The 10 Best Holiday Office Party Games & How to Play Them

The 10 Best Holiday Office Party Games & How to Play Them

Planning an office party for the holidays is no easy feat. The event planner or planning team is in charge of organizing an event that is fun, festive, and affordable. You’re responsible for planning a party your coworkers will want to attend and, even more importantly, a party they’ll enjoy. Luckily, choosing the right office holiday party games can help guarantee that your seasonal shindig is a smashing success.

In this list, we’re reviewing some of our favorite adult holiday games. We’ve scoured the internet, asked our friends, and prepared a list of creative and challenging office holiday party games your coworkers will actually want to play. Say goodbye to bobbing for apples and lengthy rounds of Secret Santa (Although we love those, too!). Embrace fresh, new out-of-the-box party game ideas for this year’s office holiday party.

Find fun and festive office holiday party games your coworkers will love

1. “Best Dressed” desk decorating competition

The first game on our list begins before the actual party does. Announce an office-wide desk decorating competition a week or two before the event. Outline the materials employees can use to decorate their desks or cubicle areas, like paper, garland, balloons, glitter, streamers, etc. Set a timeline that details when participants can work on their designs, such as the week leading up to the party, and confirm that all decorations must be complete before the party begins.

During the party, guests walk around, view the designs, and judge the competition. Everyone can vote for the best-decorated desk, and the participant with the most votes wins the competition. To encourage employee participation, promote an exciting prize for the winner, such as an additional vacation day, gift certificate, or even a cash prize.

  • How to win: Earn the most votes for the “Best Dressed” desk.
  • What you’ll need: desk decorations and crafting materials, voting slips
  • Why we love it: A desk decorating competition encourages creativity and self-expression; it promotes event engagement and employee enthusiasm. One of our favorite office holiday party games, this competition can also help turn the office into a winter wonderland, bringing the magic of the holidays into the workplace.

2. Coworker Christmas bingo

Christmastime coworker bingo is a fun event icebreaker that can help ease the tension and encourage employees to get to know one another. The game works like other versions of bingo, and the object of the game is to earn bingo by completing a line of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on the bingo board. In this version, bingo squares contain personal details or individual characteristics such as:

  • Eldest sibling
    • Speaks more than one language
    • Name starts with a “B”

To play, participants must find coworkers matching the card’s traits or characteristics. After doing so, the player may mark the corresponding characteristic square as complete. The twist: players can only collect one fact from each coworker, which encourages mingling amongst party guests.

  • How to win: Be the first to complete a row on your Bingo card and proclaim, “BINGO!”
  • What you’ll need: bingo cards, festive bingo markers (e.g., snowflakes, Christmas trees, or other seasonal shapes)
  • Why we love it: Holiday bingo is easy to put together and play, and it’s perfect for offices that host cocktail parties to celebrate the holidays. It’s a terrific way to get the party started and spark exciting conversations.

3. Holiday-themed Minute to Win It

Creative and Christmassy, this holiday-themed office-friendly version of the famous Minute to Win It game puts a festive spin on classic party games. For example, instead of playing traditional ring toss, add a hint of holiday flair by setting up “Reindeer Ring Toss.” Purchase an inflatable reindeer and challenge participants to land five rings on the reindeer’s antlers in one minute.

Turn the fan-favorite party game of stacking solo cups into a winter-themed workplace competition. Decorate solo cups to look like various parts of a Christmas tree. For example, one row of cups should look like string lights, and the top cup should reflect the tree topper. Challenge participants to solve the puzzle in less than one minute by correctly stacking the cups to create a decorated Christmas tree.

Another of our favorite holiday Minute to Win It games is Candy Cane Grab. Each player holds a candy cane in their mouth from the straight end, with the hook end sticking out. Each player has one minute to grab as many candy canes as possible from a bowl in front of them, using only the hooked end of the candy cane in their mouth. After one minute, the player who grabbed the most candy canes is named the winner.

  • How to win: Complete challenges in one minute or less.
  • What you’ll need: Solo cups, Christmas cards, candy canes, and other affordable materials (will vary based on chosen games)
  • Why we love it: It’s fun, silly, and high-energy. Minute to Win It is an excellent game for party planners who fear coworkers may not participate, as it helps to break down guest inhibitions.

4. Holiday movie-themed Pictionary

Played just like standard Pictionary, our holiday-themed game version focuses on a single clue category: holiday movies.Provide each team with a drawing easel set up with a whiteboard and dry-erase markers; you can also use a large easel pad. During the game, groups perform one at a time.

One player from each team selects an unknown movie title from a Santa hat or festive bowl. Using pictures only, the player must attempt to portray the movie’s title, prompting their teammates to guess it correctly within the designated time limit. For each title guessed correctly, the team earns a point. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins.

  • How to win: Get your partner or teammates to correctly guess the title of a Christmas or holiday movie using only images before the time runs out.
  • What you’ll need: Whiteboards or sticky easel pads and dry-erase markers
  • Why we love it: Holiday Movie Pictionary is a silly and engaging game that encourages partygoers to think creatively. It doesn’t require players to have artistic talent, just quick thinking skills, and it’s a wonderful option for office holiday parties on a budget.

5. Emoji codebreaking race

Challenge your coworkers to crack as many holiday-themed emoji codes as they can. Print a list of pictographs that use standard emojis to spell out the titles of holiday movies, songs, or phrases. Hosts can easily set this game up in two separate ways, depending on how difficult they would like the challenge to be.

For a less challenging and faster game, set a time limit in which participants must crack as many codes as possible. At the end of the time limit, the player with the most correct codes wins. To make the game more challenging, eliminate the time limit, but require players to guess every answer correctly to win.

  • How to win: Crack as many holiday emoji codes as possible.
  • What you’ll need: Printed lists of emoji codes and writing utensils
  • Why we love it: Emoji codes are fun to crack, but they are also fun to create! Both party planners and partygoers will enjoy this game.

6. “Tree” trimming competition

Instead of decking the halls, you’ll decorate your coworkers in this office holiday party game. To begin, divide party attendees into groups of three to five, leaving one or two employees out to function as judges. Provide each team with ornaments and decorations. Request volunteers from each group, or instruct teams to nominate one member who will serve as the “tree.”

Once each team has a prop-person prepared, the judges will announce the start time, and each group will have ninety seconds to decorate their coworker in the most crafty, creative way possible. When time is up, the judges will review each team’s trimming efforts and announce the winner of the speed-decorating competition.

  • How to win: Win the title of “Best Dressed” by having the most creatively decorated coworker.
  • What you’ll need: To host a coworker trimming competition, you’ll need traditional tree trimming items, like garland, tinsel, plastic ornaments, string lights, and a terrific tree topper.
  • Why we love it: A lightning-fast “tree” trimming competition will surely provide the staff with hilarious, one-of-a-kind photos that will keep you laughing for years.

7. Jingle bell hunt

One of the loudest office party holiday games on our list, a jingle bell hunt is as silly as it is competitive. Before the office holiday party begins, hide jingle bells all over the place: in planters, under the copier, or even in the team fridge. Provide each participant a thematic tote bag or holiday basket to hold the jingle bells they collect. During the hunt, players compete to find as many jingle bells hidden throughout the office before the time limit ends.

  • How to win: Collect more hidden jingle bells than any other player during the time limit.
  • What you’ll need: Jingle bells and tote bags or baskets
  • Why we love it: As employees frantically hunt for and collect hidden jingle bells, the noise level will rise, and hilarity will surely ensue. The more bells you hide, and the better you hide them, the funnier the competition will be.

8. Forbidden Words

This game helps switch things up, encouraging employees to have out-of-the-ordinary conversations by avoiding standard holiday party chit-chat. Compile a list of topics commonly discussed at holiday parties, such as:

Upon arrival, provide each guest a holiday-themed necklace, preferably with bells, and a list of the forbidden words. If a player speaks any of the forbidden words or discusses off-limits topics, the first person who overhears it gets to take their necklace and wear it. If you have a necklace at any time, you are at risk of losing it. At the end of the holiday party, the player with the most necklaces is named the winner.

  • How to win: Be the player with the most jingle bell necklaces at the end of the party.
  • What you’ll need: jingle bell necklaces and a list of forbidden words
  • Why we love it: Forbidden Words is one of our favorite office holiday party games because it can strengthen employee bonds and foster community in the workplace. By breaching unfamiliar territory, coworkers may be surprised to uncover that they have things in common.

9. Stocking stuffer guessing game

To play the stocking stuffer guessing game, stuff a stocking with ten random items. The items may be holiday-themed, such as candy canes or ornaments, or you can choose random objects from the office, like a tape dispenser, post-it notes, or a stapler. Fill the stocking with the selected items, ensuring no items are visible from the top.

Provide each participant with a notepad and pen before passing the stocking around the group, one by one. Give each employee one minute to feel the stocking, predicting as many items as possible before passing it to the next person in line. They will then write their guesses on a piece of paper, placing it facedown until the game is over. The player who correctly identifies the most items wins the game.

  • How to win: Using your sense of touch, correctly identify as many items stuffed in the stocking as you can without seeing them.
  • What you’ll need:  A stocking, ten random items, notepads, and pens
  • Why we love it: Other than a stocking, you won’t need to purchase any items to play this game.

10. Holiday “Guess Who?”

Before the date of the party, ask all attendees to bring a holiday photo from their childhood. The photographs could showcase staff members in their favorite holiday sweaters, opening gifts, baking cookies, or participating in other seasonal activities. As each employee arrives, collect their photos, and add them to an office-wide display.

Label each image with a number. Provide numbered lists to each player, and challenge employees to match as many attending coworkers to their childhood photos as possible. The employee who correctly matches the most photos is the winner.

  • How to win: Match as many of your coworkers to their picture as possible.
  • What you’ll need: One childhood photo from each player, photo display (e.g., cork board, bulletin board, decorative display), numbered lists, pens
  • Why we love it: If you’re looking for office holiday party games that celebrate culture, diversity, and community, Guess Who is a great place to start. Display diverse family traditions and celebration styles, or find some friendly ammunition for future jokes.

Should an office holiday party include drinking games?

While many corporate Christmas parties and holiday office events include alcohol, we recommend avoiding actual “drinking games.” Drinking games encourage consuming alcohol as part of the game, often as a penalty for player mistakes. It’s best to avoid overconsumption opportunities at work events, as it could lead to unfortunate circumstances that could ultimately affect someone’s comfort in the office or employment.

What if I forget to plan office holiday party games?

Whether you’re planning an office party or a holiday family gathering, you’re responsible for a lot, and it can be easy to forget an item on your to-do list. One of the best things about our list of office holiday party games is that several highlighted games come together in just a few minutes. If you forget to plan games or activities, reference this post for help, and use a party planning checklist to help keep you on track during the planning process.

Pick your favorite office holiday party games, and start planning!

Now that we have covered the holiday season, and you’re all set with a list of ten energetic and unique office holiday party games to play, let’s explore some other event ideas. You may be responsible for planning various office events, corporate parties, or fundraisers throughout the year. To help you plan exciting and unique events time after time, we’re exploring twenty-five corporate event themes for unforgettable company parties next!

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