Throughout the holiday season itâ€™s impossible to overlook all the Christmas and Yuletide games that are available.
Archaeologists have discovered reindeer bone tools dating to prehistory, some of which may have been used during the earliest Yule rituals and games. This is particularly true in Northern Europe where reindeers were abundant. Nearly every part of a reindeer was used when one was harvested, the hide made clothing, the hair could be woven, etc.
It wasnâ€™t until 1939, however that reindeer shot to fame. This was the year in which Robert May wrote a poem for Montgomery ward entitled â€œRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeerâ€.
For that entire holiday season shoppers took home free copies of the poem â€“ totaling some 250000 copies! Seven years later, May produced the poem again in book form, which is how many children and parents alike became familiar with reindeer.
Since that time there have been all manner of songs and movies starring our red-nosed friend. However, itâ€™s questionable as to whether most people know about some of the very early Rudolph archetypes.
Take, for example, Gnasher and Cracker. No these arenâ€™t Saturday morning character names, but rather two magical goats that pulled Thorâ€™s chariot in Norse folk tales! So its not surprising to find the Swedish and Norwegian gift-giver of the 18th century being accompanied by reindeer. By the way, some of the reindeerâ€™s names from the Christmas stories have Germanic meanings. Donder is â€œthunderâ€ and Blitzen is â€œlightning.â€
Yuletide Family Game
There are many traditional Yuletide family activities and games, one such is the making of a Yule wreath The game involves each person taking turns placing an ornament on the top of the wreath. When someone places his/her ornament on the top of another person’s wreath they must take off that ornament. If this happens more than once, the player who has lost all of her ornaments loses the game.
The first person to lose all of their ornaments wins the game.
This activity is fun because everyone gets involved and takes pride in decorating the wreaths. It also makes a great party game at other times of year, swap out the wreath for a paper plate or something.
Other traditional games and activities include:
Finding the Yule log – A large piece of wood is cut into pieces and hidden around the house. Each member of the family finds one of the logs and hides it somewhere else in the house. Then, after dinner, the whole family gathers together and searches through the house to see if anyone found any of the logs. Whoever finds the last log becomes King or Queen of the Log Hunt.
Christmas tree cutting – Traditionally, families would go outside during December and chop down a small evergreen tree.
Candle Circle – Arrange candles into a circle, take it in turns hopping around the circle without knocking a candle down, whoever knocks the most candles down loses. For a safer alternative you could use small building blocks.
Storytelling and role play storytelling around the fire – Families often tell ghost stories around the fireplace. Some families even make up their own ghost story based upon what happened when they were kids.
Singing carols – Singers sing Christmas Carols while others join in singing along.
Playing board games – There are so many different types of board games available today. You can choose between card games, word games, dice games, etc.
Making gingerbread houses – Gingerbread houses are traditionally made using cookie dough.
Making traditional Danish pastry and cookies – Traditional Danish pastries and cookies are usually baked fresh every day throughout the holiday season just like traditional German cookies just like traditional German cookies. They are delicious and festive treats.
Decorations – Decorate your home with lights, garland, trees, snowmen, Santa Claus, candy canes, holly berries, mistletoe, poinsettias, and much more.
Hand make your Christmas decorations and ornaments – Handmade items are always special and unique. Make your own stockings, ornaments, wreathes, bows, cards, gifts, and anything else you think will add to the festivities. Click here to see our guide to making your own primitive Christmas decorations.