Christmas preparations: Family games

Games are a feature of our family get-togethers. When the children we small board games were popular, particularly on dull Sunday afternoons. As they grew older we played less because they found other things to do. But now they re-emerge on high days and holidays And make a good alternative to television as you have to talk to one another! It’s also a good way of bringing new people in. Unless they hate games, in which case you may never see them again. Here are some of our favourites.


Uno – card game. Simple to play but fun.

Bananagrams – If you like Scrabble you’ll love this. It uses the letters, but no board and takes the waiting out of the game as each person plays simultaneously. You shout out words like ‘peel’. One of those games you feel you could have invented but didn’t.


Rapidough – Like Pictionary but played with dough. You don’t have to be creative and It’s more fun if you’re not.

And of course there are the old favourites like Monopoly, Cluedo and Charades. Compendiums are good for small children. Try TK Maxx for bargains.

Finally here is a game that requires nothing other than paper and pens. Introduced by our friend Jessica, it’s called ‘the hat game’ – because you can out the papers in a hat – or bowl or the like. We love it, it was the only game we played one Christmas.

The hat game

Depending upon the numbers you divide into two teams or more. You need pen or pencil and small pieces of paper. Each person takes writes down three things for entry into the hat. It can be absolutely anything. Don’t make it too complicated though as you will be working against the clock. And you might have to do your own so you don’t want to make life more difficult!

Each team takes it in turn to take the papers out of the hat and guess as many as possible within a minute. They do as many as they can and score a point for each. We say they have to guess it exactly but you could relax the rule if you like. (How competitive are your family and friends?!) The correctly guessed words and phrases. If the timer stops when someone is still guessing it goes back in the hat. As each round progresses people will become familiar with what is written on the papers BUT the rounds get harder. So it’s a game of memory as much as performance (a challenge for the aged like me!)

The rounds are as follows…

  1. Articulate – describe what’s written without using the same words
  2. Charades – no speaking
  3. One word – sum up the word or phrase in just one word. Choose wisely as you can only do this once
  4. Noises – but no words or gesticulating
  5. Facial expressions – nothing more!
  6. Pose – just one pose to hold and no elaborate movements to get into the hold!

This is a really fun game and requires nothing other than the facility to make a fool of yourself. It’s addictive. Try it!

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