For groups with a competitive streak, traditional party games can be an exciting addition to the Christmas celebration.
Some may wish to adapt party games to the season. For example, if young children are involved, Pin the Tail on the Donkey might become Pin the Nose on the Snowman, and a ball toss might become a snowball toss.
Holiday theming is fine. As long as the underlying game is engaging for the participants it will be succeed no matter how it is dressed.
A comprehensive list of party games, both traditional and new, will be available in the Traditions and Projects book, to be published in mid-2013.
Below we present a subset of these games that are quick and simple -- we call them Sixty-Second Challenges*.
Like most traditional party games, 60-Second Challenges can be played with common, everyday materials that you might find around the house, and they can accommodate any number of players. Because they are quick, they can be incorporated into The Christmas Game to provide a change of pace without overwhelming the day.
Sixty Second Challenges for The Christmas Game
1. Use a box-top or a piece of cardboard as a fan to blow a Christmas ornament across the floor to reach a target, or through a slalom course.
2. Fill glasses with enough water to yield a certain note when struck. Then tune the glasses to the notes necessary to play the beginning of a simple song (e.g., the first 9 notes of Hark the Herald Angels or the first 11 notes of Jingle Bells), one glass per note. Then order the glasses randomly. The player has to place the glasses in the proper order and play the song.
3. Fill 6-8 identical wrapped boxes with different numbers of jingle bells - for example, one box might contain 3 bells and another contains 30 bells. The player must place the boxes in order from the most bells to the least bells without looking inside.
4. A seated player leans her head back and any kind of cookie is placed on her forehead. The player then maneuvers the cookie into her mouth using only her facial muscles.
5. Christmas ornaments hanging on one string are transfered to another string by a team of two players who use no hands and only their lips to hold the ornaments. The difficulty level may be increased by placing the strings farther apart, by requiring that multiple ornaments be moved, or by selecting non-standard shaped ornaments.
6. On a taught piece of fish line players hang candy canes. But the candy canes must hang balanced on the tip, not in the crook. The player must balance multiple candy canes simultaneously to win.
7. A candy cane is tied to a string which dangles from a stick, like the hook on a fishing pole. A number of rings are placed on a table partly over the edge. The player's task is to hook as many rings as possible within one minute. Increase the difficulty by using a longer string, more rings, smaller rings, or a smaller candy cane hook.
8. Place large styrofoam balls on a stool. Standing a certain distance away players attempt to knock the ball off the stool by bouncing a ping pong ball or a super-ball off the ground and into the styrofoam ball. Multiple players can compete simultaneously with multiple stools and balls.
9. Stack empty beverage cans and paper plates to make a tower. One can goes on the first level (then a plate), two cans on the second level (another plate), then three cans, etc. Either multiple players can compete to stack as high as possible in sixty seconds, or a single player can attempt to achieve five levels.
10. The holds in their mouth a string, from which is suspended a Christmas ornament. Swing the ornament to knock over empty beverage cans. Increase the difficulty by adding more cans, placing the cans farther apart, or varying their elevation.* Some 60-second challenges are inspired by Minute to Win It, an NBC prime time game show from 2010 to 2011.