Gather up your housemates and all the gifts you’ve tucked away in your closet, because there are new festive memories to be made right at home. Despite staying in for holiday activities with your housemates this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it’s time to put on your Santa hat, crank up the tunes, and play these creative holiday gift exchange games with your housemates.
As noted by the guidelines for holiday celebrations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was updated on Dec. 10, 2020, it’s crucial to limit your gatherings to only the people in your immediate household in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Don’t fret, though. You can still sit around the Christmas tree with your roommates, belt out "Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt, and swap presents with these holiday gift exchange games.
For some of the games, you may need to snag a deck of cards, a game board with tree-rific pieces, or the candy canes laying around your kitchen. Once you do, yule be ready to snap some adorable pics and let the jolly good times roll.
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1. Left Center Right With Candy Canes
Have you ever played the game Left Center Right ($7, Barnes & Noble) before? If not, it goes a little like this: Each player starts a round with three candy canes in front of them. When it’s your turn, you’ll roll three dice, which will tell you where to pass your candy canes (left, right, or center). As the rounds go on, the last person remaining with a candy cane in front of them wins all.
2. The Great Ornament Hunt
Prior to playing "The Great Ornament Hunt," your housemates should decorate ornaments. Then, they can tuck them into the coziest nooks of your home so each person will find one to keep during your gift exchange festivities. After "hunting" for ornaments, each housemate will be left with new and festive decor to hang up in their space.
3. Guess That Holiday Candle
You and your housemates might have a slight obsession with holiday candles. Test your deep knowledge of the various scents and play "Guess That Holiday Candle."
For this sensory game, each roomie will need to cover their eyes with their hands or a blindfold, and take a whiff of a non-lit candle. They’ll have 30 seconds to guess the name of the scent, with the option to also name what retailer it’s from. Whoever guesses correctly gets to keep that candle.
"Wishlist" is all about daydreaming about what you and your housemates hope the new year holds. For this game, jot a bunch of your dreams down on separate slips of paper. Toss all slips into a basket and shuffle them around. Have each roomie take a turn reading one off, and guessing whose dream it is.
To spice up this game, play it while decorating sugar cookies or telling your friends how you’ll support them as they try to make their dreams a reality. After all, friendship is a gift in itself.
5. Ribbon Racers
Practice your present wrapping skills before playing "Ribbon Racers." This game is a fast-paced challenge between you and one of your housemates. As soon as the designated judge says "go," you and your roomie will be tasked to completely wrap a present as quickly as you can. This might include a name tag, a bow, and holiday wrapping paper.
Once someone finishes and says, "done," the round is over and the judge will step in to rate the presents on creativity, speed, and overall #look. The judge role rotates. The housemate with the most points at the very end wins a festive prize, like a gingerbread house kit.
6. Let’s Take An Elfie
You may be so excited to give your housemates the presents you shopped for and put under the tree. But, take a second to play "Let’s Take An Elfie" before opening up your gifts.
Grab a bunch of decor from around your home, including at least one wrapped present. Then, try to take and edit the most creative picture, using a camera or phone, and the Lightroom mobile app.
Once each of your housemates has done the same, post all of your photos on Instagram, and ask your followers to vote for their favorite in the comments. The housemate with the most votes towards the end of the night gets to pick a holiday movie you’ll watch together.
7. Christmas Bingo
The perk of Christmas Bingo ($7, Etsy) is that you can get your extended family and long-distance friends involved, or simply play with your housemates. If you choose to have others play, tell each person to purchase and print this festive card, and hop on a virtual gathering via FaceTime or Zoom.
The card works like this: If you’ve completed the activity in the box during December, or have the specified item set up in your room, you can cross it off. Each person who crosses of a whole row can win a prize, like a holiday cookie gram.
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