When the family is looking for a screen-free activity during the holidays (or any time, for that matter) board games are always a great option. In fact, I know a lot of people who enjoy family board game nights every Friday or Sunday, finding it to be a great way to bond, shut off mobile devices and screens, and enjoy one another’s company for an hour or two. When it comes to games to play during the holiday season, there are lots of options. In fact, all these games would make perfect gifts under the tree, too, so you can unwrap and play right away!

We cover plenty of board game options in the board games buying guide along with recommendations on which types are best based on the ages of players, how many people, how much time you have, and what type of game you’re in the mood to play. But here, I have highlighted a few board games that are especially perfect for the holiday season.

Family playing Twister board game

Board games for big groups

If you have a big family or extended family visiting for the holidays, why not mix board game fun with a bit of physical activity? Twister is an old classic and perfect for plenty of laughs. Spin the wheel and place the specific extremity on the right coloured dot. Soon, everyone will be twisted up, contorted, falling down, and laughing hysterically. It’s a great game to get the party started before you sit, relax, and play something a bit more sedentary.

Group playing Ultimate Catchphrase.

Once everyone needs a break, consider a hilarious game like Hasbro’s Ultimate Catch Phrase that will get the adrenaline pumping and the competitive and frantic spirit flowing. An electronic game that requires batteries (so don’t forget to pick up a pack if you don’t have any at home!), the idea is to play in teams.

How does it work? Hold the device in your hand, look at the word or phrase that appears on the screen, and you have 15 seconds to get your team to guess what it is. If they don’t get it in the specified time, toss the unit to another player who will try again. The person holding the device when the buzzer goes off loses and the other team gets a point.

Board games for small families

The game includes 5,000 words and phrases in categories like around the world and snack time, so you’ll enjoy hours and hours of fun. All you need is four or more players aged 12 and up and you can organize as many teams as you like, making this game perfect for big crowds.  

Escape Room The Game.

If you’re enjoying a quiet evening at home with the family, there are plenty of great games that are super-fun for anywhere from 3-5 players. Escape rooms are really popular nowadays, and you can enjoy the escape room experience at home with a game like Escape Room The Game 4 Board Game. Suitable for families with older kids, everyone has to work together to solve various clues and puzzles while racing against the clock: you only have one hour to complete it. The game has four different adventures so you can make it an annual game you play each year during the holidays, then pick up another set in the series once you have completed all four.

Monopoly Elf edition

For something to play with younger kids, or with a holiday-specific theme, who doesn’t love the classic Christmas movie Elf starring Will Ferrell as the titular character? The classic board game Monopoly comes in all types of themed sets, but the Monopoly: Elf Board Game is the perfect one for the holiday season. Not only are you greeted with Buddy the Elf’s enthusiastically smiling face right in the middle of the game board, also enjoy game board pieces and locations specific to the movie and its setting of New York City; from Gimbels Toy Department to the Lincoln Tunnel. Instead of lavish properties for the most desired spots on the board, you must collect all four main food groups to spread Christmas cheer. Kids as young as 8 can play while little ones can play as partners with their parents or older siblings.

Family playing Settlers of Catan board game.

Settlers of Catan is a classic game option for up to four players aged 10 and up. You can work together or against one another to collect various resources, create roads, and build different settlements. Because the board game is modular, you can play again and again with a different outcome every time. It’s the perfect board game to play through the holidays, and a regular weekly way for the family to bond.

Silly board games

Cards Against Humanity Family Edition.

Sometimes all you want is downright silly fun. If Twister isn’t your cup of tea, consider Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition. I have played Cards Against Humanity with family and friends, but only adults: the original game is not appropriate for children. For young ones, there’s Kids Against Maturity, which my 11-year-old owns and absolutely loves playing with friends when we go away for a weekend to places like a waterpark. They giggle for hours at the silly potty humor.

Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition combines the best of both worlds so the adults and kids can finally play together. Like the original, it’s a fill-in-the-blank style game where everyone is given a statement and must complete it in the silliest way possible. Players choose the missing word or phrases by selecting the best-fitting one from cards in their hand. It’s just as absurd as the original but with the type of humor kids love and remaining clean and free of inappropriate words or innuendo. There are 600 cards in the pack but with a near infinite number of combinations, it’s easy to play this game again and again. Get expansion packs when you want to spice things up with some new potty humor.

Board games for adults

Drinkopoly board game.

If your holiday evening involves just adults, or maybe the kids are relegated to the basement where they’re playing their own board game or watching a movie, you can consider a fun game that’s for 18+. For those who are of legal drinking age, consider Drinkopoly, a fun variation on Monopoly that has mischievous prompts and, of course, involves drinking. A total social party game that’s perfect for young adults spending the holidays together, this one must be played responsibly. All players should be ready to stay the night or find a safe way home to avoid drinking and driving.

7 Wonders board game.

If you’d prefer something that doesn’t involve alcohol, try the game 7 Wonders, which can be played with up to eight people. It takes just 30 minutes and can even be played solo if you’re looking to pass the time while your spouse is at work and the kids are at grandma’s place. It’s a simple game that’s a variation of Dominos using colours instead of numbers. The Deluxe edition even includes small easels to hold the Chrominos, the name for the game pieces, so it’s neat and tidy. The goal: empty your easel first to win. Play again and again for hours of fun.

Board games for kids

Five Nights at Freddy's Fright Night board game.

With the Five Nights At Freddy’s book series and now movie hot this year, Funko Five Nights At Freddy’s – Night of Frights board game is one kids will love. Suitable for kids 8 and older and for 2-4 players, young ones will have fun while also testing their cognitive skills, focus, and decision making. Plus, they’ll be so busy playing, they’ll forget all about screen time. They can play as their favourite characters and enjoy imagery and themes from the books. Surprise them with watching the movie once they’re done.

Virtual board games

OK, ok, so I did say board game time was all about screen-free time. But with the Arcade1Up Infinity Game Table, you get both family fun time and screen time that isn’t passive. So, this one gets a pass! How does it work? The table has a built-in 32-inch touchscreen that serves as your digital game board, housing a massive library of classic Hasbro titles, from games like Risk and Monopoly to Sorry and Battleship.

Arcade1Up Infinity Game Table.

Plug it in, load up the game, and play without any of the mess of cards falling, tiny game pieces getting lost, dice knocking things over, or crafty family members sneaking bills from the bank. With the Social Play+ option, you can connect with family members who have another table from afar. This means aunt and uncle across the pond can still play even if they didn’t make it home for the holidays. Set up a video call with them and it’s like they’re right there with you.

Didn’t find the right board game for your family here? See our board games buying guide for more ideas and tips and choose from a wide selection of board games for the holiday season at Best Buy online.

Christine Persaud
With 20+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism, I have covered the tech space since before social media was a "thing" and the smartphone as we know it was even invented. Writing for various technology, lifestyle, and entertainment sites, I have covered and reviewed hundreds of tech products, from home appliances to wearables, fitness tech to headphones, TV entertainment products and services, and more. I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV show fanatic (happy to give what to watch recommendations!), and proud mother to a 12-year-old son.


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