Playing Games for Christmas

Games are a great present for Christmas. A brand new game can bring energy to the house, and will create great memories. When I was about eight, my family got Hero Quest for Christmas. (Super nerdy, I know. Check out the classic early nineties design).


Every day, right after lunch, my brothers and I sat around the table with our dad and played one quest. I still remember the quest when an invincible ghost appeared. It could only be defeated by a certain sword. I had it! As an eight year old, I loved the feeling of working together to a common goal: defeating our dad.

How do you create these moments in your home? Here is what you should do.

  1. Pick the right game
    1. Fits your Christmas crew
    2. Long enough
    3. Replayability
    4. Full participation
  2. Plan time
  3. Prevent fights with food

Picking the right game

Choosing the right game can really help. I recommend checking out this Holiday Gift Guide from the BoardGameFamily. Trent lists out 11 different categories that will help you pick something that fits your Christmas crew perfectly.

You’ll need to pick something that gets people together. The game should be longer than 30 minutes, but not so long that people aren’t interested in playing again.

Replay-ability is also key. Some games are really fun, but you don’t really want to play them again right away. Hero Quest was fun because each quest was different. Dominion is another great one. Each play is almost a completely different game. The key here is finding a fun game, that takes long enough, that can be played lots of times over the holiday.

Lastly, it needs to be a game that doesn’t have long turns and that everyone can play through the whole game. (Risk is very fun, but once you are out, you are just sitting around)

Plan time

I can’t stress enough how important it is to set aside specific time every day during the holidays. We did it every day after lunch. It also works well to play to play every night after cleaning up dinner.

The kids (and those of us who are kids at heart) will appreciate looking forward to the time.

Prevent fights with food

Games add a lot to our lives, but they also can add some tense moments. When someone clobbers you in Blokus, (LINK), or eliminates you early in Bang, you have to have a positive attitude, and it really helps if there are snacks around.

What other ideas do you have to make game playing a part of the holidays?

3 thoughts on “Playing Games for Christmas

  1. My family loves Games for Christmas too and Santa always places one or two beneath the tree. I’ve found that it takes 5-6 plays of the game before it finally makes it into our rotation. The boats game family website is great, but is love to see your recommended list too!


  2. I’m hesitant to make recommendations for more recent games, because i haven’t played the most popular ones from this year. Here are my recommendations from previous years.
    -Dominion, Pretty short (30 minutes), tons of replayability, 2-5 players
    -Lord of the Rings, Confrontation. My favorite game of all time. 2 players only, 20 minutes
    -Star Wars Epic Duels, Perfect for any size gathering. Most enjoyed by teenagers and teenagers at heart.
    -Pandemic, Cooperative, hard to win, but that increases the replayability 2-5 players
    -Forbidden island, Cooperative, Adaptable to make it easier for any age, or harder for the great players. 2-5 players
    -Splendor-Satisfying game play, 30 minutes
    -Ticket to Ride, longer, but satisfying to play game
    -Dutch blitz, Fast matching game for the non-strategy crowd
    -Bananagrams, Word game that can be left out on the table. Fast rounds and Unlimited players
    -Portabello market, fast, good strategy game. 2-4 players


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