5 Fun Family Friendly Games for Your Holiday Party


During the holiday season most of us will attend gatherings with friends and family. If you have a big family like mine, then you know that the kids must be entertained after they finish the food. Here are five games under $20 that kids and adults can enjoy together at holiday parties.


Bananagrams is a very simple and fast-paced word game that can be played by two or more players. The game comes with 144 lettered tiles and each player gets 7 to 10 letters to start with. The goal is to arrange the letters you have into words connected like a crossword. Once you use up all your letters you can yell "peel" and everyone must draw a tile. If you cannot use a letter you have, you can choose to "dump" it and draw three new tiles. Eventually all the letters are drawn and whoever uses up their letters first yells "bananas" and wins. This game is extremely portable since it is just a bunch of tiles in a bag shaped like a banana. It is great for young kids who are just learning to spell and still fun for adults who are word-game connoisseurs.

Cranium Scribblish

Cranium Scribblish can be simulated with a stack of index cards. It is the game of telephone with pictures thrown in. The first player selects or writes a phrase, and then the next player draws the phrase.  The next player writes what the picture is, and so on. The results can be extremely hilarious as ideas and pictures are misinterpreted and then redrawn. One example I remember in a game we played is the phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson" turning into "Seasons of love with a dwarf." 


Pit is a classic card game that has been around since 1904. The goal is to trade your cards with other players until you have a full hand of the same type of cards. Once you get a full hand of the same type you can yell "corner" to signal that you cornered the market and end the round. The trading portion is full of frenzy as players look for trading partners. This game is great for all ages since it is so simple to learn.

Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples is an extremely popular party game that can be played by large groups. We have played this with 20 people. There is a set of green cards with adjectives like "beautiful," "evil," or "chunky," and then there is a bigger set of red cards that list random things, people, and places. Each player gets a handful of red cards, and in each round a green card is drawn by a judge and every player puts a card face-down that they think matches the adjective on the green card. The judge then looks at all the red cards thrown down and picks his or her favorite. The player who put down the red card wins the green card. Some of the words and concepts in the original Apples to Apples might be unfamiliar to young kids, so there are other age-appropriate versions such as Apples to Apples Junior.


Beanboozled is a wacky "game" from Jelly Belly. It is basically the equivalent of Russian Roulette for your taste buds. The premise is that there are six bad jelly bean flavors mixed in with six good flavors.  The bad flavors include "skunk spray," "moldy cheese," "barf," "baby wipes," "pencil shavings," and "centipede". The weird jelly beans look exactly like the good ones, so the fun part is watching the reaction of the person tasting the bean and also tasting the beans yourself. My family played this after Thanksgiving dinner, and it was hilarious seeing people gag or sigh with relief as they chewed one bean after another.

All of these games are easy to learn and do not require a lot of setup time. They are great for some fun and laughs after a big dinner, and hopefully your holiday party will be just a bit more cheerful and exciting.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

Thanks Xin! I was considering gift ideas, and Apples to Apples sounds fantastic.

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