Christmas Day. It’s coming around fast and if you’ve been more useless than a hip pocket on a singlet with organising this year, chuck some of these Kris Kringle games into the mix to distract when the conversation dries up faster than the turkey. A hoot for the work place, big families or silly season parties, the Kris Kringle game makes the art of gift giving all the more enticing – especially if you only want to spend a small amount on that annoying colleague (you know, the one who always eats your food from the fridge), or that family member you never see, except at Christmas.
Secret Casino Santa
This game comes with an interesting twist – who will win all the money in the pot? Who will win all the gifts? And who will play it safe?
How to play: Everyone participating buys a gift for an agreed amount ($10-20) and then an agreed amount is also put into a money pot ($5-10). Names are drawn from a hat and then you can choose three options.
Option 1: Choose a gift.
Option 2: Do not choose a gift and put your name down to win the money in the pot.
Option 3: Put your name down to win all the gifts of those who went for option 2.
We say knock-off drinks are on whoever wins all the money. Winning.
Play Holiday Trivia
This game is for those who love to play a little bit of trivia with the prizes being a surprise gift.
How to play: Everyone buys a gift and puts it in the middle of the table. The game organiser compiles a list of Christmas trivia, (for example can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?) and reads out the questions. Whoever answers the question first gets to pick a present and the game continues. At the end of the game, the organiser can choose the last present or decide to steal someone else’s.
Great for those with a knack for general knowledge… Not so much for those who have a bad memory.
A gift auction is perfect for bigger workplaces, gigantic family gatherings or parties where not everybody knows each other and buying gifts for someone can be a little tricky.
How to play: Have each participant buy a gift of an agreed price that will be put on display in the office. Then, each person will be assigned a certain number of points (100 usually works) to bid on the gifts they like the best. The auction will keep running until each participant has used up all their points and everyone wins a gift. This game can also be played with a silent auction where bids are placed into a box and checked for a winner afterward.
This one’s easy if you don’t want to be too specific with buying a gift with a special someone in mind.
Choose Your Own Theme
Choosing a theme for the gift exchange makes shopping for a present a whole lot more interesting.
How to play: Participants decide on a gift theme that everyone has to follow. For example, if you choose blue, all the gifts have to fit the theme of blue. The game can either be played by the traditional Kris Kringle rules or everyone puts their gift on a table and one by one a gift is chosen.
If your friends and family are the creative types, we recommend choosing a ‘DIY gifts’ theme. We’ve got some cracking ideas for all personalities here.
Thieving Secret Santa
(Aka Dirty Santa, The Grinch Game, White Elephant Gift Exchange)
Perfect for those with a mischievous side because they can steal an awesome gift from one another.
How to play: Each participating person buys a gift for an agreed amount and puts in the middle of a table. Then players take turns by pulling names out of a hat to either choose a gift from the table or steal someone else’s gift. The game keeps going until all the gifts from the table are unwrapped and everyone has something. If someone steals from you, you can either pick a new gift from the table or steal someone else’s. The person last gets the ultimate revenge and can steal anyone’s present or take the last gift off the table.
But be warned, if your family has a competitive streak this one could end in a squabble.
Dutch Kris Kringle
This game originates from the Dutch Kris Kringle and is a fun game for those who like to give clues to make the gift giving a bit more of a challenge.
How to play: Each person pulls a name from a hat to determine who they are giving a gift to. The tradition here is to write a verse and attach it to the gift, signing it with ‘Sinterklaas’. Then when giving the gift, conceal it in a big box if it is a small gift or hide it somewhere in the house or venue and leave clues for the person to find it.
Great for those in a tight knit family or friends group as a small note with a present adds a personal touch and a little extra love.