I know, I know–There are more important things to be writing about right now…. But it’s Christmastime, and–believe it or not–not everybody who reads this blog comes here to read about my take on the latest example of systemic racism or torture reports. Some people actually read this stuff expecting to laugh…. And a lot of those people have probably been a little disappointed lately. So instead of writing about stuff that is weighing heavily on my heart (there seems to be a lot of it lately), I’m going to tell you about the greatest Christmas Party activity the world has ever known: We’ll call it The Nativity Game.
Well, it’s not really a game, I guess. Most games have losers, and in this “game” everyone wins. It’s really more of an activity. And it doesn’t really have a name. Nativity Roulette? That sounds too dangerous. Nactivity? Nope. That’s dumb. Quasi-Sacriligious Dress-Up? Nah, then you’ll lose a bunch of the more conservative members of your family, and that’s no fun…. Let’s just stay with “The Nativity Game.” Here is how it works:
OBJECT: To have as much fun as possible, while leaving the members of your Christmas party with a treasured keepsake that will make them smile for years to come. The goal is for that treasured keepsake to be a picture of all the people at your Christmas party dressed as characters in a nativity scene….
THINGS NEEDED TO PLAY: All you really need is a camera with a timer. However, there are a few other things that can add to the enjoyment of the activity–Not the least of which is Good ol’ Fashioned Holiday Cheer. And by “Good ol’ Fashioned Holiday Cheer,” of course I mean alcohol. In addition to alcohol, you could also use some ACTUAL Holiday Cheer. “Good ol’ Fashioned Holiday Cheer” and “ACTUAL Holiday Cheer” work very well together, but either one of them will work just fine by itself in a pinch.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: I’d say for best results you should have at least 6 players, but you can do it with less. There really is no maximum amount of players, but anything more than about 20 is going to require a house way bigger than mine. Let’s say 6-20 Players. Kids are a great addition to The Nativity Game, so this can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
DIRECTIONS: Count how many guests you have at your Christmas party, and write that same number of nativity scene characters on a piece of paper. You then cut out those individual characters, place the pieces of paper into a hat, and have each guest choose one character from the hat. The character you choose is the character you will be in The Nativity Game picture. Each person then has 15 minutes to find stuff in the house that can be used as a costume for their particular character. The following is a completely non-exhaustive list of possible nativity characters:
- Baby Jesus (required)
- Mary (required)
- Joseph (required)
- Angel (suggested) (more than one character if needed)
- Wise Man (suggested) (more than one character if needed…. traditionally three, but whatever. It’s your party)
- Shepherd (suggested) (more than one character if needed)
- The Star
- Various Middle-Eastern & Non Middle-Eastern Farm Animals (and Non-Farm Animals, really–Anything from camels & sheep to alligators & bumble-bees…. Again, your party. You could have cards that read “Choose Your Own Animal.” Two-person animals like “Front Half of Cow” & “Back Half of Cow” can be fun, but it is a lot more fun if you can see everyone’s face in the picture, and it’s never easy to see “Back Half of Cow’s” face.)
- Optional Characters, like The Innkeeper (sending them packing) or The Manger (hope for a small Baby Jesus) are always a possibility as well…. Do not feel limited to the traditional nativity scene characters. If you feel like having a “Cousin Eddie” or a “Buddy The Elf” show up at your nativity, you go on with your bad self…. Third time I’m going to say this: Your party.
VARIATIONS ON THE GAME: There’s some real wiggle room in this area of the game…. If you want to allow for trading of nativity characters in your version, that is fine. Another option is you can spice things up by adding pieces of paper that say “Choose Someone Else’s Character” or “Switch Any Two Characters” into the mix. Just make sure that there is one character for each person at your party. If you wanted, you could even have the drawing before the party, and have each person come to the party dressed as their character.
HOW TO WIN: You win the game when you have a picture in which you can see each character at the party, and you post that picture on Facebook and tag all those people in the picture in order to spread the Christmas Cheer to all their friends (ACTUAL Holiday Cheer, not the Good ol’ Fashioned variety). When it’s done right, you’ll end up with something like this:
This game was created and developed with the help of our good friends. When we played, we used classic rules (The character you choose is the character you ARE. No switching). The two grown men in this photo were the last two people to draw their character from the hat. The two that were left were Mary and Baby Jesus. My friend drew before me. I said a quick prayer that he would choose Baby Jesus and leave me with the role of Mary, but as you can see, the REAL Baby Jesus did not seem to be listening to my prayer. I know my “swaddling clothes” look more like a loincloth, but you know what? It’s my party. Anyway, Merry Christmas, Planet Earth…. This is my Christmas present to you.
LAST THING: If you do this activity at a Christmas party and take a picture of it, send it to me on my Facebook page (THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY LIKED!!). You can go directly to that page by clicking RIGHT HERE. Let’s keep ’em clean, people…. Still, even keeping them clean, there might be a few people who might get offended, but I believe Jesus has a sense of humor. He’s the kind of guy who might wear a tuxedo T-shirt…. Anyway, it’s your party.