31 Holiday Staff Party Games That Won’t Make You Groan

Non-cheesy ways to celebrate together.

holiday staff game ideas

Staff parties should be a chance for everyone to let their hair down and celebrate a bit. Good food and lots of laughs are absolute must-haves (not to mention some adult beverages, right?). Staff party games are a holiday tradition, but let’s face it: They’re not always all that fun and can seem obligatory. If you’re looking for ways to mix things up with fresh new games everyone can enjoy, take a look at this list of low-key options.

1. What’s in Your Cellphone?

Staff Party Games: What's In Your Cellphone printable
Media Medusa Shop via Etsy

This clever twist on a scavenger hunt will have teachers hunting through their phones for pics of their pets or showing off their ringtones. You can write up your own list of things to find or buy this What’s in Your Cellphone game printable from Media Medusa Shop on Etsy.

2. ’80s Movies Emoji Trivia

Staff Party Games: 80s Movie Emoji Trivia printable
My Party Games/Emoji Quiz via mypartygames.com

Grab this free printable from My Party Games, then pass it out for a quick pen-and-paper game. Offer a prize to the first one to finish or set a timer and award the person who gets the most correct answers. Folks can play alone or in teams. (For a twist, try this game the other way around: Ask folks to use their phones to come up with emojis to represent their favorite movies, songs, or books!)

3. Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie is a standard getting-to-know-you game. Each person tells two true things about themselves and one lie. Other players try to guess which one is the lie and get a point for each one they get right. Give this game a party twist by playing “Two Presents and a Lie” instead. Have each person share two of the worst gifts they’ve ever received, and then make one up. (Don’t limit it to holiday gifts—birthdays and other occasions definitely count too!)

4. Find Someone Who (People Bingo)

Find Someone Who printable
iCelebrateEVERYTHING/People Bingo via Etsy

Help your staff get to know one another a little better with People Bingo. Find someone who meets the criterion for each square, but you can’t use the same person twice! Play like traditional bingo and try to get a row across, down, or diagonally, or give a prize to the first person who fills in their whole sheet. Make your own version, or buy this one from iCelebrateEVERYTHING on Etsy.

5. Teacher Would You Rather …?

teacher would you rather for staff party games
Education to the Core/Would You Rather via educationtothecore.com

Would You Rather is one of those hilarious staff party games everyone has played at least once. Use our free Teacher Would You Rather questions at your staff party, or do a search online to find tons of crazy scenarios to discuss.

6. Staff Trivia

You’ll need to do a bit of prep on this one in advance, but it’s so much fun to play. Gather a random fact about every single person on your staff, then write up a trivia game to find out just how well everyone knows each other. Possible facts to use include middle names, place where you were born, how many siblings you have, favorite book or movie, and so on.

7. Ugly Sweater Contest

Teachers participating in an Ugly Sweater Contest
Parkview Elementary/Ugly sweaters via Instagram

Ugly Sweater contests have become a staple of holiday staff party games. Hold a vote for the worst sweaters, or create a variety of categories like “Best Homemade Sweater” and “Silliest Science Sweater.”

8. Minute To Win It Games

minute to win it example, pushing m&Ms around a plate for staff party games
Happy Mom Hacks/Minute To Win It via happymomhacks.com

Minute To Win It ideas are always popular staff party games. We love this roundup of games from Happiness Is Homemade that is full of holiday twists. Stack a Christmas tree made of plastic cups, play Reindeer Ring Toss, or try one of nine more options.

Check out these Minute To Win It games for students, and see how your staff does with them.

9. Draw Up Top

Give each player a paper plate and something to write with. Each player places the plate on top of their head and keeps it there. Then give a series of directions to create a drawing one by one. Players must complete the drawing with the plate still on top of their head without looking. Here’s one example:

  • Draw a line for the ground.
  • Draw a rectangle on the line to make a school building.
  • Now draw a triangle on top of the rectangle to create the roof.
  • Add a door to the building.
  • Add two windows to the building.
  • Draw a tree on either side of the building.
  • Draw a sun in the sky.

Take down the plates and check out the drawings. Offer a prize to the best one. (Inspired by Principal Principles)

10. School Scattergories

School Scattergories printable
Greengate Images/Scattergories template via Etsy

In Scattergories, the goal is to come up with an item to match each category on a list, but all words in each round must start with the randomly selected letter picked at the beginning. This school-themed version is perfect for staff party games. Buy it from Greengate Images on Etsy (or make up your own). Then use this Letter Picker Wheel to generate random letters for each round.

11. Charades

Children's Book Charades Cards printable
Childhood 101/Charades via childhood101.com

Charades is one of the most popular staff party games of all time, and it’s a timeless classic for a reason. You’ll find plenty of free printable charades cards online, like these free Children’s Book Charades cards from Childhood 101. For extra fun, make up your own charades ideas that are specific to teachers, like “Trying to get the projector remote to work” or “Doing lunchroom duty.”

12. Ring a Bell

This one is simple and keeps the fun going throughout the whole party. Every few minutes, ring a bell (or use a bell app on your phone) and announce the next “person you’re looking for.” Each winner gets a prize. Some ideas:

I’m looking for the person …

  • … whose birthday is closest to January 1.
  • … who has visited the most countries in their lifetime.
  • … who has the most pennies in their pocket or purse.

Get more question ideas at Diva Girl Parties and Stuff.

13. Saran Wrap Ball Game

Large ball of red saran wrap with gifts inside (Staff party games)
Must Have Mom/Saran Wrap game via musthavemom.com

Try this game instead of a traditional gift exchange. Create a large ball of plastic wrap full of little gifts for people to discover! Start by wrapping one gift in the middle, then wrap and add a new gift every few layers. At the party, folks take turns unwrapping until they find a gift, which is theirs to keep. See how to make your ball and get lots of gift ideas at Must Have Mom.

14. Poke-a-Present

Poke A Present board with cups glued on sideways and covered with tissue paper
HGTV/Poke-a-Present via hgtv.com

Here’s another cute way to give out small prizes. Put each item in a plastic cup, then attach a tissue paper lid. Glue the cups to a foam board as shown above. At the party, invite each guest to poke a cup to receive their gift! Get more details on how to make a Poke-a-Present board at HGTV.

15. Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt

Murder mystery parties involve a lot of work, but this scavenger hunt version is actually really easy to set up. Everyone can enjoy solving the Clue-inspired mystery by gathering clues from cards hidden around the room. Visit Queen of Theme Party Games to learn more and purchase the game.

16. Guess the Coworker

poster of baby pictures for a baby photo game for a staff party game
Snack Nation/baby photos via snacknation.com

Everyone has their favorite or silly holiday memories. Have staff send in photos of themselves from holidays of years past. Post the photos and, during the holiday party, teachers vote on who they think each photo belongs to. At the end of the evening, reveal the person in each photo.

17. Guess the Song

Create a list of holiday songs. Gather everyone together and play the first 10 seconds of a song. The first person to shout out the title wins—extra points if they name the artist as well. Start the list with common songs (“Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night”) and increase the difficulty as it goes along. Include your school songs as well (the fight song, the sound of the transition bell …).

18. Favorite Things Gift Exchange

favorite things party decorations for a staff holiday game
The Dating Divas/Favorite things via thedatingdivas.com

For a variation on a gift exchange, have each staff member bring in three of their favorite things. So, if someone loves socks, they would bring in three pairs of socks. Each person shares about their favorite thing and why they brought it. Then, people draw numbers and, one at a time, choose a favorite thing to take home. At the end of the event, everyone takes home three different favorite things. Learn more about how to throw an official Favorite Things party.

19. Decorate a Coworker

Have boxes of holiday decorations ready—tinsel, lights, baubles, stars, wreaths, etc. Divide into groups. Each group chooses one person to be decorated. When the timer goes off, the group decorates their person for five minutes. To make this more interesting, provide a rubric and grade for each group’s decoration.

20. Cookie House Building Challenge

gingerbread houses on a table, staff party game
Team Bonding/Gingerbread houses via teambonding.com

This requires some preparation. Provide teams with gingerbread house pieces (or graham crackers), frosting, and lots of candy. Teams can choose a theme—Charlotte’s Web’s farm, Hogwarts, a traditional gingerbread house—and get to decorating!

21. Tree Decorating Challenge

glove christmas tree, staff party ideas
Love Is the Best Medicine/Holiday tree via loveisthebestmedicine.blogspot.com

Like this tree made out of gloves, challenge teachers to make a tree out of what they have around their classrooms. It could be any tree, it doesn’t have to be a pine tree—encourage people to get creative.

22. Ugly Sweater Station

ugly sweater decorating for a holiday staff party idea
Carbone Entertainment/Ugly sweater via carboneentertainment.com

Have school staff wear or bring in an old sweater. Then, provide decorations, like felt shapes, letters, lights, bows, and more. Provide paint markers, pins, and other ways to attach decorations and get to work. If you have your holiday party before school lets out, wear the holiday sweaters the next week at school.

23. Photo Booth

Provide holiday-themed accessories and a corner for taking photos. Some accessories:

  • School hats
  • Santa hats
  • Elf ears
  • Rudolph noses
  • Antlers
  • Scarves, mittens, hats
  • Bells
  • Wreaths, garlands
  • Lights
  • Snow, snowballs, top hats, carrots

24. Make a Mixed Drink

hot cocoa bar ingredients
100 Days of Real Food/Hot cocoa bar via 100daysofrealfood.com

Set up a station with all the things teachers need to mix up a nice hot cocoa or soda concoction. Encourage people to write their recipes and name their drinks with literary or school titles.

25. Pajama Party

pajama party example for staff party idea
The Sunny Side Up Blog/pajama party via thesunnysideupblog.com

Instead of sweaters, have teachers dress in the best holiday pajamas they can find. Make pajamas a theme with a pajama contest, breakfast food bar, and hot cocoa bar.

26. Never Have I Ever

Play Never Have I Ever, but with your school and the holidays in mind. Participants start with 10 tickets. If they have ever done the thing on each card, they put a ticket in the middle. The person who loses all their tickets first loses. The last person standing is the winner.

Some prompts for Never Have I Ever:

  • Regifted a present
  • Opened a present before it was time
  • Kissed someone under mistletoe
  • Broken up with someone during the holidays
  • Baked or eaten fruit cake
  • Been at the airport on Christmas Day
  • Bought someone a gift that I wanted, hoping they would give it to me
  • Played holiday music before Thanksgiving
  • Played holiday music after Christmas Day
  • Used Santa as a way to manipulate kids into behaving

27. Reindeer Games

reindeer race with balloon example for reindeer games, staff party games
123 Homeschool 4 Me/Reindeer game via Pinterest

These are holiday-themed office Olympics-style competitions. Divide teachers into teams and have them name their team. Then, complete challenges like:

  • Present Pass: A relay where teachers hand off a wrapped present from one runner to the next.
  • Down the Chimney: Have teachers shimmy through a play tunnel on the floor.
  • Frostbite: Players reach into a bucket of ice to get a white rubber snowball.
  • Tug-of-War: Use a garland wrapped around a rope for tug-of-war.
  • Reindeer Race: Tie balloons decorated as reindeer to string, and use straws to race the reindeer.

28. This or That (Holiday Edition)

elf movie versus die hard movie
Sharp Magazine/Elf vs Die Hard movie via sharpmagazine.com

For this game, participants choose between two related but opposite options. Have teachers choose one side of the room for each option. Prompts:

  • Store-bought or homemade gifts
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Naughty or nice list
  • Eggnog or hot cocoa
  • Real or fake tree/decorations
  • Travel or stay home
  • Shop for gifts in November or the night before
  • Elf or Die Hard as a Christmas movie

29. Stuff a Stocking

Have teachers bring various stocking stuffers and provide a stocking for each staff member. Teachers can stuff one another’s stockings.

Check out our list of small (inexpensive) gifts for teachers.

30. Who Am I? (Holiday Edition)

santa hat and ideas for a guess who game for a staff party game
Kid Friendly Things To Do/Guess Who? via kidfriendlythingstodo.com

A holiday version of Hedbanz, give each staff member a holiday card and have them attach it to their head. As they mingle, they ask questions about who they are and give others clues about who they are.

31. Family Feud

woman holding a homemade family feud game board for a staff party game
Play Party Plan/Family Feud via playpartyplan.com

Host a game of Family Feud. Provide topics and common words or phrases related to that topic. So, if the topic is Holiday, responses could be: family, food, relaxing. To make this game specific to your school, ask teachers beforehand what comes to mind when they hear each phrase you’re going to use, and use those in the answers.

What staff party games does everyone enjoy at your school? Come share on the We Are Teachers HELPLINE Facebook group!

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Want people to actually look forward to staff party games this year? Try these options, like People Bingo and What's in Your Cell Phone?