By today’s standards, we have a rather large family!  We love to play games as we gather for brunch on Christmas morning!  The “Minute-to-Win-It” games help create fun times and cherished family traditions!

1).  Happy Birthday, Jesus

Materials needed:  one sheet of paper with “Happy Birthday, Jesus” written at the top (one per player or team) and pencils. 

Set a timer (or designate someone to be the “time-keeper”).  For one minute only, all players or partners must make as many different words as possible from the letters in “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” (Note:  if playing with younger children, pair a younger child with an adult.)  The team or individual with the most words at the end of a minute is declared the winner.  (We have a basket of treats, gift cards, money, and small toys that the winners can choose from.)

2).  Pass the Ornament

Materials needed:  string or yarn pieces (the string should be cut into 1 1/2 ft. sections for each team of 2 that will be playing) and several baskets of inexpensive ornaments with a “hook” hanger (plastic is a better choice than the metal hooks.)  

Divide the group into partners (it is helpful to pair younger children with an adult.)  Each partner must hold the string between his/her teeth.  The object of the game is to see how many ornaments can be passed along the string from one player to another.  The shortest player from each team must place an ornament on the string.  The players must then manipulate the string between them, without using their hands, to slide the ornament across the string to their partners.  If the ornament falls, another ornament must be placed on the string to “begin” again.  For very young children, the ornament hooks that snap around the string work well.   The players to get the most ornaments across their string in ONE MINUTE are the winners.

3).  Miniature Stocking Hunt

Materials needed:  A variety of miniature stockings.

Prior to the game:  hide a variety of miniature stockings around the house.  

The goal is to find as many stockings as possible in ONE MINUTE.  Warning:  The adults can be “ruthless”:) when playing.  Our kids get very competitive!  We have two separate hunts – one for the adults and one for the younger children!

4).  Gumdrop and Toothpick Creations – Materials needed:  Several bags of Christmas gumdrops and toothpicks.

This game can be played individually, in partners, or in teams.  Set out trays of gumdrops and toothpicks.  The object is to see who can create the best gumdrop and toothpick tower or structure in ONE MINUTE (around our house, Grandma is the ultimate judge.)  It is always amazing to see what can be built in such a short time span!  It is also a fun family tradition as now our kids try to sneak in “practice sessions” early in December!

5).  Name that Christmas Carol

Materials needed:  recordings of Christmas Carols, pencils, paper, and one person to stop/start the music.

We play this game in teams, but it can be played individually or in pairs.  One person must begin the music and stop it after a few notes.  The object of the game is to see which player/team can correctly identify all the different carols that are played in one minute (no shouting it out…write it down).   We choose different Christmas Carols each year for the game (hint:  instrumental versions are more challenging for adult players).

From our family to yours, we wish you a fun-filled and blessed Christmas!