-> Away. From. You. <- Preferably on another floor. Or at the very least, behind a closed door. My son has claimed the basement as his party lair. Be sure to set a reasonable pick-up time or establish a strict lights-out time if guests are sleeping over. Otherwise, the next day you'll end up with cranky kids whose parents will give you the hairy eyeball for sleep-depriving their child.
Preview games ahead of time. Kids often bring their own favourites to share. Sorry, no Grand Theft Auto allowed here. Some of our favourite games include:
Skylanders is great for kids who like to collect (and really, what kid doesn't like to collect things? #kidsarehoarders). Skylanders is a video game series and each series has its own adventures and collectible characters. The figures sit on a magic portal (which is the device you attach to your gaming system) and are imported into the game world. I honestly have no clue beyond that, but apparently it's "like, tons of fun" and there are epic battles which result in kids cheering and shouting. Did I mention the "behind a closed door" thing? If you aren't sure about this one, each EB Games store has an interactive Slylanders setup so you can try it all out yourself!
My son and his friends take regular breaks from video games by hitting the park for an hour or playing a board game. EB Games carries a fun selection of themed board games. Walking Dead Monopoly?! I know EXACTLY who I need to buy that for.
Open your home to your child's friends. You have a small window of opportunity where they actually want to stay home.
Video games, when properly screened, and balanced with breaks for some quality face-to-face interaction, are an awesome choice for home party entertainment. We've tried movie nights, but most tweens find it hard to sit through a two hour movie when there's active fun to be had, but video games seem to keep them happily engaged.
Visit your local EB Games to check out the latest in video game consoles and accessories, video games, board games, etc. The staff know their stuff, they're really helpful, and the prices are great. We have a store right by us and my son and his friends spend hours there, drooling. I like to joke that the store smells of hormones and nerd, but apparently that's not funny. I guess that's why I'm never invited into the basement to play Just Dance with the partiers. Or perhaps...it's my alarming dancing/singing?
Since Ross Hammond (@RossGraphitas) tweeted the simple instructions to a silly Santa Hat Drinking Game, his post has been retweeted and favourited over 20,000 times and counting. The Huffington Post UK even ran a story on it.
People like to drink over the holidays. Probably a result of stress, family in close quarters, the bitter cold, shopping. Whoever sang, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" was obviously drunk.
Anyone up for a round of this quenching game? The rules are simple...
The holidays aren't all about getting lit however. Though I guess it depends on how much you like your family, and your tolerance for wrapping paper inflicted paper cuts, and how much your enjoy having your arm shoved up a turkey's butt, and....etc.
The Santa Hat Game is easily transformed into a wholesome family friendly game. I know my kids would get a kick out of it!
Here's The Santa Hat Game: Family Edition
Materials: television, TWO Santa or elf hats, pen, strips of paper, bag
How to Play:
1. Hang a hat on the left and right corners of the T.V.
2. Make a list of tasks, e.g. foot rub, fill snack bowl, back tickle, top up drink, fluff pillow, sing the first chorus of Frosty the Snowman, etc. (If it was up to me I'd add; fold laundry, unload dishwasher, clean litter box. Who says housework can't be festive fun?)
3. Anytime someone on T.V. wears the hat on the left, the parents choose a slip of paper from the bag and must perform the task written. When somebody wears the hat on the right, the kids draw a task.
* If you're more Satan Claus than Santa Claus, you could restrict the tasks to the kids only. As in, THEY have to do the tasks, while you sit comfortably drinking a glass Gav's Martell's Festive 1-Step Bottom's Up Sangria.
**On a serious note...if you are going to drink, be responsible. Drinking is not a game (Wait? When did I become "that woman?" Sigh.) Parenting Tip: Quarters and "I Never" are not appropriate choices for Family Games Night: Why Drinking Stories Aren't So Funny.