Ditch the TV this Christmas Day
I blogged about Christmas films last week and it made me think about the central role that television plays in the UK's Christmas Day celebrations. From the Queen's speech to countless Christmas specials and ,of course, classic Christmas Day films like The Wizard of Oz, it seems that vegetating on the sofa has become the new traditional way to celebrate what could be a great time for family interaction.
I'm from a big Welsh musical family so television never really played a huge part in our celebrations. Christmas Day activities would more often involve entertainment provided by family members and playing games together like "charades". I cringe now at my cousin Jessica and I making everyone sit and watch our version of The Jellicle Ball from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. We spent hours rehearsing and sourcing fur coats from our grandmother's wardrobe to wear as costumes but, even if our family might have rolled their eyes at the time, we still talk about it now.
One of my best friends is Jewish and, on Friday nights, they celebrate with a Shabbat dinner. No TV, computers or other electrical devices can be used so the children and parents have to be a lot more imaginative regarding entertainment. As a result, they interact much more with each other as a family which is fabulous to see.
So with these examples in mind, I thought I'd suggest some great Perform-style games that you can adapt and play en famille on Christmas Day should you fancy a break from the TV schedules (or should the electricity blow). Enjoy!
Act it. How?
This is a classic drama game that is very easy for everyone to play. It's also hysterical fun.
- Split the family into groups of three.
- One person is neutral and must lead the game.
- Give everyone two minutes to act out a very simple scene. For example: A couple in a restaurant order soup. It arrives, it is too cold and they complain to the waiter.
- Then the neutral person goes around and gives each group a style to act out their scene out again. For example Soap opera, James Bond, Opera, Musical, Pop Video.
- Everyone rehearses their scene in their style and then performs.
Talk for 15 Seconds
We do this with Perform children and it's a really good way to improve their public speaking skills. For an older age range you can increase the time they have to talk for. Make sure you have a stop watch.
- Form a circle of players. The starter chooses a subject for the person on his or her left.
- That person has to talk about it non-stop for 15/30/60 seconds (age dependent)
- Go around the circle and whoever manages to complete the time without stopping or going of the subject matter goes through to the next round.
- Continue until a winner emerges.
Fibby, Wibby Lie
Another classic game that everyone can have a turn at playing.
- Choose a person to be the ?fibber'
- They must tell the rest of the group three facts
- Two must be true and one must be a fib
- For example: ?I'm 37 years old, my mummy is a cat and I have two children?
- See if they can guess which one is a fib and which ones are the truth?
- Go around the family and let everyone have a go.
Imagination Circle Story
This is a real Perform staple and one that I play often in the car with my kids.
- Explain that you are going to tell a story but that you can only remember the first bit.
- The only solution is that everyone joins in and adds onto the story.
- Start the story with ?Once upon a Time? and begin with something like ?There was a robot called Boris and he was really large, really smelly and really angry?.. because?.
- Then go around the players with everyone adding on a sentence until you get to the end.
We play this a lot at our birthday parties. It's really good fun for all ages - adults included!
- You'll need two chairs for this game.
- Everyone else is the audience and sits looking at the chairs.
- Choose someone to be the Chat Show Host.
- Choose 2/3 volunteers to be the guests and ask them to think of which famous person they are going to be.
- Tell them that you The Chat Show Host is going to ask the guests questions and their answers will reveal which famous person they are.
- You can also theme this by saying all guests must be famous historical characters, characters from Disney films, members of The Royal Family etc.