For many families, Christmas Eve is the time for the whole family to come together and spend quality time with each other, whether baking Christmas cookies or watching a holiday movie. Add some excitement for the kids by incorporating holiday-themed games into your Christmas Eve celebrations.
For a memory challenge, have everyone stand in a circle with one person holding a stocking. That person starts off the game by saying something that she wants Santa to give her. She might say, "In my stocking Santa left me a charm bracelet." She then passes the stocking to another child who repeats what she said and adds her own gift before passing on the stocking. The game continues with each person having to remember what everyone else said before him in the correct order. If someone gets the order wrong, he is out for that round.
For another game, lay out two pairs of clothing that represent Santa's outfit such as a Santa hat, a large black belt, black boots, red pants and an oversized red jacket. In another part of the house, divide the children into two teams. One person on each team must run to the other room, pick up one piece of the outfit and bring it back. When the first child returns, another team member runs to get another piece. Continue in this manner until the entire outfit has been collected. The children then must dress up one team member like Santa Claus. The first team to do so wins.
Bible-Themed Holiday Games
For one Bible game, divide the kids into teams of two and show them a picture of a nativity scene. Ask them to recreate the nativity scene with whatever items, dolls and toys they can find around the house. Give them a list of what should be included in their nativity scenes including a baby Jesus in a cradle, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men, a certain number of shepherds and barn animals. The first team to recreate the nativity scene wins. You can also play Christmas-themed Bible trivia with the kids. Give each child a desk bell that must be hit in order to answer a question. Include questions related to Mary being visited by an angel, the journey to Bethlehem, the Three Wise Men and inn keeper. The first person to achieve a certain number of points wins.
Wrap a small present in a cardboard box, then place that box into a larger box. Ensure to wrap both boxes well. Have the kids sit in a circle and tell them they each have 10 seconds to try to open the present before it must be passed to the next person. The catch is that they must use oven mitts to open the present. Whoever is able to fully open the present during a turn will get to keep it. For a similar game, give each child material to wrap a small cardboard box. The first person to successfully wrap a present wins, but they can only use one hand. Ensure that everyone keeps one hand behind their backs while they attempt to wrap the gifts.
Christmas Scavenger Hunts
Hide things that represent the 12 days of Christmas around the house. For example, two wooden bird figurines can represent the two turtle doves and six hard-boiled eggs can represent the six geese a-laying. Give the kids a list with clues as to the type of object that is represented each day of Christmas. If the kids work together, ask them to bring each item they find back to you. Alternatively, if they want to search on their own, make the child take pictures of each item she finds on a cell phone or digital camera so that the next person that comes along can find the item as well. For another type of scavenger hunt, hide one present for each member of the family. When you call out a specific family member, the kids must race around the house looking for that person's gift and bring it back to you. The kids get one point for each present they find. The person with the most points gets to open one present on Christmas Eve.