreath.
- The winning team is the one who manages to throw the most papers through the hoop.
Christmas Card Match
- Before your party or Christmas get-together, gather old Holiday cards and cut each either in halves (for pairs) or fourths (for teams of four).
- Throw all the pieces into a basket, mix them up, and place the basket near the entrance.
- As people arrive, have them select a card piece from the basket and find the person (or people) with matching pieces.
This is an excellent way to create small teams for other games or to seat people randomly at card tables for dinner.
Christmas Dinner Table Games for Adults
Share a Favorite Holiday Memory
Try this icebreaker game at the dinner table after everyone is finished eating. As the name implies, people are to share a favorite holiday memory. Use our list or create your own.
- What was your best (or worst) Christmas gift as a child?
- What is your favorite Holiday song?
- When do you open and exchange presents?
- What is one gift you’ll never forget receiving?
- What is your favorite kind of Christmas cookie?
- What is one of your family’s Christmas traditions?
- It wouldn’t be Christmas without _______________.
- What is one thing you really want for Christmas?
- What Christmas TV special or movie is a must in your family each year?
- Are you traveling for Christmas? If so, where are you going?
- What is your favorite kind of Christmas candy?
- What is your favorite Christmas food?
- What is your favorite Christmas ornament? Why?
Message under a Plate
Perfect for a dinner party, get ready for this game in advance by preparing slips of paper with strange phrases or sentences that normally would not fit into a dinner conversation. After everyone takes their seat, tell them to read the message under their plate and try to insert the message into the conversation without getting caught. If a player accuses another player of using his message, but is incorrect, he is out of the game. At the end of dinner, find out which players successfully used their messages without being caught. You can use messages from the list below or make up your own.
- I saw a monkey at the zoo.
- I only did so once, when I was in France.
- The flowers were blooming profusely.
- Then my computer stopped working.
- My great aunt died on a Monday in May.
- I do not know about you, but I plan to be cremated.
- The electricity suddenly went out and it was very dark.
Instead of letting everyone sit with the people they know, have them sit at specific tables or in groups that match their personalities or interests. For example, have a table for those who love to travel, for those who love dogs, and one for people who love to cook. This method of seating assures everyone will have something in common about which they can talk.
Place a small blown up red or green balloon at each person’s place at the table with a slip of paper inside upon which you write a fortune or prediction. It is fun if you use silly fortunes. We have given some suggestions below. After dinner, have each person pop their balloon and read the fortune.
- You will kiss someone under the mistletoe before the party is over.
- You have a big surprise coming to you in the next three days.
- You are going to eat too many Christmas cookies tonight.
- You will go on a vacation to an unexpected place.
- Someone you are thinking about is thinking about you.
- You will get a new pet next week.
- You will get a job promotion next year.
- That gift you really want has been purchased for you.
- You will like all your gifts enough this year so much that none will need to be returned.
- You will have to return almost all your gifts this year.
- You will meet a famous movie star.
- You will find something valuable lying on the street.
Fun Christmas Icebreaker Games
- When guests arrive, give each a page with ten Christmas stickers.
- The object of this game is for each person to get rid of their stickers by sticking them on someone else – but only one sticker on each 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.
- In addition, if someone falsely accuses you of “stickering” him/her, then you can automatically put one of your stickers on that person.
- The first person to get rid of all 10 of their original stickers is the winner.
Holiday Pictionary or Charades Holiday Game
- Print and cut out individual songs/movies titles within your selected theme to have your guests act-out or draw.
- Fold each song/movie in half and place each in a bowl.
- Have individuals or teams pull a slip of paper out of the bowl and act out or draw the song or movie.
Popular Christmas Carols and Songs
- All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
- Away In a Manger
- Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire
- Deck the Halls
- Frosty the Snowman
- Go Tell It on the Mountain
- Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer
- Here Comes Santa Claus
- Holly and the Ivy
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
- I Saw Three Ships
- Jingle Bell Rock
- Jingle Bells
- Let It Snow
- Little Drummer Boy
- Little Town of Bethlehem
- Oh, Christmas Tree
- Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Silver Bells
- Sleigh Ride
- The Christmas Shoes
- The Twelve Days of Christmas
- Up On the Housetop
- We Three Kings of Orient Are
- What Child Is This?
Popular Holiday Movies
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- A Christmas Carol
- A Christmas Story
- Babes in Toyland
- Christmas in Connecticut
- Christmas Vacation
- Christmas with the Kranks
- Ernest Saves Christmas
- Frosty the Snowman
- Home Alone
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- I’ll Be Home for Christmas
- It Happened One Christmas
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Jack Frost
- Jingle All the Way
- Meet Me in St. Louis
- Mickey’s Christmas Carol
- Miracle on 34th Street
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- The Christmas Kid
- The Kid Who Loved Christmas
- The Little Drummer Boy
- The Man in the Santa Claus Suit
- The Miracle of the Bells
- The Night They Saved Christmas
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- The Nutcracker
- The Polar Express
- The Santa Clause
- White Christmas
Christmas Games for Gift Giving
Right and Left Gift Giving
If guests have brought gifts for a gift exchange, this game provides a fun means of distribution. You could also use it to pass out wrapped party favors. This game will work with any age, as long as they know their right from their left.
Read the following story while the group either stands or sits in a circle. Every time you say, “left,” packages pass to the left, and when you say, “right,” the packages pass right. When the story is done, each player keeps the gift he or she is holding. You can make the story longer if you wish.
Mr. Right said that his left hand was hurting.
“Your right hand?” said Mrs. Right.
“No, my left hand,” said Mr. Right.
Mrs. Right left the room to get a bandage for Mr. Right’s left hand. When she returned, she realized that she had left a pot boiling on the right burner of the stove. She left the room again, and right after she left, Mr. Right left to follow her.
“I left the stove on,” said Mrs. Right.
“That’s all right,” said Mr. Right as he left the room. ”We can eat right after you fix my left hand.”
Christmas icebreaker games help people relate to each, relax, and enjoy themselves. Try ours to make you party or get-together an occasion to remember.
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.