5 Great Games for Your Holiday Party

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During the holiday season I like to gather in groups. Family and friends come together just to hang out. Just to play. These are a few of our favorite games – they’re easy to understand, accessible, transportable, and instigators of hilarity.

From a Box

Apples to Apples


What’s great about this game is its simplicity. You’re comparing “red apples” to “green apples” by pairing nouns with adjectives. If someone presents the word “scary,” for example, you would respond with a noun – “vampires,” or “dentists,” or something totally off the wall like “Twitter.” The game gets fun when you play to the personalities of the group. What would they say in this situation? What will make them all laugh? Apples to Apples has a variety of editions, too, including travel, Disney, kids, and a spinoff called Cards Against Humanity. The latter is deliciously devious.



Spades. This is, hands down, my favorite card game, and all you need is a deck of cards. We play with a group of four, generally tournament style. It’s a game of both strategy and luck: Taking tricks, upsetting bets, victoriously trumping the opposing team’s highest play, and some of us going “Nilo” (betting zero at the beginning of a hand) at very inopportune times. There’s not a lot of speaking during a hand, but tensions are high and the energy is tangible.



Left Center Right is a game entirely of chance. It can be played with regular dice or with specific game dice that have L, C, and R and dots printed on them. You can play with chips, pennies, beads, popcorn, whatever you’re willing to gamble – creativity is encouraged. Roll the dice, pass your ante to the side indicated by the dice, pass the dice. This game is wonderfully easy, it’s perfect for a groups, and though there’s a winner, no one is ever “out.”

Holiday Game Apps

Words with Friends


I still play Words With Friends, and I still love it. I like words and I like friends. Playing multiple opponents at a time keeps it interesting, and adds different levels of challenge. The competition is fierce with some and we play for big points, coveting “triple word score” tiles and ten point letters. With others it’s just words. Pick a spot, find a word, play a word, and send a message. It’s social and keeps us connected – I have games going on in Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado – and it exercises the old brain. Available for Android and iOS.

Song Pop

A friend recently introduced me to Song Pop. It’s song recognition at high speeds. You can challenge others to guess from your own obscure playlist, but you have to be ready for theirs, too. Learning what my friends and family jam out to in their free time is entertaining, and I learn a lot about them. There is a lot of great music out there, and some not so much, but you will surprise yourself frequently by knowing the lyrics to both. Available for Android and iOS.

Happy gaming!

About the author

Alison Quinn

Alison Quinn

Travel and adventure are my favorite. Then reading and laughing and writing. And dancing! Wine, too. And music-definitely music. I think October is a quite superior time of year, and I always have glitter pens handy.

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