Last year I hosted a goodbye to Elf on the Shelf party and during that party we played a bunch of Elf on the Shelf Christmas games, minute to win it style. These Christmas games work for any ages and are guaranteed to make your next Christmas party a huge hit!
Depending on the number of guests, there are three different ways you can play these games. You choose. They’re all fun!
- Style #1: Man vs. Clock – In this version, one player will be trying to beat the clock for each game. So for instance, they will have to try and get all of the sprinkles from one bottle to another within a minute (hence the Minute to Win It). If they do, they win a prize. If not, let someone else have a shot. If you go with this style, I recommend choosing a different person for each game.
- Style #2: Head to Head – In this style, you’ll pick two players for each game who will going head to head against each other playing a game rather than trying to beat the clock. So you’ll give each person a bottle and see who can get the sprinkles from one bottle to the next first. The first person to finish wins the prize. Again, rotate through pairs for each game, repeating players as necessary.
- Style #3: Team Competition – In this style, you’ll split your group into two (or 3 or 10 depending on the number of guests) teams. For each game, teams must choose one player to compete head to head in the game with the other teams. So for instance, each team will be given a bottle and the first team to finish will receive 10 points, the second team will receive 5, etc. This works best if you have quite a few people and is a good way to get everyone involved cheering for their team. If you have a lot of people but not a lot of space, try heats where Team A competes again Team B, Team C competes against Team D, and then the winners of the two heats plays against each other for the points.
Note: If any of these challenges seem to easy or too hard for the group you’re playing with, feel free to adjust slightly. If you’re going to play all of these games, here are all of the things you’ll need to play that you might not already have at home.
Minute to Win It Christmas Games
#1- Marshmallow Munch
#2 – Candy Cane Catch
Supplies Needed: Christmas tinsel, chairs, and candy canes
Tie a piece of ribbon or twine from one post or chair to another. Players must stand on top of the chairs and try to be the first to drop a candy cane from the chair onto the ribbon and get it to stay there. Play until the first player gets a candy cane to catch on the ribbon or see who can get the most in a minute.
#3 – Toy Touchdown
Supplies Needed: Christmas figurines or plastic Christmas ornaments, Christmas basket, duck tape, and panty hose
Players must pass small toys or ornaments under their legs like they’re hiking a football and have a teammate catch them in a small Christmas basket that’s attached to the second player’s back. Teams race to be the first team to catch five or see who can get the most in a minute.
#4 – Elf Toss
Supplies Needed: Plastic elves, holiday buckets
Players have a minute to try and toss mini plastic elves into a line of buckets (one 5″ away, one 7″ away, and one 10 feet away). Player has to make elves into each of the buckets in the time to win.
#5 – Snowman Shake
Supplies Needed: White ping pong balls or ball ornaments, tissue boxes, duct tape, and panty hose
Decorate white ping pong balls to look like snowman faces. Fill an empty tissue box with the snowmen ping pong balls and tape the tissue box (or use a velcro belt glued to the box) to someone’s backside and the player has to shake all of the snowmen out of the tissue box before the time runs out. Or if you’d rather not decorate like snowmen, use ornaments instead.
#6 – North Pole Pop
Supplies Needed: Balloons (these holiday balloons would be fun!) and winter gloves
Player have to pop 10 balloons using just their hands with winter gloves on before the time runs out. We did this in our Avengers party with hulk gloves, and it was absolutely hilarious!
#7 – Jingle Bell Jam
Supplies Needed: Gift boxes, jingle bells, holiday wrapping paper
Before the party, fill five boxes with different amounts of jingle bells than wrap like holiday presents. Player has to shake wrapped presents filled with jingle bells to determine how many jingle bells is in each, putting them in order of the most jingle bells to the least.
#8 – Naughty or Nice
Supplies Needed: Red and green candies, bowls, pieces of paper that say naughty and nice
Set out bowls full of red and green candies, making sure to have the same amount in each one. Players must quickly go through a bowl of red and green candies and divide the candies (one candy at a time) into separate bowls across the room labeled naughty or nice. Red candies go into the naughty bowl and green candies go into the nice bowl.
#9 – Reindeer Wrap
Supplies Needed: Brown crepe paper and reindeer headband
Players have to wrap a teammate from head to toe with brown crepe paper and top with reindeer headband to finish the challenge. If player breaks crepe paper, they can continue wrapping to cover them completely.
#10 – Snowball Fight
Supplies Needed: White ping pong balls, fish bowl, cotton balls
Player has to bounce (or toss) white ping pong balls into an empty fish bowl at the other end of the table while other players are throwing cotton balls at the ping pong balls the player is bouncing, trying to knock their balls out of the way. Player has to bounce one ping pong ball into the bowl to win.
#11 – Rudolph Race
Supplies Needed: Red poms, spoons, vaseline, and Rudolph poster
Give each player a red pom pom and a spoonful of vaseline. Players have to race to be the first person to put a red pom pom on Rudolph’s nose (make sure to put a bit of vaseline on his nose as well) on the other side of the room. To play, players must dip their nose into the spoonful of vaseline then get the red pom pom to stick to the vaseline on their nose. Once the red pom is on their nose, they must move across the room and stick it to Rudolph’s nose. The catch? They can’t use their hands at any time.
#12 – All Through the House
Supplies Needed: Mini Christmas figurines
Before the party, hide mini Santa or Christmas figurines (at least one for each player) all through the house. To play, players must race to search the house to find a mini Santa. This one would be great to play as a team relay, have one player search first and when they find one, they tag the next player who searches. Either the player or team to find Santa first wins.
#13 – Ornament Roll
Supplies Needed: Ball ornaments, gift boxes, and painter’s tape
Give each player an ornament and a gift box and have stand behind a lined taped on the ground with painter’s tape. Tape another line across the room (best done in a large empty room or gym). To play, players must fan their gift box toward their ornament to get it to roll across the room and over the other line. Players can’t actually touch the ornament with the box, just use it to create wind to “blow” it.
#14 – Mistletoes
Supplies Needed: Christmas tinsel, chairs, and artificial mistletoe
Hang a thin Christmas ribbon or strand of garland across two chairs or posts, low enough to the ground that players can reach it with their feet if they’re sitting on the ground. Give each player plastic mistletoe, two for kids and three to five for teens and adults. To play the game, players must race to be the first to hang the mistletoe on the ribbon using just their toes to hold it.
#15 – Trim the Tree
Supplies Needed: Mini Christmas trees, plastic Christmas ornaments
Pick up a handful of mini Christmas trees and place them in a line on the floor. Give each player a bucket full of plastic ornaments that have hooks on them and have them stand on a line of painter’s tape 10 feet away from the mini trees. Players race to be the first to trim a tree by tossing ornaments from the line to try to get them to hang on the tree. First one to get five ornaments on their tree wins.
#16 – Mommy Kissing Santa
Supplies Needed: Hershey kisses, mom stickers, Santa stickers
Before the party, put little stickers on the bottom of Hershey kisses – some mom/woman stickers and some Santa stickers. To play the game, set out the Hershey kisses in a grid (lined up). To play, players must pick a Hershey kiss from the grid and look at the bottom. If they pick a kiss with a mom or santa sticker on the bottom, they hold on to it and pick another Hershey kiss. If they pick one with no sticker on the bottom, they must eat the Hershey kiss and pick another one. Players continue picking Hershey kisses until they find a kiss with a mom and a kiss with a Santa on the bottom.
#17 – Jingle Bell Rock & Roll
Supplies Needed: Ball ornaments and jingle bells
Place five ball ornaments lined up on the end of a table and give the player 10 jingle bells and have them stand on the opposite end of the rectangle table. To play, players must roll their jingle bells from one end of the table and attempt to knock off all five ornaments from the opposite end of the table.
#18 – Let It Snow
Supplies Needed: Plastic spoons, cups, cotton balls, and bowls
Give each player a plastic spoon and a cup full of cotton balls. On the other side of the room, place an empty bowl for each player. Players must race to get 10 cotton balls from the cup to the bowl on the other side of the room, using just the plastic spoon. The plastic spoon must be held in the player’s mouth. If they drop a cotton ball, they should leave it and go back and get another one.
#19 – White Christmas
Supplies Needed: White streamers
Give each player two large rolls of white streamers. Players must hold one roll of streamers in one hand and one in the other. When the timer starts, players have to try to unroll both rolls of streamers, however they can. The only rule is that they cannot use their hands other than to hold the streamers.
#20 – Wreath Toss
Supplies Needed: Green or red poster board, Christmas wreath, and empty paper towel rolls
Get cheap wreaths from Amazon or the dollar store and have players try to toss them onto empty paper towel rolls glued onto Christmas colored poster board. To win, players must land two wreaths on their toilet paper roll.
#21 – Fill the Stockings
Supplies Needed: Stockings, Christmas tinsel or ribbon, and colored ping pong balls
Hang stockings (1 for each player) from a ribbon or rope tied tightly across from two posts or chairs. Give each player a bucket full of ping pong balls, preferably of different colors then send them across the room from the stockings. Players race to be the first to bounce the ping pong balls into the stockings from across the room. If you have multiple colored ping pong balls, players can shoot for any of the stockings. If you’re using all white ping pong balls, I recommend assigning everyone to one stocking to make it easier.
#22 – I Want a Hula Hoop
Supplies Needed: Hula hoops and Christmas cups
Give each player a hula hoop and set up a pile of five Christmas cups at the other end of the room. Players must roll their hula hoop down toward the pile of Christmas cups to knock them down. First player to knock down the top three cups (so all cups are on the ground) wins.
#23 – Sugar Plums Dancing
Supplies Needed: List of Christmas songs
Give each team a list of Christmas songs that everyone other than one person on the team can see. Teams must race to be the first to get their “guesser” to guess the title of all of the Christmas song titles on their list. Teams can work together like in reverse charades to act out the song title but no words, no singing, and no sign language. It’s speed charades. You can either do the first person to get through the entire list or first team to guess like five of the songs on the list.
#24 – Twelve Days of Christmas
Supplies: 12 days of Christmas items, bucket, other small Christmas trinkets and figurines
Give each team a bucket filled with Christmas trinkets, including items associated with the 12 days of Christmas (e.g., partridge, doves, gold rings, etc.). Make sure that there are all of the items for the 12 days as well as other items to confuse the teams. Have teams stand at one end of the room and put a bucket per team at the other end of the room. When you say go, a team member must run to the bucket and find something that fits ones of the 12 days of Christmas and bring it back to their team. Players rotate like a relay, going to the bucket until they find something for each of the 12 days. I recommend giving them a list of the 12 days to check them off as they go.
Ideas for 12 days of Christmas items:
- 1st day – Plastic pear, stuffed partridge, pear shaped anything
- 2nd day – Turtle candies, toy turtles, Dove chocolate, dove stuffed animal
- 3rd day – Plastic French fries, plastic eggs, stuffed hen, toy French horn
- 4th day – Cell phone, calling card, telephone, toy birds
- 5th day – Golden rings, plastic donut, earrings, bracelet
- 6th day – Plastic eggs, duck duck goose game, down pillow, toy goose
- 7th day – Swimming floaties, pool toys, bath toys, ugly duckling book, stuffed swan
- 8th day – Plastic milk container, empty milk carton, Milk Duds, maid outfit, duster
- 9th day – Dance music, dance shoes, Barbies, Just Dance game
- 10th day – Leap frog anything, leapin’ lizards game, Plastic leap frogs, Ken dolls
- 11th day – Toy pipes, pitch pipe, recorder, plastic pipe
- 12th day – Toy drums, drum stick, Little drummer boy book
#25 – Secret Santa
Supplies Needed: Small gift boxes, picture of Santa, index cards or small pieces of paper, wrapping paper
Before the party, wrap up a a bunch of small boxes (about 5 person team playing) and inside some of those, put a small piece of paper with a picture of Santa on it. In the other boxes, put a small piece of paper with nothing on it. To play, players have to choose one present from the table and unwrap it with oven mitts on their hands. If the present has a Santa inside, they’re done. If not, they have to choose another present and continue unwrapping until they find a secret santa.
Want a printable list of all of these games? Click here for a PDF with all of the games and instructions!
Prize Ideas for Christmas Games
- Christmas movies like A Christmas Story or Home Alone
- One of these hilarious white elephant gift exchange gifts
- Christmas music album or iTunes gift card
- An awesome Christmas sweater
- Christmas game like Christmas-opoly
- Christmas candy