There is a lot of pressure riding on the office Christmas party - it is that special time of year when everyone comes together to celebrate a year of working hard and (hopefully) hitting targets. If you are in charge of putting together the annual Christmas bash, it can be easy to let the stress get on top of you, as you fret about finding the perfect venue, the best caterers and the right sort of entertainment. While all of those things are super important (don’t forget SquareMeal offers a free-venue finding Concierge service to help you source the perfect location), we think that the most important thing an office Christmas party should be is...fun!
One way to make sure everyone enjoys themselves is by lining up some excellent Christmas party games that the whole office can get stuck into. Office Christmas bashes can be a bit awkward at first, as colleagues adjust to the idea of drinking in front of HR or meeting people from departments that they don’t really know, so party games are a great way of breaking the ice and making sure that people get into the festive spirit. They are also a brilliant way of instigating conversations between employees who might not typically work directly with each other - encouraging more friendships in the office can only ever be a good thing, right?
Christmas party games are also typically budget-friendly affairs, so they are a great source of entertainment if purse strings are tight this year. Most Christmas party games only require a few bits that you will probably already have lying around the office, so they are super easy to set up.
To help you plan an office Christmas party to remember, we have rounded up 10 of our favourite office Christmas party games below.
We’ll get the most obvious one out of the way first. A few weeks before the Christmas party, see who wants to participate in this time-honoured tradition, then set a budget limit (e.g. £10). Once you have the full list of people who want to take part, throw all of the names into a hat and have everyone draw one from the pile - the name they pick out is the person they have to buy a gift for. At the actual party, put everyone’s presents into a pile and open them all together, to see who has actually been thoughtful and who has gone for a classic gag gift.
Ugly Christmas jumper competition
One way to get everyone in the office to embrace their silly side is to host an ugly Christmas jumper competition. Colleagues are tasked with finding and wearing the ugliest Christmas jumper that they can get their hands on, or they could even have a go at making their own cringe-tastic creations at home. Christmas is of course a time for giving, so you could even have everyone donate £1 towards a chosen charity. However you decide to host your ugly Christmas jumper competition, make sure to have fun prizes for first, second and third place ready to go so that there’s a real incentive for everyone to join in on the fun.
Tree Dress Up Challenge
For this fun game, all you need is some willing volunteers and a box full of Christmas tree decorations - think baubles, tinsel and garlands. Split your colleagues up into teams and elect a judging panel. Next, volunteer one person from each group to be the ‘tree’ and have the rest of their team decorate them with the ornaments. At the end of the allotted time period, the judging panel can pick their winner (don’t forget to take pics of each contestant too for blackmail purposes!)
Emoji Guessing Game
Gen Z employees, now is your time to shine! For this fun head scratcher, mock up a faux hymn sheet on one of the company PCs and fill it with the names of famous Christmas carols or songs, but in emoji form. Then, set a timer and task your colleagues with trying to guess the name of each song - whoever guesses the most songs correctly is the winner.
What’s in the stocking?
One fun way to get people chatting to each other (and bring out their competitive side) is to play a game of ‘what’s in the stocking?’All you have to do is fill a Christmas stocking with a range of small objects. Ideally, you would use Christmas-themed items such as a bauble or a Christmas cracker, but really you can just use whatever you can get your hands on. Once the stocking is full, pass it round among your team and have each person guess what the contents are, using only their sense of touch. The person to guess the most items correctly wins a prize, plus bragging rights for the rest of the year.
Blind Christmas tree
We could tell you that this game is the perfect way to get people’s creative juices flowing, but in reality it’s essentially a recipe for disaster that will result in plenty of laughs. For the blind Christmas tree challenge, each participant needs to be blindfolded and given a piece of green paper (if people don’t want to be blindfolded, they can instead hold the paper behind their back). Then, give each person 30 seconds to try and mould the paper into the shape of a Christmas tree simply by ripping it. Whoever has the most realistic looking tree at the end wins, although in our experience, no one's tree looks that realistic…
The Great Christmas Bake Off
Ok, so this one isn’t exactly a game, but it is a fun way to get people excited about Christmas and introduce a bit of healthy competition to proceedings. Inspired by everyone’s favourite genteel reality show, The Great British Bake Off, this task challenges your colleagues to bring in their most impressive Christmas bake - think homemade mince pies, a chocolate yule log or a classic Christmas cake. You can decide on categories that the bakes will be judged on and get everyone in the office involved in the tasting. Make sure to award a prize or trophy to the winner, while everyone else will just be happy to enjoy some sweet treats.
It would hardly be a Christmas party without a game of charades, now would it? A firm favourite, this simple and easy game where people are tasked with acting out film, song or book titles in total silence is always plenty of fun and is particularly handy if budgets are tight, as you don’t need to buy anything extra. To give the game a festive twist, ask your colleagues to act out their favourite Christmas films, books or carols.
Everybody loves a quiz at an office Christmas party and it is also super easy to add a festive twist to your quiz rounds. Why not play the first few seconds of a Christmas song and see if the teams can guess the name, or show them a promotional picture for a famous Christmas film but remove the title and have each team try to guess what it is. Quizzes are also an easy way to mix up the different teams in the office and get people talking to someone that they normally wouldn’t have much interaction with.
Who Am I? Christmas Edition
This simple, easy Christmas party game requires very little prep and equipment, making it a great option if you have blown all of the allocated budget on booze. All you need is a marker pen and some sticky notes: simply write out the name of a famous festive figure (Father Christmas, Rudolph etc.), stick it to someone’s forehead and have them try and guess who you are. To make it harder, the participants are only allowed to ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions.
Haven’t found a venue for the Christmas party yet? Check out our pick of the best private dining rooms for Christmas in London.