This is the very best Christmas saran wrap ball game ever! It’s the ultimate Christmas party game and great for all ages! There’s nothing more fun than unwrapping saran wrap game prizes as you hope that no one else rolls doubles and you get to unwrap the entire thing! Plus, add in printable coal cards for an added layer of fun!
An Easy Saran Wrap Ball Game
Every once in a while I play a game at a party that I know I want to change up and recreate for my own family.
This spring we played a saran wrap ball game at my nephew’s birthday party that was basically just going around a circle, each person unwrapping one layer of saran wrap, and keeping whatever prizes were inside.
The kids loved it, even my kiddo who was the first one to get an empty layer.
It was a fun idea, but I thought we could make it even more fun. Make it one of the most fun Christmas activities ever!
I brainstormed a few ideas then finally came up with a version of the game that even my brother and sister-in-law (who hosted that party) said was way more fun!
So here you go – the best saran wrap ball game ever. Well, I haven’t played all of them – but I think this was is pretty darn fun. It’s definitely of my new favorite Christmas party games and honestly one of the most fun Christmas games I’ve played!
Lump of Coal Saran Wrap Game
The basic idea of the game is that you wrap up a bunch of gifts and prizes in a huge saran wrap ball and then people take turns unwrapping it – anything they unwrap they keep.
I mean who doesn’t want to win prizes playing easy Christmas games?
That’s the basic idea, but it gets a little more complicated when you add in some dice and what I like to call coal cards.
Coal cards are challenges that make it just a bit tougher to unwrap the saran wrap ball – things like unwrapping the ball behind your back, naming four of Santa’s reindeer before you keep unwrapping, etc.
And if you want to play at other times of the year, I’ve created a version of the cards that say “Challenge” instead of coal cards with universal challenges rather than holiday themed ones!
You can get those cards along with the other ones in the PDF at the bottom of this post!
Saran Wrap Ball Game Video
Watch below to see how to play and how fun it is! Then read through all of the instructions for more details on our new favorite saran wrap game!
Saran Wrap Game Materials
You’ll just need a few things for this Christmas saran wrap game. Same things if you’re playing it for a birthday or other occasion.
- Saran wrap – I highly recommend getting the good stuff from Costco not only because it’s super long but because it’s super sticky
- Small prizes – I’ve included a full list below of what to put in a saran wrap ball but you’ll generally need gifts, prizes, candy, etc.
- Coal Cards/Challenge Cards – get the free printable PDF of cards at the bottom of this post – print and cut these before you start wrapping
- A pair of dice – two dice and I recommend getting a box (the boxes of any of these board games for adults works well) to send the dice around in
- Scissors – you really only need these if the thing on your saran wrap package isn’t working to cut the saran wrap
How to Make Your Saran Wrap Ball
Okay, you’ve heard me talk all about this saran wrap ball so far but I’m sure you’re asking – how do I make a saran wrap ball? How does this all work?
Luckily I’ve got answers for you after doing it myself!
1 – Make your ball
Start your ball by placing a small round gift (EOS lip balm, a bouncy ball, a pair of Christmas socks rolled up) on top of a piece of your saran wrap. Since it’s the beginning, I also like to wrap some cash around it (to make the final person the lucky winner who gets one of the best prizes).
Wrap the saran wrap around it to make a ball. Add another layer or two if you want, or just rip it off there.
2 – Add prizes and other gifts to your ball
Once you’ve added a layer or two of saran wrap, add a small prize onto the ball and wrap around it. Keep going adding random prizes every few layers of saran wrap.
While it may seem counterintuitive to put big things in there like full candy bars, games, or even in our case Pokemon cards – that’s the way you add bulk to the ball.
Just add things on and continue to wrap layer upon layer of saran wrap and gifts around them. I personally prefer to rip the saran wrap every few layers instead of wrapping it all into one layer – I think it makes it harder to unwrap – but you can totally just keep wrapping if you want.
One tip – make sure to constantly rotate the direction of the ball to give it more of that ball shape rather than just a flat rectangle shape. If you do the layers of plastic wrap in the same direction, you’ll end up with something like a pancake than a cling wrap ball.
3 – Add in coal cards
Instead of adding in just prizes, add in a coal or challenge card every few layers as well. I like to put them face down so that people can’t see what the challenge is but it really doesn’t matter that much.
Add a coal card, add a layer or two of saran wrap, add some prizes, and just keep going. You could be strategic with the coal cards and place say the end your turn one toward the inside of the ball, but that’s a lot of effort.
I just like to pull them randomly from the pile and put them in – no order required. If you don’t want a Christmas theme to your ball, I also have generic challenge cards at the bottom of this post!
4 – Finish off your saran wrap ball
Once you’ve run out of coal cards and prizes, add a few more layers for good measure and set it aside for whenever you’re ready to play!
Saran Wrap Ball Game Rules
There are a lot of variations on the saran wrap game out there, but this is how to play this particular version.
And like I mentioned before, I personally think this one is a blast!
1 – Have everyone sit in a circle
It needs to be a circle or at least a closed shape of some sort so you can pass the dice around. And make sure people are close enough together that it’s easy to pass the dice box and the ball.
You’re likely playing this at a family gathering, so gather!
2 – Give someone the dice to start
When you say go, choose the first player and have them roll the dice.
Here’s how the dice part works.
If you roll:
- Doubles – you get to unroll the saran wrap ball until someone else gets doubles.
- 7 or 11 – the direction of the dice gets reversed (so you never know where the dice are going to go) so it’s going a different direction.
- Anything else – pass the ball to the next person, better luck next time
3 – Unwrap the ball
If someone gets doubles, they get to start unwrapping layers from the saran wrap ball. They keep unwrapping until someone else gets doubles and takes the ball from them.
As they’re unwrapping, if they find prizes they get to keep those until the giant ball of plastic wrap is unwrapped!
4 – Complete a Printable coal card
If they come across a coal card, they have to stop and read the coal card out loud then do what it says. If you need some ideas, I have tons of great ideas for the coal cards at the bottom of this post.
- If it’s an action (e.g., unwrap with the ball behind your back), they continue unwrapping just doing whatever the card said.
- If it’s a question or something they have to list (e.g., Santa’s reindeer), they must answer the question before they can continue to unwrap.
- If it’s a do this immediately (end your turn, skip your next turn), they do whatever the card says immediately.
If someone gets a coal card, their turn is not immediately over. They can keep continue their turn as soon as they’ve read the coal card out loud.
5- Continue playing the saran wrap ball game.
Keep going – roll the dice and unwrap the ball until someone gets to the very end. Once the ball is done, everyone keeps the gifts they unwrapped. If someone doesn’t like something, they’re welcome to trade with someone else.
I also recommend having a few items held behind just in case someone doesn’t get anything. It could be as small as a piece of candy or a quarter, but I’m sure those people, especially kids, would appreciate going home with something.
25 Saran Wrap Ball Game Gift Ideas
The question I get asked most often is what do you put in the saran wrap ball game? Honestly, it could be anything from candy canes to scratch off lottery tickets.
I’ve included a list of my favorite saran wrap game prizes – just be aware that it can be expensive. I recommend buying things on sale throughout the year, checking out the Dollar store, or having family members chip in. Maybe even play this game instead of one of these gift exchange games and just have everyone chip in $5 if you’re worried about cost.
And obviously make sure to keep in mind who you’ll be playing with. If you’re playing with a group that’s mostly kids, I’d probably skip the home decor and if you’re playing with all adults, probably skip the stuffed animals and party favors.
If you need gender neutral gift ideas to include, I’ve got a ton of gender neutral gift ideas here. You could also do a wrapped gift or two, but that’s just more effort!
Okay, my favorite Christmas saran game prize ideas include:
- Gift cards – get ones that are universal and make sense for small amounts like Target, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Sonic, etc.
- Cash – dollar bills and quarters work well and I like to put a $5 or $10 as the final gift, kind of like a Christmas bingo winner
- Socks, gloves, ties, or other small clothing item
- Beauty products
- Tissues or hand sanitizer
- Lotions, body wash, etc
- Headbands, hair things
- Small toys/party favors – these Christmas toys would be great
- Stuffed animals
- Cards – Pokemon, basketball, baseball, etc.
- Candy – you can do full-size candies as well as smaller fun-size candy, packs of gum are also great
- Movie tickets – or other gift certificates
- Home decor – kitchen towels and other soft things work well
- Stickers or activity sheets
- Small LEGO sets
- Books – small ones that come in sets like these
- White elephant gifts like these
- Sports items – bouncy balls, squishy footballs, golf balls, golf tees, and more
- Games – typically smaller ones like Uno or Five Crowns that come in boxes and fit into the ball
- Coloring or activity books
- Face masks, scrubs, and loofas
- Gourmet food items – jerky, popcorn, bars, etc
- Kitchen items – kitchen tools, reusable silicone bags, measuring cups, spatulas
- Anything else you have laying around the house
Saran Wrap Ball Game FAQs
See the list above – there are over 25 different ideas of saran wrap ball game prizes!
Honestly I can’t really answer this one because it’s dependent on a number of things:
How many layers are in your ball?
How quickly do people roll doubles?
How quickly do people unwrap?
I can tell you however that to go through our entire ball that had about 50 layers it took just over seventeen minutes. The coal cards do add a very slight amount of time to the game. I recommend planning for 30 minutes.
See the instructions above. It’s actually a lot easier than you’d think – saran wrap is funny that way!
This is similar to how long does it take – it totally depends. You’ll be paying for probably a box of saran wrap plus whatever gifts you want to put in the ball.
If you’re on a budget, go with fun-size candy bars, quarters, and small toys. If you have a little more money or are doing this gifts for family, you could go with bigger items like gift cards, socks, full-size candy, and other larger items.
Of course! In fact, I added in challenge cards (not holiday themed) that come with the downloadable PDF you can use all year long! The challenges aren’t holiday themed.
I’ve seen suggestions to use fabric scraps, socks, t-shirts, and any other fabric that will get unwrapped but not thrown away (like saran wrap).
More Christmas Party Games
If you’re looking for a new family Christmas game to try this year, these are the best Christmas games out we’ve ever tried!
- 12 fun gift exchange ideas – fun gift exchange games for people of all ages from kids to adults!
- 12 days of Christmas games – these games always bring out lots of laughs for everyone involved!
- Christmas charades – a Christmas version of the classic!
- Christmas emoji game – if you want something a little less active, this printable game is a great option!
- Christmas scavenger hunt – a treasure hunt (like you’d do at birthday parties) that ends with a big prize!
- Christmas never have I ever game – if you need a fun party game that’s also an ice breaker, this one’s great!
- Christmas family feud game – Family Feud is always a big hit no matter who you play with!
- 25 hilarious Christmas games – fun game ideas for the entire holiday season!
- Christmas movie bingo – the perfect game for any holiday occasion!
want more fun Christmas Games?
Download the Printable Coal Cards
These coal cards are what really makes this game fun! It’s fun anyway but the coal cards really elevate the level of fun! And if you don’t want a Christmas coal version, there are universally themed challenge cards too!
Enter your first name and email address in the form below to get the PDF. I made the coal cards kind of big because when we used the smaller ones (seen in the photos), they got lost when people were unwrapping last year.
Now they are about twice the size of the original ones and don’t get lost when you unwrap them!
Simply print, cut, and play! They’re designed to be printed two-sided with the piece of coal (that my awesome husband drew!) on one side and the challenges on the other.
Don’t want to print them double-sided, simply print out the challenge cards instead.
The PDF will include:
- Back of coal cards (green)
- Four pages of coal cards
- Back of challenge cards (blue)
- Four pages of challenge cards (different challenges than the coal ones)
If you don’t see the form below, click here to get to it.