I get it. The holidays are supposed to be a time filled with family, friends, and hot chocolate. But who ever said it would hurt to add a little more spirit to the mix? It's time to ring in the season with this list of the eight best holiday drinking games. Whether you're playing with friends or family, these holiday drinking games are guaranteed to be a hit.

Disclaimer: Enjoy your holiday, but please drink responsibly–and only if you're 21 or older. 

The (Not So) Boring Family Gathering

What you'll need: a family-style gathering, a fun cousin or two (optional), any kind of alcohol (try these holiday mimosas)

Players: at least one

How to play: 

Every college student knows there are certain things to expect when the whole family is back together for the first time since last holiday season. Whether you dread or enjoy these obligations, adding a little extra wine never makes anything worse. The rules are simple:

Take one drink:

- every time you have to hug a relative

- every time someone feeds the dog under the table

- every time a family member asks about a friend you haven't talked to since 2004

- for every family photo that is taken

- every time someone asks you what year you are in school

- every time a family member tells a story they told last year

Take two drinks:

- every time a family member inquires about a significant other

- every time something is spilled at dinner

- every time someone asks you what your major is

- every time someone observes that you got taller or lost weight

Finish your drink:

- every time someone makes a cringe-worthy political comment

- for every family member that falls asleep after dinner

- every time a family member asks for help on Facebook/Instagram

- whenever someone asks about your plans post-graduation

The Great American Holiday Challenge

What you'll need: 2 30-racks of beer, 4 pints of any kind of alcohol you want, 2 fifths, 4 holiday pies, 2 100-piece holiday puzzles (half of each item for each team)

Players: enough to form two teams, with 9-10+ people on each team due to high level of alcohol consumption

tea, wine, coffee, beer
Alex Frank

How to play:

This holiday drinking game is a race, so get ready for a wild sleigh ride.

Each team races to finish all of the items in this order:

- Fifth

- Pints

- 30 rack

- Pies

- Puzzle

A team is declared the winner when they finish all of their items or when the other team throws in the (reindeer) reigns.

Winter Pictionary

What you'll need: paper, something to draw with, a mixed drink (I recommend this delicious boozy eggnog)

Players: the more, the merrier! 

How to play:

As soon as one of the players correctly guesses what the artist is drawing, time stops and the timer announces how many seconds have passed since the artist started their creation. For every 15 seconds that pass, the artist has to drink a quarter of their drink, with a maximum time limit of 60 seconds. For example, if it took 30 seconds for the players to guess the image, the artist would drink half of his beverage. If the full minute passes, the artist can either finish his drink or take a shot.


What you'll need: a dreidel, some drank (homemade Baileys Irish Cream? Yes, please.)

Players: any number

How to play: 

Christmas drinking games shouldn't get all of the attention! Get into the Hanukkah spirit with this spin-off (pun intended) of the classic holiday gambling by replacing chocolatey gelts with a boozier option. 

This holiday drinking game is simple and easy to play no matter how many people want to join. Players take turns spinning the dreidel and drinks are decided based on where it lands:

- Nun: the spinner drinks

- He: the spinner gets to choose half of the players to drink

- Shin: the spinner gets to add a rule to the game. For example, they may choose a rule such as "no player is allowed to touch the table," and from that point forward, any player who breaks this rule must drink. This gets increasingly difficult the more rules are added.

- Gimel: everyone except for the spinner drinks

If the dreidel falls off of the table while it's spinning, everyone drinks!

Crazy Carolers 

What you'll need: shots! (Try these seasonal apple pie shots)

Players: ideally 5-10

How to play:

For the simplest of holiday drinking games, players sit in a circle. Someone picks their favorite holiday song and sings one line out loud (I suggest really getting into this one). The person to the right of the singer must then sing the following line. If they sing it correctly, the person to their right continues with the next line. Whenever a player messes up a line or does not know the lyrics, they take a shot. This player then gets to choose the next song.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

What you'll need: access to the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, something to sip on (I love this holiday sangria)

Players: any number

How to play:

Feeling lazy? Your group doesn't even have to get off of the couch to play this holiday drinking game (plus you get to enjoy a classic).

Drink whenever:

- anyone onscreen is wearing an ugly Christmas sweater

- anything unfortunate happens to the neighbors Todd and Margo

- Eddie says anything weird

- a new family member arrives

- a new day on the advent calendar is opened

- the words "Christmas" or "bonus" are spoken

- a Christmas song is played or sung

Finish your drink whenever:

- Clark daydreams about the pool

- anyone or anything messes with a Christmas tree

All I Want for Christmas 

What you'll need: 20 cups, beer or another delicious boozy drink (stay cozy with this hot mint chocolate toddy)

Players: 2 or 4 formed into two teams

tea, juice, coffee, sweet
Sarah Bundra

How to play:

This is your typical beer pong game. You can play with beer or, if you want, you can fill your cups with water and drink from a separate glass of something tasty

Sound simple? There's a twist! Every time one team hits a cup they state what they would like for Christmas.

If the opposing team completes this dare, i.e. gives the scoring team what they want for Christmas, they do not have to drink the cup. If they choose not to grant the wish, they must drink the cup and remove it from the game.

Kringle's Kup

What you'll need: a deck of cards (take out the jokers), a mixed drink to fill the center cup (this peppermint white Russian satisfies all of my holiday cravings)

Players: ideally 4-8

This spin-off of the classic King's Cup is sure to get your holiday gathering started. 

How to play:

Here's what to do when you draw each card:

A: Blizzard  The same as waterfall, but seasonal.

2: All I want for Christmas is you  The player who pulls this card gets to pick one other person to share a moment under the mistletoe (They may also choose to both drink, but where's the holiday spirit in that?).

3: Tree  Everyone has to put both arms above their head so that their fingertips are touching and form the shape of a Christmas tree. The last person to do so has to drink.

4: Spirit galore  Everyone drinks.

5: Jingle jive  The person who picks this card has to do a dance move. The next person then has to do that move and add another one to it. This continues around the circle until someone messes up and has to drink.

6: Santa picks  The player who pulls this card chooses one other naughty player who must drink every time the card-puller does for the rest of the game. 

7: Heaven  All players must raise their drink to the sky. The last person to do so must finish their drink.

8: Skate  The player who draws this card is the beginning of a group ice-skating escapade. This player says "swish" and points either to the person to the left or to the right of them. The player who is pointed at can then choose to point in the same direction and say "swish" or to change the direction of the skater and say "flip" while pointing the opposite direction. Ice skating continues until a player messes up and has to drink.

9: Rhyme  The same rules as the standard game. For an extra challenge, start with only holiday-related words. 

10: Categories  The same as classic King's Cup, but use holiday-related categories. 

J: Jack Frost  Guys drink.

Q: Nutcracker Queen  Ladies drink.

K:  Sing The player who pulls this card must sing a holiday song for a full minute. But here's the catch: it cannot be a song that another player has already sung. If they cannot do so, they must drink. The person who draws the fourth and last king ends the game and must drink the entire center cup

I hope these games help you get as ~lit~ as your Christmas tree this holiday season.