Christmas parties are always great fun! How about livening up your party this Christmas with a game of Dirty Santa! As the title suggests, this Christmas group game has a dirty twist to it which will have everyone in fits of laughter. It is important that players don’t take it too seriously. The game is suitable for kids and adults and can be played at family Christmas parties, work/company parties and Christmas parties for kids. I play Dirty Santa every Christmas with the students in my class. They love it!
The Aim of the Game
Everyone to have hilarious fun stealing gifts from one another… and each player to receive a little gift!
Before the Christmas Party
It is important to let guests know beforehand what to expect with playing a Christmas group game, so that they can come prepared. On your Christmas invites, let people know that you’ll be playing Dirty Santa. Give them the game rules and the expectations with the gift they are to bring- cost, theme and how to wrap it.
Type of Gift to Bring to the Game
With a group of about fifteen people it will take an hour to play. With more people, they game will need to be hastened (see tip below), otherwise it takes too long. Everyone who plays brings along a wrapped gift and places it secretly under the Christmas tree. Keep the gifts to an agreed low cost. It can be fun when people make them. The gifts can be serious or funny (or with adults a little rude!). For company Christmas parties you may like to have a theme for the gifts. With kids I keep the cost to about $10.
The gifts must be wrapped well and creatively to disguise what’s enclosed. Giving multiple layers of wrapping is fun, or have a small gift in a large wrapped box will fool those with ‘big eyes’. Try adding a scent to the wrapping, such as perfume.
Getting Started with Playing Dirty Santa
The host must explain the Dirty Santa game rules to the group so that everyone knows what’s expected. Keep it light-hearted.
Have everyone’s name go into a hat (alternatively everyone has a table number that corresponds with a matching number in the hat). A name/number is drawn and that person gets to select a gift from under the Christmas tree. The player opens it and keeps it visible for others to see in front of them.
The hat is passed around and another name/number is drawn. This person has a choice, either select a present from under the tree, or steal the first persons unwrapped present. If they take the present from the first player, then this player selects a new present from under the tree.
Now there are two players, each with an unwrapped present in front of them.
The hat is passed and another name/number is drawn. Once again, this player can either select a present from under the tree or steal from one of the two players with opened presents in front of them. If someone’s unwrapped gift is stolen, then that person can either steal from another player, or go fetch a new present.
The game continues until all the presents have been taken from under the Christmas tree.
Keeping the Flow
With large groups, Dirty Santa can drag on for too long. To keep it short and moving along, have all players firstly select a gift from under the Christmas tree. Once everyone has a gift, then allow for the stealing to take place. This will be manic as people rush about taking one another’s gifts! With large groups, it is important to set a time limit using a timer. Say five minutes.
An alternative, is to restrict the number of times a gift can be stolen from a player to just three times. Once the player has been stolen from three times, that player is out of the game and they place their gift out of view. This is the gift they get to keep!
With smaller groups, there is no need to hold off the stealing until the end. Allow more time for stealing. This can take place throughout the game, rather than at the end. It is still a good idea to set a limit to the number of times a player can be stolen from to three.
When a player is stolen from, they are not permitted to steal the same gift back again. They need to wait for another opportunity to steal back a ‘favourite’ gift.
Now You’re Dirty Santa Christmas Party Game is All Set to Go!
Christmas time is a fun occasion for everyone! Dirty Santa is an awesome addition to Christmas parties! Combined with good food, bon-bons, festive music, dance and other Christmas party games, this upcoming Christmas will be one to remember!