Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Holiday (or anytime!) Party Games

DAY SIX brings us lots of game ideas to play when you're NOT eating at your holiday parties!

Welcome to the third annual 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

Stop by every day from December first through the twelfth for new ideas you can use to make your season brighter!

Meet Your Hosts

They have all been busy as Elves creating, decorating, cooking and crafting tons of new ideas for you to try this holiday season!

Our family (no, that's not us!) has always loved playing games.  Board games, card games, 'parlor games' . . . it doesn't matter.  Holidays simply lend themselves to playing games. I remember as a kid that once the dishes were cleared and before we all slipped into food comas, out would come the board and card games. Some games were clearly kid-oriented and others, like Uno were fun for any age group.  Some games like LIFE and Monopoly just never seem to go out of style.  But here are some games you may NOT know about.  The Victorians were famous for "Parlor Games", games that took little or no use of props or any special items yet could entertain groups of people for hours on end.  

 (Apparently, this family has little or no furniture on which to observe their children playing a game except for one, small chair in the middle of the room.)

Choose one item in the room and show it to everyone.  All your guests have to leave the room and you hide it. When they return, they are looking for the item until they spot it. When they do, they can quietly take a seat.  Wandering around a bit after you spot the item is a good way to throw everyone off.  The last person to find the item and sit down loses. This would also be a fun game for kids. Here's my variation:  Have numbered pieces of paper laid out on a table, the number of players MINUS 1. So if you have 10 people playing, you would have pieces of paper numbered 1-9. The first person to spot the item would walk over, take the number 9 and sit down and so on. Points can be tallied after multiple rounds to choose a winner.
(Apparently, dad is calling the shots on this game. Mom just has to look pretty.)

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button
We used to play this as kids at holiday parties so I don't know where it originated but it sounds similar to a Victorian game called Pass the Slipper.
String a large button onto a long piece of string that you will join into a circle.  The length of the string/size of the circle will depend on how large your group is.  When standing in a circle, the string is held in front of everyone and one person is standing in the middle of the circle.  At the start, everyone will begin sliding their hands back and forth on the string, while at the same time, moving the button around the string. The trick is to do this seamlessly as the person in the center is trying to guess where the button is.  You can use a timer and when the timer goes off, they have to guess where the button is.  If they guess correctly, that person holding the button moves to the middle.  If they are wrong, they stay in the middle.
(Okay, so apparently, not EVERYONE enjoys family game time)

Dictionary Game
We STILL play this when we get together with large groups and it never fails to bring on lots of laughs.  Now a few years ago, one of the game makers came out with a board game that is very similar to this called Balderdash.  I do recommend the board game but you can easily play it and all you need is a dictionary (or these days, your IPhone and!), pieces of paper and pencils.
One person chooses an obscure word that they think no one will be able to define.  They read the word, give the spelling and that's it.  The reader writes the CORRECT definition on their paper.  Everyone else comes up with THEIR definition of the word.  All of the papers are collected by the reader and read out loud in random order, including the correct definition. Everyone then votes on which they think is the correct one. The reader earns points for everyone who DOESN'T guess the correct word.  The other players earn points for everyone who chooses THEIR definition.  It's a hilarious game!
(It's no flaming raisins - be sure to read about Snapdragon below . . . but Scrabble still remains a favorite game for all ages)

Okay, so I couldn't believe this was a real game, but it is/was. The game was called Snapdragon and I would NOT recommend this one but it sure sounds funny!

You would pile raisins into a bowl of brandy, turn off the lights (are you ready for this???), set fire to the brandy and try to grab the raisins out of the bowl and eat them while they were still lit.  Those crazy Victorians!

And finally, here's a bit of interesting Victorian Parlor Game Trivia:  You'll often hear mention of "forfeits" in relation to the games.  Just what does that mean?

Many of these games involved the loser paying a forfeit. Victorian forfeits could be quite elaborate, but often were just a thinly veiled way to do things that probably were not socially acceptable. Usually, everyone accumulated their 'forfeits' until the end of the evening when the host would shout "Cry the forfeits!". At this, all the forfeits would be redeemed.  So what kinds of forfeits were redeemed?

For the men:
  • To make a Grecian statue. The victim stands on a chair and has his limbs put into whatever pose the company chooses.
  • To say 6 flattering things to a lady without using the letter "L"
  • To go around the room blindfolded and kiss all the ladies. However, once the man was blindfolded, everyone switched places (Use your imagination on that one! Again, those crazy Victorians!)

For the Women: (And it should be observed that most of these involved kissing?!)
  • To kiss a gentleman "rabbit fashion". The lady is allowed her choice of gentleman, then they each put one end of a piece of cotton in their respective mouths and nibble towards each other till they're kissing. Cotton, really???
  • To kiss the gentleman you love best in the room without anyone knowing who that is.  Well, to do this, she must kiss all the men. Wow.
  • Stand in the middle of the room and spell "opportunity". If one of the men can catch her before she manages to sit down, he gets the 'opportunity' to kiss her.  Eeeeewww.
The Victorians may have come up with some good games but it appears the losers were always going to be the ladies! 

Be sure to visit our fellow 12 Days of Christmas Bloggers below for even more creative ideas this holiday season!
12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop 2018.


  1. Love these games! Those Victorian games though! Your black and white images are beautiful!

    1. Weren't those Victorians strange lol?? Thanks for stopping by Shirley!

  2. Fun games! I loved the bits of Victorian Era history you included.

  3. I'm an only child so never played games growing up and still don't enjoy them. I know - I'm weird! I must say that 'Snapdragon' sounds pretty dangerous!

  4. Oh, I was just thinking of a game to play at Christmas, cause the whole family will be here this year. These are some good ideas, Lauren. Well, I thought of my own game. e-mail me if you want to hear it. : )


  5. Hi Lauren lots of wonderful ideads for games ,thankyou for sharing ,i am now your newest follower you have a lovely blog xx

  6. I'm a word nerd so I'm loving the Dictionary game!

  7. And here I was thinking the Victorians were prim and proper! Ha! Sounds like they could get a bit wild...LOL
    I've played the Dictionary game before & it was fun. But I'm not familiar with the others. I love games though.

  8. I grew up playing Balderdash, it was always a favorite of ours!


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