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Party Games for Family and Holiday Gatherings

Updated on November 19, 2012

When it’s time to plan for holiday gatherings in my family, it is automatic that games are included in the planning. Here’s a little secret: Games are FUN! And they become meaningful when you enjoy them with the people you love.

Every family has its much-enjoyed board games. Some of my family’s favorites are Sequence, Mad Gab, and Guesstures. There are scores of board and party games available such that no gathering should ever lack excitement. Although traditional board games are good, they are not the only way to have fun.

I like to develop my own family games, and there are easy, creative ways to do this and have just as much fun. For instance, a few years ago I picked up a dictionary and started reading definitions aloud. It was my way of eliminating a lull in the party and figured it would be viewed as too cerebral; but it caught on like fire! Recently I did something a little more unordinary by dividing the gathering into two teams and having them guess demonyms of states and cities (Virginian, Houstonian )—another simple and exciting winner. (Advice: Always have a dry-erase board and markers at your gatherings.)

If you have old trivia cards lying around, use them. I do and it becomes a Jeopardy game. Another favorite is the bonus round of the “$25,000 Pyramid”; and you can pull all your info from the actual shows on YouTube. The good thing about this one is it can be tailor-made to family events and situations.

Party Games as Communication Tools

And I think this is the point. Games can be personalized and made a relational tool helping us to learn more about one another. I get to observe many things about my own family members: how they reason, communicate, work in groups, share, handle anger, defeat, and victory.

It’s a win-win situation. The first gain is that a game automatically renews a gathering. The party itself catches a breath. The game is an emotional outlet from much sitting and deep conversation and even family worries or spats that we all know can arise. Then, we get to share with the people we most cherish. How often it is that we know more about the people we work with and our friends than our own family members! This shouldn’t be.

So I encourage you to think just a little deeper about how you plan on having fun this season. New creations of mine will feature family nicknames over the years and tough –tion words. By the way, this last one is something I pulled from the best trivia website I’ve found, If you’re into trivia, this is it! The researchers have done the work for you, all gathered from Happy Gaming!


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    • ithabise profile imageAUTHOR

      Michael S. 

      7 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Yes, Laura, I have a couple in my family that do just that and get too serious about the game. I've learned to steer clear of certain games or certain types of games.

    • profile image

      Loquacious Laura 

      7 years ago

      It is always interesting to me that some family members are gamers and others will have nothing to do with them. I like the part about getting to know your family and friends with whom you play. Games can bring relations all together and provide much laughter providing we don't take it too seriously! Thanks!

    • ithabise profile imageAUTHOR

      Michael S. 

      7 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Thanks. I absolutely love Hearts; and I'm thrilled that someone else enjoys the puzzle as a family activity. I like puzzles, but my family doesn't get that one (lol).

    • Lapse profile image


      7 years ago from East Coast Rules

      Good stuff. My family plays a lot of Hearts and Spades. Also jigsaw puzzles are fun.


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