Editors’ Top Picks: Holiday Game Night

Dinner’s over, the dishes are washed … but before the tryptophan and carb crash render us unconscious, wouldn’t it be nice to gather some family and friends together for a game or two? Here, we Hayneedle editors have picked a few of our favorite games of wit and skill (for the most part). These top picks not only provide a wonderful alternative to the front-yard football game a.k.a. trip to Emergicare, but also are great choices for holiday gifts. Come play, won’t you?


In our family, we like to invest in high-quality heirloom games that encourage play with their beautiful appearance. The Jaques Classic Score 4 is a great game to have on hand, especially for younger players. While adults are playing a more complex game, this simple diversion can provide a fun alternative for kids. The gorgeous wood construction elevates this game set, making it worthy of display. Manufactured by Jaques of London, the oldest game company in the world, its refined presentation of a classic game is a pleasure for kids and adults alike. 

– Augusta

Post-feast entertainment is a Thanksgiving Day must. But choosing an activity inclusive enough to accommodate a motley assemblage of friends and family often proves a challenge. This year, turn off the screens and try something unconventional — introduce your guests to the classic art of toss juggling. Learn the skill alongside your loved ones, or giggle together when your reserved uncle Reggie takes center stage to reveal his inner jester. Either way, this Retro Planet Authentic Juggling Kit, which features three clown-quality balls and a robust instruction manual, ensures a joyous get-together.

– Braden

The game Scattergories was gifted to me in my childhood, and I took to it immediately – my love of words finally had a competitive outlet! After a few years I graduated to Scrabble and regularly outscored my brother and cousins, sometimes even my parents. We made good use of the dictionary as comedic made-up words made regular appearances! 



I chose the Scrabble / Monopoly / Clue Nostalgia Tin Combo because these particular games take me back to my earliest memories of playing board games with my older brothers. The tin packaging alone makes this combo set a keeper!

 – Danny

When I was little, I was obsessed with geography, and I’m sure the 10 Days in Europe Board Game would’ve been my favorite. Well hey, it’s not too late to indulge that obsession! The object of this game is to chart a 10-day course across Europe, with each day connecting to the next day – how can I resist? Players can travel by foot, by ship, and by airplane. Game pieces include country tiles, transportation tiles, wooden tile holders, and a map game board. With this game, you get a dose of European travel savviness  and board-game fun all in one. Now if only frequent flyer miles were the winning prize …


As a kid, I remember staying up late to watch my parents play cribbage with their friends. It always looked like such a blast! Now that I know how to play, my husband and I get in a game whenever we can. It’s especially entertaining if you turn it into a tournament. Put the beautiful walnut-finished Royal 3-Track Cribbage Box on display this holiday season, along with some favorite drinks and snacks, and guests won’t be able to resist taking you up on the offer.


The whir of the fan, the thin layer of air, the click-clack of the pushers … air hockey is such a fast, fun game that requires neither a shred of geekiness nor hint of a secret play book. Plus, all things that take me back to the 70s are revered in my home. And because this Sport Squad Air Hockey game is a tabletop version, we can play it in any room … and bring the 8-track tape of Air Supply with us.

– Leslie

Accessible from every angle, it’s easy for my whole family to play a part in assembling this 4D New York City Skyline Time Puzzle. I love that my kids can get involved in this activity and that they can take in a little history lesson as we build. Plus, we’re not wrapped up in strategy like some games might require so we’re free to talk and enjoy each others’ company over seconds of pumpkin pie.


Find gifts for everyone on your list! Shop games and 1000s more gifts here – on sale, too!

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