Some of these are games that we play whenever we get together with my husband's family, and the best part about it is that most of these games are fun for the whole family, whether you're only 3 years old or 75 years old!
Pictionary: No, you don't need to spend money on a version of this boxed game- its easy to play just with things around the house. To play, divide the group into two or more teams. One team goes first, and they pick an official “artist”. The “artist” is given a slip of paper with word (possibly family or holiday related), and has 60 seconds to draw a picture or many (no talking, no writing, and no hand motions) to try to get his/her teammates to guess the word. If the team manages to guess the word within 60 seconds, they get a point, and get to pick another artist and another word and repeat. If the team can't guess the word within 60 seconds, the other team has a turn. At the end of the game, whichever team has the most points wins. You can use a white board, a chalk board, a large notepad, or a glass window/mirror with a white board marker as your drawing board.
Charades: One person mimes (acts out) a person, place, or thing, trying to get other people to figure out what they are trying to be. (You can make themes, like only food items, animals, holiday words, etc...) No talking is allowed by the mime. You can do this either as a team or individually. If doing as a team, play as with the rules above for Pictionary, allowing each team 60 seconds to guess what the person is miming, and otherwise giving the other team a chance. If playing individually, whoever guesses correctly first gets to be the next mime, and then it is played without points.
Who/What am I? Every person is given a paper headband/crown to wear, upon which is written a word. Again, this can be holiday or family related. Everyone can see the word aside from the the person wearing the headband. This person is given the chance to ask 20 yes or no questions to the group to try to figure out what the word is.
Pass the Parcel/Hot Potato. Different from the standard "Hot Potato" game, this game is more task based than present based. What does that mean? To play, take some little gift (perhaps a gag gift), or even no gift at all. Wrap it with a newspaper. To this newspaper, tape a paper with a task written on it. Wrap that with another layer and another layer and another layer of newspaper, including a paper with a task in it within each layer. To play the game, seat everyone in a circle,and have one person designated to be the “music person”. Play a song, and while the song is playing, pass the parcel/hot potato from one person to the next. The “music person” should keep his/her eyes closed and randomly stop the music. Whoever is holding the parcel/hot potato when the music stops opens one layer of wrapping and does whatever task is written on the paper. Tasks can include anything from “Switch seats with the person three seats to your left” to “Do 25 jumping jacks” to “Tell us a cute/funny story” or anything else.
Guess Who: Each person writes a funny or embarrassing story about themselves and puts it in a big container/bag. One at a time, each story is read aloud and the crowd has to guess who the story is about. This can also be done with weird facts instead of stories.
Trivial Pursuit: Write up a list of holiday or family related trivia questions each on a card. Ask the questions and have the people try to guess the correct answer. Whoever gets the correct answer first gets to claim that card. Whoever has the most cards at the end of the game wins.
Bingo: Give everyone a paper with a grid of 25 squares arranged in a 5X5 pattern, with an X on the middle box. Give everyone a list of words (either family or family related) that they can use to fill in the grid however they like, with only one word per grid and no words used twice. (Give approximately 30-40 words.) Include all the words on different slips of paper folded up and put in a sock/basket/bowl/bag, and one at a time, pull out a word and read it aloud. (Alternatively, you can ask questions to which the answer is one of those words.) Whoever has that word written on their Bingo board puts an X in that box. When a person gets 5 X's in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, they shout out Bingo and they win.
Hopefully these ideas will be useful to you when you have a family get together, and allow you to have a great time without blowing the budget.
Whichever holiday it is that you and your loved ones celebrate, I hope you have a happy holiday!
What do you do when you have family get togethers? How do you spend time as a family without breaking the bank?