1. The X Factor
Now that The Brilliant X Factor has finally hit America, I think it’s time to share my family’s Christmas tradition which is, may I be so bold as to say, even better than the show itself. Me and my family spend Christmas Day with about 30 of our family and friends, so in an after-Christmas lunch attempt to stop everyone from going home and watching TV, we all gather around and play The X Factor. To begin with, you pick 4 judges (usually my grandparents) and one presenter (usually my dad). Then one by one, all the acts (members of my family) get up to perform their numbers (badly sung Christmas songs). I cannot explain how fun this can be. We have had performances from 80-year-olds singing ’White Christmas’ to 8 year olds singing ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ and my grandma always does an extremely accurate Simon Cowell impersonation. I’ve had to drop out this year due to getting a little too emotional last year when I changed the words to ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ to ‘All I Want for Christmas is an iPad’ and was disqualified from the competition.
2. The Hat Game
This is a game that goes by many different names and many different rules but in my family, we call it ‘The Hat Game’ and this is how you play it. Gather about 10 people (could be more, could be less) to play and split your self into 2 teams. Get each person in the team to write down 10 names of celebrities onto scraps of paper, fold them up and put them all into a big hat. Taking it in turns, one person from each team gets given the hat and has a minute to describe as many people as they can from the names in the hat to members of their team. In the first round, the only rules are that you cannot say the name of the person on the piece of paper; however, as the game moves on it get’s a little trickier. In the second round, the person may only say one word to describe the celebrity on their piece of paper and in the third round, they are only allowed to do actions, no words. Not only is this game ridiculously fun, it can also be extremely revealing. One year we found that there were 10 Harry Potters in our hat and another year my 14-year-old brother did not know who George Bush was. But despite these tiny mishaps, it’s the funnest game in the world and Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.
To play stop, each player is given a pad of paper and a pen. Together you all pick 10 simple categories (parts of the body, fruits, TV shows, etc) and write them down the left hand side of the page in a list. A letter of the alphabet is then picked and the game begins. Each player must try to write down one thing in each category that starts with that letter (for instance Abdomen, Apple, Arrested Development, etc.) and the moment someone has got all 10, they shout STOP and everyone has to STOP WRITING. You then add up the points, one point for every one you have filled in and two points if you’ve been clever and no one else got the thing you chose. You get through about 10 letters and it’s extremely exciting as long as no one picks Q.
4. Personalised Guess Who
Guess Who is a two-player game and each player gets a board including 24 cartoons of smiley little people and their first names. At the beginning of the game, each player picks a cartoon person (without telling the other who they have picked) and the object of the game is to be the first player to find out which cartoon person the other player has picked. You do this by asking yes or no questions (‘Is this person a boy or a girl?’ or ‘Does this person wear glasses?’), eliminating a few people each time until you can figure out who the other player has picked. It may sound simple but I can assure you it’s very fun. However, after years of looking at the same little smiley mustached faces, I decided to put my own little spin on the game. By popping out all the cartoon peoples faces I replaced them with the faces of my family and all our friends (the ones we are spending Christmas Day with) and am planning on bringing it out on Christmas Day for everyone to play. Once you know the people on the board, the questions change from ‘Is this person wearing a hat?’ to ‘Is this person really annoying?’ Or ‘Is this person losing their hair?’ And it results in a much, much funner game.
Images via The X Factor USA, and my camera.