The best holiday gifts are the ones the whole family can start enjoying right away, such as games. Family games are the perfect activity to break up all the togetherness of the holiday season, and you can get back to the business of having fun.
It's not always easy to find games that the whole family can enjoy. The video games often leave out an entire generation, and with everyone staring at the screen, you're not really making any memories. Trivial Pursuit can be a nice "team" activity, but the game can drag on for hours, and the kids lose interest quickly.
This is a game that requires almost no ramp-up time and can involve a large crowd of people. Once you've popped three AAA batteries (not included, so be sure to bring them along) in the small unit, you're ready to go. Press a button to display a word on the screen. Then start giving as many clues as you want to get people to say what you need to hear. If the timer buzzes before your team gets the word, the other team gets a point, and the game moves on.
For this game, everyone grabs a partner. You can have as many teams of two playing as you like. Then one partner tries to get the other to guess a series of celebrity names over the course of three rounds. At first, you can give clues freely, but the later rounds add restrictions which do nothing to hold back the laughter. This is a fun game that easily spans several generations.
Cranium Family Edition
This is one of the great family games that kids and adults genuinely love playing. Team kids under 8 should pair with an older player. They then face off in a series of fun challenges that play to a variety of strengths in different categories. The game length is perfect for kids, and everyone will have to play their hardest to keep up. There are some rules to master with Cranium, but you can start playing in under 10 minutes, particularly if someone in the group has played the game before.
You're Pulling My Leg
Do you have a family with a sense of humor and a couple of kids (or adults!) with active imaginations? This is a fantastic family game that involves telling stories -- some true, some not -- and letting the rest of the family guess if you told the truth or not.
Beat the parents
Pit the parents against the kids in this terrific family game. Parents have to answer questions most kids can handle, and kids get the parents' questions. Keep in mind there are wild cards in the deck that can change things up in an instant. Play in teams and let everyone revel in knowing more than their opponents.
If you're looking to quiet things down a bit, Blokus is a strategy board game that kids as young as five can play. Adults will also be engrossed. The goal is to place all your pieces on the board according to specific rules (your piece can't be adjacent to your other pieces but has to touch at least one corner of the pieces already placed) while blocking your opponents. This game is for two to four players, so it can be a nice way to spend some quiet quality time with a younger child or two.
Family games are a great holiday activity. Games that encourage interaction can do a lot to lighten a mood and build relationships. And when the crazy factor gets too high, pull out a classic board game or two to take things down a notch.
For more fun family ideas: