Want to play a game at your Christmas gathering? Why not read on and be inspired?
It is unknown when the tradition of meeting around Christmas to enjoy food and games together began, but in Scandinavia and Germany the tradition developed into an interesting custom in rural areas. It permitted young farm hands and maids to meet other young men and women working on the other farms in the area, and get to know them in an informal setting in which they were largely unsupervised. This was otherwise considered unacceptable behaviour, both because of the lack of chaperones, but also simply because the maids and farmhands were supposed to stay on the farm to work and so did not get to meet people from outside the place they lived and worked much. But these gatherings, taking place from the first Sunday after Christmas until the beginning of February, allowed just that. At these gatherings many games were played - many of them on themes such as courtship and marriage - and although society has changed much since then, it is still traditional to meet in groups. This could be your co-workers, or old college class, or the sports club you are a member of meeting around Christmas to have a specific Christmas lunch and play games. Some of the games have changed much since then, but some have stayed the same. So here are some examples of games that could be played at the modern incarnation of these gatherings:
Christmas Carol Pictionary
Prepare notes with the names of Christmas carols written on them and allow each contestant to draw one in turn. Once a note has been drawn, the contestant must make drawings that will somehow get the others to guess what carol is meant.
A time limit can be set, or points can be awarded to the person who first guesses it. It can also be played as teams working together.
The Blind Dragon
Prepare by getting a rolled up newspaper, a scarf, and good number of small items (small toy bricks or similar items are ideal, but any small object will do).
To play the game one contestant will be blindfolded and given the rolled up newspaper and placed in the middle of an open space. Then the 'dragon's treasure' will be placed all around them and the remaining contestants must try to steal the treasure without being noticed. If the 'dragon' notices, they should strike out (carefully) with the newspaper. If the thief is struck, they must put back the stolen treasures (but they keep any they stole previously) and are out of the game. If it's too easy for the dragon, then put on some soft music meanwhile.
The winner is the one who has the most items once the game ends, which can either be set to a timer, or be when the dragon has no more treasure left to guard.
Capture a Bear
This game requires three participants. One will lie down on their back, then another on top of them so they form a cross with their stomachs against each other, then on top of both of them, the third person will lie down on the same line as the first person, but with their head towards the feet of the other person.
The bottom and top person will grab each others' calves or ankles and do their best to trap the middle person between them. Meanwhile the 'bear' in the middle has to try and escape by either pulling themselves out forward or pushing themselves out backwards.
This game requires a fairly large group of people to play. One person is chosen to be Mother Tangles and they turn around so they cannot see what is happening. Meanwhile the others join hands and then, without ever letting go of the handholds, move over or under arms or legs and tangle up the circle as much as possible. Then when they feel they're done, they call for Mother Tangles to come and detangle them. The Mother Tangles then has to tell them how to move in order to detangle themselves. The game ends when Mother Tangles has managed to restore a circle or gives up.
The Quidditch Captain
Prepare by finding either a tiled floor, or making one with masking tape or something similar. Make cards with a grid with the same amount of squares as the one you will be using on the floor, and draw a route on each of them. All routes should include the same amount of squares. If you want you can add 'bludgers' to certain squares which will explode if touched.
The game requires four or more people to play. These people are parted into two teams and each team needs at least one Quidditch Captain and one Seeker. The Quidditch Captain will be given the map-card of the route the Seeker needs to take, while the Seeker will be blindfolded. It's now the job of the Quidditch Captain to guide the Seeker through the grid. For added difficulty, both teams can play at the same time, so the Seeker has to keep track of what orders are for them and what orders are for their opponent.
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