Do most of your holiday activities at Christmas time consist of Christmas shopping, eating, sending Christmas cards, watching holiday classics on TV, and stressing out about all you have to get done?
Maybe you have a large holiday party to plan and need a way to entertain your holiday celebration party guests regardless of their age.
We chose the following Christmas games specifically with seniors and the elderly in mind.
Still, they will be enjoyable to play for the entire family at all holiday festivities, including your family celebration at home or your office holiday party.
Many are also suitable for a Christmas Eve game night with small groups of people of mixed age groups.
Here you’ll find a selection of simple games, funny Christmas party games for family parties or senior residents in nursing homes or assisted living communities, safe fun for people with limited mobility, entertaining table games, and even a few Christmas activities for people with dementia.
We’ve covered them all below so that you will find something for everyone this holiday season.
Easy Christmas Games for Active Seniors
1. One-Handed Team Gift-Wrapping
Can you wrap a present using only one hand? Probably not, but what if you had a teammate with only one hand?
Join teams of two and have the teammates stand next to each other. Then have them hold their inside arms (the ones next to each other) behind their back. Tie them together to make sure they don’t cheat if you’d like.
Give each group a box to wrap, wrapping paper, tape, ribbon – and a bow, of course. Precut the wrapping paper to eliminate the need for scissors for extra safety.
Then, the players can only use their hands that are not tied behind their backs to wrap the boxes. Make them tie their own bow with the ribbon for an extra degree of difficulty.
The team that successfully wraps their present in the fastest time wins!
2. Pass the Snowball
Get a large, white inflated ball and write amusing and interesting questions on it with a permanent marker. If you can’t find a white ball, a beach ball would work too!
Then, the players toss the ball around the group. Whoever catches it must answer the question located underneath their right index finger. So, make sure the marker has dried completely to avoid a mess!
3. Find Santa’s Missing Sock
This game is a fun activity that serves as an ice-breaker for large groups of people that may not know each other well.
Ask everyone to remove one sock before entering the room. Next, give each person a sock that belongs to someone else.
Then, tell everyone to find the person who owns the sock and then strike up a discussion with them for two minutes, preferably about something other than the sock. They might just make some new friends!
Play Christmas Carol Pictionary or charades with only words and phrases connected to Christmas.
For example, use activities associated with Christmas, such as crafting a snow angel, decorating the Christmas tree, building a gingerbread home, unwrapping presents, singing Christmas carols, and drinking hot chocolate.
Alternatively, you couple play this classic game with a series of Christmas songs or movies.
This site has 150 phrases to get you started.
5. Dance Freeze
This fun variation of musical chairs mixes gameplay with exercise and is an excellent choice for groups of active seniors to play with fellow assisted living residents.
Make sure a large area is cleared of obstacles and safety hazards, then gather your group.
Play some loud and energetic Christmas music and get everyone up dancing. Then, everyone has to freeze once the music stops.
The last person to freeze should face a punishment, such as having to tell a Christmas joke or answer a math or Christmas trivia question.
The real object of this game is to keep everyone active and playing, so try not to get people “out.”
Christmas Party Group Games for Groups of Seniors/Elderly
Games are an essential part of planning a Christmas party for seniors. Here are our favorites!
1. Pin the Nose on Rudolph
Pin the Nose on Rudolph is a holiday twist on the popular Pin the Tail on the Donkey game. You are just pinning a different part.
You can use any Rudolph decoration you might already have with red pom-poms or paper circles with tape on the back. Amazon also sells premade kits if you aren’t feeling crafty.
Blindfold the person and have them try to get the nose in the right spot. Of course, evaluate the group you are playing with to determine if spinning and blindfolds are safe.
Other variations include Pin the Nose on the Snowman, Pin the Heart on the Grinch, or Pin the Nose on Olaf. You can easily modify this game to fit any character you have on hand.
2. Grab the (Candy) Cane
The players will need a deck of cards, at least three other people, and some candy canes (one less than the number of players) placed in the center to play.
Each player in the circle is dealt four cards and sits facing the center.
Using a series of draws and discards, each player tries to get four of a kind. The first one to get it quickly grabs a candy cane from the table.
Then all the other players immediately grab one too. The person without one is “out!”
3. Shake Your (Christmas) Balls
This game is, without a doubt, the most amusing party game ever!
Form a team, and have each player strap on an empty tissue box stuffed with mini Christmas balls (small chocolates or pom-poms work well).
Each participant then shakes what their mother gave them until they emptied the tissue box.
If they can shake and laugh at the same time, that is!
4. Christmas Drawings on Paper Plates
Have each player place a sturdy paper plate on their head and have them draw a specific image while it’s up there! Of course, the players cannot take a peek at what they’re drawing until the very end.
This quick, quirky and enjoyable game is one that people of all ages will enjoy during holiday gatherings. It’s also a simple exercise in range of motion and fine motor skill movements!
5. Santa, Tell Me | Toilet Paper Game
All you need is a roll of toilet paper for this ice-breaker game.
Have everyone pass a roll of toilet paper around the circle and have them rip off as many squares as they would like.
Don’t tell them until the end that they must reveal one fact about themselves for each square they took off the roll!
6. Name the Carol
What’s a Christmas party without the Christmas carols, right? Essentially, this game is Name That Tune, using only Christmas songs.
Play a series of Christmas song snippets and have each person write down their guess – without discussing it. The person who gets the most correct is declared the winner.
For added difficulty, have them also name the artist performing that particular version.
7. Secret Santa
Planning a Secret Santa gift exchange may give your group a memorable experience of laughter and camaraderie.
Set a reasonable spending limit for each small gift. Then have everyone draw names in advance, or they can simply bring a gift to the party and have people select gifts randomly.
8. The Santa Hat Game
Cut small pieces of paper for each person attending the party and write “You’re It” on only one of them.
As your guests arrive at the party, hand everyone a Santa hat and have them draw a piece of paper from the bowl. Instruct them not to reveal what they drew.
The party-goers must remove their hats whenever the “It” person does. And the longer they wait to do it, the better. See the full rules here.
9. Cluster Game
Spread your group out so that no one can touch another player.
Pick a person to be the “Cluster” caller who chooses a random number for clustering groups. For example, if the caller shouts, “cluster of four,” everyone must quickly form into groups of four.
Those who didn’t join a group in time are “out.” The play continues until only two people are left.
10. Christmas Candy Jar
This Christmas version of the “How Many Things Are In a Jar” game is familiar to all. Use Christmas candies, candy canes, popcorn, marshmallows, peppermints, or even small Christmas cookies or miniature Christmas ornaments.
Just have the attendees write down their guess and place it into a box. Then, see who got the closest. The jar itself could even be the prize.
Christmas Table Games for Seniors
1. Guess the Age
This game requires a bit of pre-planning, but it’s worth it.
Have everyone bring a picture of themselves when they were young. Mark the back with their name and stick a number on the front with a sticky note. Then, put them all up on a corkboard.
Have everyone write down their guess of the identity for each number. The winner is the person who gets the most correct!
2. Memories Bring Back Memories
A significant part of playing games with the seniors and the elderly is reminiscing.
Gather everyone in a circle and have them share a fact about themselves.
Examples are what they loved doing when they were little, how old they were when they married, or even their favorite Christmas memories, toys, and gifts.
Once everyone has had a turn, test everyone’s memory by having them write down what each person said. The person who gets the most correct memories wins!
This game is a great way to meet new people, reconnect with old ones, or even discover new hobbies. And it will bring back some good times and make you giggle.
3. Holiday How “Doo” You Do
This game is straightforward but will give everyone a good laugh!
To win this holiday-themed game, you’ll need to “doo” your way to success by singing well-known Christmas tunes and having your teammates identify them.
The challenge is that you can’t use the song’s words – you can only use the term “doo” when singing, so be careful!
4. Christmas Movie Bingo
This version of Christmas bingo for seniors is a printable Christmas game that uses playing cards and your favorite holiday movies.
Start with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life, or A Christmas Story, which are our personal favorites.
Prepare for a Christmas movie night with popcorn, brownies, and hot cocoa. A great way to engage everyone in the holiday spirit is to print off multiple copies of Christmas Movie Bingo.
To play, save a copy of the Christmas Bingo card, then print off as many copies as you need to include all of your loved ones.
Put a button or candy in a box on your bingo board whenever you see something on TV that matches an item on your list.
Whoever finishes a whole row first gets an extra mug of cocoa!
Safe Christmas Games for People with Mobility Problems
1. Guess What’s in the Stocking
Stockings can be more than just decoration during the holidays. Gather as many as possible and use them for this engaging sensory game! You could play this game with Santa hats too.
All you will need are stockings, various small objects that will fit inside, paper, and a pen. Please ensure the objects are safe for people to touch and rub as they play the game.
Place the various objects you’ve collected inside the stocking. The players aren’t required to be blindfolded, but if you want to go the extra mile, feel free to do so!
Each player can take turns trying to feel around inside the stocking before writing down what they think is inside of it. The players should write their answers so that no one down the line gets a clue before they’ve had a turn.
The winner is declared by seeing who correctly guesses what’s inside the stocking.
2. Christmas Alphabet List
This Christmas game is quick, easy, and enjoyable – one that many older adults can enjoy without even standing up from their seats.
All you need is a pen and paper. Then, write the Alphabet vertically on each piece. You could also spell out Merry Christmas instead.
To play, have your guests write a Christmas-themed word or phrase that starts with each letter. For example, you can write “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” for the letter R.
Make it more challenging by choosing a category such as Christmas movie characters, popular holiday songs, movies, holiday decorations, etc.
You can play this game individually or in small or large groups depending on your party’s size.
If you want to have a winner, then the fastest team who completes the alphabet list wins!
If you and your loved ones like Monopoly, you’ll love this Christmas edition of the game. It’s like Monopoly, but with Christmas spirit.
Like the popular game, you acquire, mortgage, and sell Christmas-themed buildings.
This game has several benefits to its Monopoly concept. It’s a great family game for two to six players. It has a Christmas motif with a reindeer, teddy bear, Scrooge, candy cane, and black coal.
This game’s colorful and distinctive characters make it appealing to people of all ages! Plus, it doesn’t (literally) require moving from one place to another!
4. Christmas Memory Matching Game
Christmas is about making joyful memories with family members and friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also master some essential skills.
This game is for you if you want to strengthen your loved one’s memory-matching skills. Have them memorize or analyze the cards, flip them over and pick the matches.
Christmas Memory Match is a colorful game for two to four players that doesn’t require counting or spelling. All they need to do is remember the card images!
You can print a couple of these Christmas Memory Match games from here!
5. Twelve Days
Inspired by the carol 12 Days of Christmas, this beautifully designed card game will liven up your holiday events.
The 12 Days Game uses standard card-playing techniques, but there are subtle reminders of Christmas, such as giving cards as gifts. Players need a gift card or Santa or Mrs. Claus card to win.
This is a fun game that is appropriate for any time of the year, not just Christmas. The cards use numbers, so you can play even if you don’t speak English. The instructions are all you need!
Easy Christmas Games for People with Dementia
1. Card Games
What’s convenient about card games is that you wouldn’t have to introduce new mechanics to the person with dementia.
They’re probably already familiar with the game, so you don’t have to go through the basics. It sparks up memories of the patient, too.
Plus, card games strengthen concentration, problem-solving skills, memory, and reasoning for people with dementia.
Card games are also ideal for encouraging interaction between seniors.
A few classic easy card games that senior loved ones with dementia will find amusing are Go Fish or War. Many can even enjoy a quick game of Uno!
2. Santa Says
Movement games are ideal for people with dementia. Their balance and coordination can gradually improve as long as they move out and about.
Played the same as Simon Says, they will surely enjoy a quick game of Santa Says during the holidays! Choose a leader to give fun but simple commands.
Even better, have the leader dress up as Santa or the Grinch to make the game even more festive – as long as the people playing aren’t frightened by characters.
3. Musical Chairs
Another well-known game that your seniors might already know is Musical Chairs. But, you may not want elderly loved ones clamoring for seats which could lead to injuries or falls.
A safer way to play musical chairs with older adults is to use a drawing to eliminate players. Here’s how this works:
- Have the same number of chairs as you have players, and number each chair with a sticky note. Play the music (Christmas music, in this case) and then have each player choose a chair.
- Because there are chairs for everyone, there is no need to scramble or run to a chair, and caregivers can assist them with finding a chair.
- Then, draw a number, and eliminate the person in the seat with that number.
- To continue, remove the highest-numbered seat and its corresponding number from the drawing bowl.
- The last person left wins!
4. Various Word and Board Games
Both word and board games can also benefit the senior’s mental health since playing the classics help them recall memories of playing those earlier.
Plus, you can easily match the difficulty with the player’s cognitive level. For example, a word-matching game or Christmas word search may be simpler than a full game of Scrabble or Boggle.
To make the games more festive, have them only use Christmas-themed words as entries. You can even divide the participants into teams for a more collaborative experience.
On the other hand, board games are ideal for improving visual tracking skills and hand-eye coordination.
A casual game of Qwirkle, checkers, Christmas Scattergories, Family Feud, or Connect Four can be perfect for bonding over hot cocoa on a cold winter night.
Infographic: Christmas Games for Seniors
We hope that you’ve found this list of fun holiday and Christmas games for seniors and the elderly useful and encouraging.
If so, we would appreciate a share on your favorite social media. If you want to add games to the list, please let us know in the comments below!