Four parlour games to play on Christmas Day

Answers on a postcard, please. No peeking!
Answers on a postcard, please. No peeking!

Georgina Blaskey reveals the parlour games guaranteed to bring a little cheer to Christmas Day

Ditch the iPad, turn off the TV! Christmas is a time for all generations to join together in lively activities, but it’s all too easy to fall into the ‘not this one again’ rut. Thankfully, these enduring parlour games – which you may or may not know – should cater to everyone, sofa-bound oldies or little fidgets alike. All you need is a crowd, a sense of humour and a hint of mischief. After all, you know what they say, the family that plays together stays together!

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

Divide into two teams. One person from each team (the answerer) thinks of an object and goes over to the opposing team (the questioners) who try to guess what it is (the two teams play at the same time). The answerer tells the questioners at the start of the game whether the subject belongs to the animal, vegetable or mineral kingdom. After that, the answerer can only answer &yes* or &no*. Whichever team guesses right first keeps the opposing team member whose word they were trying to guess. The aim is to steal all the opposing team members.

The sparkly hat

Everyone chooses a name of a well-known person; it can be a sports personality, a Disney character, a politician, anyone. They all write it down (an adult can help the youngest if necessary) and all the names are put in the sparkly hat (or you can use a bucket or bowl). Names get read out as a list, twice only. You then take turns guessing who is who. If someone guesses correctly, the person whose name has been guessed is out and the guesser gets another turn. If they guess wrong, move on to the next person to guess. The secret is not to make obvious choices. The winner is the person left unguessed!

Stuff in a box

This is great for artistic souls who like a project. In advance, you need to collect a load of different bits and bobs – ribbons, buttons, card, plastic, boxes, tubes, wrapping paper, fabrics – and put the box in the middle of the table. Either in pairs or as individuals depending on the age range, you take a theme, and everyone has to make a hat following the theme however they wish – and wear it for lunch. You could even have a hat procession to award a winner a prize.

Black Magic

Two people are in on the secret that ‘proves’ they are telepathic. One of the pair (the guesser) leaves the room and the other (the remainer) chooses any object with everyone else in the room. When the guesser comes back in the room, the remainer points to different objects asking the guesser if that is what they chose. When they point to the object chosen, the guesser will answer yes and everyone will wonder how they knew. The secret? The remainer and the guesser have a code that they always point to something black before they point to the object chosen. Everyone else will go mad trying to guess how they are communicating and will be desperate to try their theories out!

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