View Full Version : Ideas for office party games?

Pages : [1] 2 3

Aaron W
11-24-2010, 02:58 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions on good office party games? My coworker has been tasked with coming up with ideas for our company's holiday party next month and she was asking me for suggestions.

We'll be doing some type of small gift exchange and I seem to recall some type of game where people can take gifts from each other. I don't remember exactly how it works. Other office party suggestions? I guess musical chairs is always a choice, but what else?

11-24-2010, 03:01 PM
I know which game you are talking about. We did it among my family as well as office last year.

Everyone brings in a gift, and they are placed in a common table. Make sure the gift is well wrapped so people can't tell what it is (not like my family, where there were like 10 bottles of wine decorated with a bow ;)). Then draw numbers for a starting order. The person who draws the first position picks a present from the pile and opens it. The next person has the choice to steal the gift from the first person, or open a new one. It continues until everyone has a gift and no more gifts can be stolen.

A gift can only be passed three times, so the third person is stuck with it and can't switch.

Aaron W
11-24-2010, 03:10 PM
What happens to a person who's gift has been stolen by someone else? Do they go back to the table and pick a new present before the game proceeds to the next person?

11-24-2010, 03:16 PM
What happens to a person who's gift has been stolen by someone else? Do they go back to the table and pick a new present before the game proceeds to the next person?

If I recall, yes. They can chose to steal from someone else or pick a new present before the game moves on.

I'm sure there's plenty of ways to play it, though.

11-24-2010, 03:22 PM
I think what you're talking about is Dirty Santa/Santa Steal, and everyone has a slight variation on how to play, but this is how we play:

Everyone brings a gender-neutral gift under a specified $$ amount. The amount varies from year to year, but the most fun/bizarre gifts are when you make it $5. THAT leads to some creativity, which might or might not be appropriate for the office. You might also want to specify no gift cards, as that makes it boring. Or you can choose a theme and make people bring gifts according to that theme.

Rules, as we play them:
1. Everyone who brought a gift draws numbers.
2. Whoever draws #1 goes up to the pile o' gifts and picks one. Gifts, btw, should not be tagged. In the best of circumstances, there should be some Santa Stealth so no one sees who brought what. Person opens gifts to expected oooing and ahhhing
3. Whoever has #2 has a choice--they can pick a new gift from the pile...or they can "steal" #1's gift. If they decide to steal, then person #1 goes to the pile to get a new gift.
4. Person #3 gets to choose between "new" gift or steal #1 or #2. This is where it can get fun--Person #3 steals #1's gift. Person #1 then steals person #2's gift. Person #2 picks something from the pile. And it goes on and on until the end.

Some extra rules we play with: you cannot steal the same gift in the same round. For example, the same fondue pot can't go back and forth between two people over and over during person whoever's pick. We also put a kabosh on how many times total a gift can be stolen, depending on how many people are there. So, the homemade cookies can only be stolen 3 times--whoever is smart enough to get it that 3rd time is its owner. One big problelm is depending on who's in your office, people might be afraid to "steal." If no one steals, then the game's no fun and it's just a lame secret Santa. Usually, once one person steals, it becomes OK, so you might want to somehow rig (or just announce) that you and your coworker are going to be #s 3 and 5, and "steal" a gift just to get the ball rolling...even if you like the gift you got.

You could also do some kind of Holiday movie/song trivia game thingy.

Here's a website with a lot of office game stuff:


11-24-2010, 03:29 PM
At my old firm, we did a game where everyone brings in a photo of themselves as a child at holiday time. We put them up on a board labeled with a number. Everyone has to guess who's who and the person who gets the most right wins a little prize.

11-24-2010, 03:33 PM
I agree with Matryeska that the Dirty Santa can be fun with a theme. In my office, we made it a White Elephant, so no one actually had to buy anything. It provided some huge laughs, granted, you didn't get anything special (I got a Zebra statue that sat in my office until I left, someone brought old 80s exercise tapes, our big, burly tough guy boss got a dandylion music box that played "Puttin' on the Ritz" non stop), but it was funny and easy on the :bribe:

In my family, we didn't try, but we ended up with a food theme. Something like 6 or 8 people brought wine bottles, someone brought a wine carrier, some did fancy boxes of chocolate, a gift card to a restaurant and a mini coffee pot with fancy coffee blends....

11-24-2010, 03:34 PM
I like the child photo idea. You can also do the game where you put the name of a celebrity on a name tag and then put one on everybody's back. You can only ask yes or no questions to try to figure out who you are. It get's people talking to each other.

Another one I've done is to have each person email something interesting about themself to one person and then print out all of the facts and have people guess who is who.

11-24-2010, 03:41 PM
I have a suggestion--don't play them. It's work, not preschool. (I refuse to play shower games, too.) The Santa Steal one REALLY sucks for whoever's left at the end, unless you are VERY clear about what you're allowed to bring (ie nothing good or nothing bad--everyone gets junk or everyone gets something really nice.)

11-24-2010, 03:41 PM
One that was played in my small office who all were of Christmas belief:
Bring a small wrapped gift (in a certain price range like $20 or so).

Start with your own gift
Someone is designated to read a holiday story outloud and you need to pass the gifts to the person to the right of you (we were small enough to be in a circle) whenever the word "the" was spoken

There is also the worst Christmas/Holiday Sweater game. Everyone is to show up in the worst holiday shirt that they can find (goodwill or your mom's closet is a good start) and people vote for the worst. The person who is wearing that one gets some sort of prize (for an office party it might be a gift certificate).

Or you might have a traditional Christmas/Holiday story - like the night before christmas, divide into groups, draw out a line of the story. Each group needs to come up with a replacement line and at the end of a certain period of time, the new story is created by merging every group's new line.

Or divide into groups and given x number of traditional holiday items need to make up a story. So let's say that the items included fruit cake, wrapping paper, bows, snow, confetti (New Year's day), Menorah, Kikombe cha Umoja (The Unity Cup), etc. The group needs to create a story about those items. But again some of this equates to a religious meaning but you could come up with non religious items.

11-24-2010, 03:50 PM
Or the tell a lie game. you have 4 things about yourself, three of which are true and one is a lie. Everyone needs to pick out the lie.

The child photo ones work if everyone has photos from their childhood, but some people don't if their family experienced a flood, fire or other disaster destroying those photos.

Garden Kitty
11-24-2010, 03:59 PM
At my former job we had the "Santa Steal" and a lot of people ended up sort of mad. People who brought in gifts that were clearly not wanted were sort of insulted, and people who had good gifts taken away from them ended up sort of annoyed as well.

We also played a trivia game where people provided a few facts about themselves and that was the basis for questions "how many kids does John have?" sort of stuff. Some questions were about the people and some were about company history, and everyone was on teams so you'd work together.

The year after the Santa exchange and trivia game we got a new boss, and one of the things the staff made clear is that we wanted an end to the holiday party games.

In another thread someone mentioned a "two truths and a lie" game where individuals provided two unusual facts about themselves (Mary is a black belt, Mary once broke her leg falling from a tree kind of stuff), and make up one thing that is a lie and people have to guess which of the items isn't true.

11-24-2010, 04:22 PM
At my old job we did a re-gift Santa steal - bring in something from around the house that you don't want. One year, my boss put in the keys to an old car :eek:

Then, to throw a curveball, we ended with a Christmas story and every time the word right or left was said, we had to pass the gift in that direction. It was fun.... last year I ended up with a Chia Pet in the shape of Shrek, :lol:

11-24-2010, 04:32 PM
At my old firm, we did a game where everyone brings in a photo of themselves as a child at holiday time. We put them up on a board labeled with a number. Everyone has to guess who's who and the person who gets the most right wins a little prize.
My family didn't experience any sort of disaster, but I don't have any pictures of me during the holidays as a child. Just as well, as I look exactly the same as I did when I was 2 :lol:

I'm not a fan of complicated or overly involved games. The white elephant game is fun! For an office party, I would suggest that the person whose turn it is selects a wrapped gift, and after opening it, they can choose to exchange it with someone who already has a gift. The person whose gift was taken gets what the first person opened and doesn't pick again. This keeps it moving. Strongly suggest that all gifts are inexpensive and common so anyone who sees something they'd have liked but didn't get can get one if they are that into it. We also did it where management bought all the gifts, which keeps people who like to overspend (or those who are deliberate crap-buyers - and we've had both at my workplace) from skewing the prizes.

Aaron W
11-24-2010, 04:51 PM
I have a suggestion--don't play them. It's work, not preschool. (I refuse to play shower games, too.)

It's only work related... the party isn't happening at work or during work hours. Having said that, I'm not a big fan of office party games either. I wanted to reserve a suite for a NHL game, but the person in charge of planning the holiday party thought that wouldn't involve enough intermingling among the employees. So instead we're doing cocktails & dinner, a small gift exchange, and apparently some games.