School Holiday Games: Gifting or Just Fun (freebies included)

I’m always looking for new holiday party ideas for my students.  Since I don’t have a full classroom, space is always a consideration as well as time and costs.

Overstuff My Stocking

This fun Stocking Stuffer Game is always a hit!  It is also a time I re-purpose all of those Halloween trinkets and mini erasers that I purchased in October.  I typically have a surplus of mini erasers, mini pumpkin balls, and Dracula teeth and wind up toys that I combine with all of my Christmas trinkets for this favorite game!

Note: This game can either be a team relay or a one on one competition.

What Do I Need To Play: You will need two Christmas Stockings, a bowl full of stocking stuffer trinkets (minis, candy, small toys) and two spoons.  I like to use giant spoons!

How Do I Set Up:  Hang the stockings with a COMMAND strip (to make sure they are securely hanging.  Place a large bowl full of the stocking stuffer trinkets and candy on the floor between stockings.  Give each player a spoon.

How Do I Play: Countdown 5…4…3…2…1…GO! Each students races to scoop a spoonful of items and fill the stocking to the brim.  I typically allow 60-90 seconds.  The first player to fill the stocking OR the stocking with the most items at the sound of the buzzer wins the game!

insta christmas games

ELF Delivery

What Do I Need To Play: You will need a variety of small, medium and large wrapped boxes.

How Do I Set Up:  Place all of the wrapped packages on one side of the room and designate elf delivery locations for the two teams.  Download the free elf delivery signs here: Elf Delivery Station 1   Elf Delivery Station 2

How Do I Play: Countdown 5…4…3…2…1…GO! One by one, each elf will pick up as many packages as he/she can carry and quickly deliver to the delivery hub (marked by the elf delivery sign) at the other end of the room.  If an elf drops a package, he/she may not stop to pick it up; however, the following elf (next student in line) may stop to pick it up on his/her delivery.  Watch out, if an elf stops to retrieve a fallen package and drops some of his/her packages, he/she must return to the starting area resulting in a delivery of ZERO packages.  Each team may choose to send out a recovery elf.  This elf leaves the starting area without packages and his/her goal is to retrieve all dropped packages and deliver them to the package tower.

When the elf reaches the delivery station, he/she must stack his/her packages on top of the last elf’s delivery.  HINT: The packages may need to be rearranged in order to support each other (larger packages are better on the bottom of the tower and smaller packages are best at the top).

The winning team will successfully deliver the most packages to the ELF Delivery Area & have the tallest gift tower.


Set up six to ten cups in bowling pin formation at opposite ends of your table. One player stands at each end of the table, and you take turns tossing jingle bells towards the opposite side’s cup formation. You get two bells to toss per turn, one at a time. Remove cups as the opposing side gets bells in them. The first player to get a bell in every cup wins. (Click here for variations in gameplay)

Merry Book-mas Christmas Party Game

Everyone brings a wrapped book (nothing fancy)!  It can be any book or you can choose a theme like any holiday book (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s day, St. Patricks day, 4th of July…).  Next, tape number cards on the books.  The game starts when each student is holding a book while standing in a giant circle around the room.

Insta Merry Bookmas

The student holding book #1 will roll a giant die and follow the corresponding task.  Next, the student holding book #2 will roll…  Gameplay ends when everyone has opened his/her book.

PASS RIGHT – All students pass to the right.

PASS LEFT – All students pass to the left.

SWAP – The student that rolled may swap books with any other student.

OPEN – The student that rolled may open his/her book.

TRADE – The student that rolled may ASK another player with an opened or unopened book to trade.  The student may say, “NO” and gameplay will resume.

Merry Bookmas(pdf) – Download Free Game Board

insta tinsel in a tangelTensile Tangle Game

This is an exciting small group game. You will need 4-5 balls of yarn or craft string (a different color for each student in the group).  I purchase inexpensive gifts from a variety of bargain stores, wrap and tie one end of the colored string or yarn to each package. Next, I choose a room/location and begin unwinding the rolls of yarn around objects, furniture, and pathways. Vary the difficulty of the paths with diverse groups. Give each person the spool of yarn or string and let him/her “find” a gift.


What Do I Need To Play: You will need a box of candy canes, a bag of cotton balls, a large plastic container (bowl works best) and 9 plastic ornaments.

How Do I Set Up:  Pour the bag of cotton balls in the bowl and place the ornaments on top.

How Do I Play: Countdown 5…4…3…2…1…GO! Each student will try to hook and pull out as many ornaments as he/she can in 90 seconds.  The catch…he/she must utilize the hook of the candy cane to retrieve the ornaments without using his/her hands.  That’s right, each student will place the stick end of the candy cane in his/her mouth and utilize the curved portion as a type of fishing pole to remove ornaments from the bowl one by one.

The student receives a letter for each ornament he/she successfully retrieves from the bowl.   For example, a student is able to hook and remove 5 of the 9 ornaments.  He would write down 5 letters: C-A-N-D-Y.  The first student to spell CANDY CANE wins the game.

Download the scoring page here:  Candy Cane Game Scoring


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