Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Gift Game/Pass the Parcel [Carnival]

This carnival asked for a holiday tradition. Since my family has always loved games, one of my favorite traditions (we have lots of normal/sappy ones too) is called The Gift Game.

This tradition is incredibly fun, if you have enough people for your holiday celebration. Every Christmas Eve my family gathers for a late dinner, laughter, sometimes other games, but always The Gift Game. Then, at the stroke of midnight, one of the kids gets to be Santa and passes out the gifts from under the tree.

Here's how the Gift Game works. (Also great for holiday parties instead of Secret Santa!)

Ask each person to bring at least two gifts worth under $5 or $10. (based on your family's or guests' general budget). These can be dollar store finds, things they made, things they don't need anymore, trinkets, gags, toys, candy, whatever. There's no minimum on price; it can be a bag of holiday M&Ms. It should include items for everyone of age to participate -- things for kids, things guys would appreciate, things women would appreciate. Every item should be wrapped -- the more interesting the wrapping, the better!

You'll need a pair of dice and a timer of some sort, preferably one that makes a noise when time is up.

Here's how the game works. You put the presents in a pile in the middle of the table and hand the dice to one person. A roll of 7 or 11, and the person can take a present. They then pass the dice to the next person. Keep it moving quickly. Once all of the presents have been distributed, set the timer for 7 minutes (if you have a huge group make it more time, or a smallish one, a little less... I also recommend 2 pairs of dice for more than 10 people). Once the timer is set, start the dice going around again, only this time on a roll of 7 or 11 the person can STEAL a present from one of the other people. When the timer goes off, whatever you have is yours.

Although the spirit of Christmas usually prevails after all the stealing, and people end up giving the presents to people who would like them.

One year I had two sewn-shut mini stockings, one with a rock and a $5 and a note that said the person was "nice", and the other with a piece of coal that said they'd been "naughty." :)


Another game I've instituted at holiday parties recently is called Pass the Parcel and is actually a game that dates back to medieval times. Again, buy an assortment of cheap/small gifts. You then wrap a parcel in layers. Each layer is a square of scrap fabric (thrift store time!) tied securely with a ribbon, and has either a gift, or a "forfeit." A forfeit is a slip of paper with some silly task written on it that the person must do (think truth or dare), such as sing a silly song, impersonate an animal, take this candy ring and propose to the person of your choice, take this pencil and have the person next to you draw a mustache on you. Be creative, but not cruel.

Here's how the game works. Have someone controlling the music, preferably some festive and fast holiday music. The guests stand in a circle and when the music starts begin passing the parcel. When the music stops, the person holding the parcel opens a layer. If it's a gift, it's theirs. If it's a forfeit, they have to do the assigned embarrassing task.

If you have mixed adults and kids at your party run separate Parcel games for them, and if you have a lot of guests have 2 parcels (but don't let them open them at the same time, do one at a time).

Every time we've done this (I've instituted it at our middle school Renaissance club's Christmas party) it's been a blast. Try it this year :)

May your Christmas be full of laughter!


Athena's Armoury said...

It sounds like you and your family have a lot of fun! Have a happy, healthy, & safe holiday!

storybeader said...

nice to play games that everyone can participate in. Have a nice holiday!