In the days leading up to Christmas, you're crazy busy buying and wrapping gifts and decorating your home. About this time, your children ask, repeatedly: "How many more days until Christmas?" They're so excited for the annual gift giving extravaganza that simple Christmas games and other traditions can easily get lost in the shuffle. To keep the spirit of the holiday season alive, try playing one of these simple—and intentionally analog—Christmas games with your kids in the weeks leading up to the big day.
Christmas Word Scramble
If you're looking for a fun and educational Christmas game, create a Christmas word scramble. Pick ten holiday words that you believe your child can spell. Then, scramble up the letters. The object of the game is to have your child figure out what each word is.
You can hand-write the letters or type them up and print them out, perhaps including a picture they can color. Alternatively, if you have a Scrabble board game, you can use the game's wooden letters and scramble them up on a table, then have your child put the letters in the right order. This is an ideal game for enjoying with a mug of hot cocoa and holiday music playing in the background!
Pass the Ornament
Just like the game of hot potato, you don't want to get caught with the ornament in your hand when the music stops. First, choose an ornament that isn't breakable (this is very important). Next, have the kids sit in a circle. Then, play Christmas music while the children pass the ornament to one another. When the music stops, the child holding the ornament is out. Keep playing this game until there's one child left. Whoever is the last one sitting is the winner!
Going to the North Pole
If your children enjoy the game "Going on a Picnic," they'll love this Christmas game for kids. Begin by sitting in a circle. Each player must think of an item they'd like to "bring to the North Pole." Each player begins his or her turn by saying, "I'm going to the North Pole, and I will bring..."
The first person thinks of item that begins with the letter A, the next person thinks of of an item that starts with B, and so on. All of the items must be in alphabetical order. The tricky part is that each player must repeat all the previous mentioned items. For example, "I'm going to the North Pole and bringing antlers, bags for toys, Christmas trees...", etc. When a child forgets an item, he or she is eliminated from the game. The player who remembers the most items wins!
Guess What's in the Stocking
This game challenges children to use four of their senses to guess the secret item hidden in a Christmas stocking. First, hide a holiday-themed object, such as a candy cane, Santa hat, or ornament, inside a stocking. Then, have the children close their eyes or wear blindfolds. Ask the children to take turns touching, shaking, and smelling the object hidden inside the stocking. The first child to guess the item wins.
Candy Cane Hunt
Why wait until Easter to have an egg hunt? Instead of eggs, hide candy canes of different colors throughout the house. Give each child a Christmas stocking to hold the candy canes he or she finds. Ask the kids to find the candy canes. You could hide five candy canes per player or ask each player to look for a specific color. In this game, everyone is a winner because they all end up with yummy candy to eat.
In the beginning of the season, assign each child a "Secret Santa" recipient. Each Secret Santa will make one or more crafts for their assigned person. To assign recipients, write each child's name onto a small piece of paper. Fold all of the papers and put them into a hat. Have each pick a paper from the hat without looking. (Make sure they haven't chosen their own name.) Instruct the children to keep their recipient a secret! If they spill their secret they ruin the game.
The game is most fun when the children give gifts once per week during the three to four weeks before Christmas. The gifts can be left on a desk, at the dinner table, or under the tree and can be wrapped or unwrapped. The gift givers reveal their identities with the final gift.