Traditional family Christmas

The way Christmas used to be done

Christmas has long been established as a family occasion. Many generations come together under one roof and around one very large table to eat, drink and be merry.

But it seems that gone are the days where families interact and engage with one another in quite the same way as they used to. We increasingly choose to slunk on the sofa after eating far to much turkey and Christmas pudding, watching telly and only conversing in order to start the fifth box of chocolates!

This year, Four Shires are looking at the way Christmas used to be done. So why not turn the television off (at least for a short while), put the remote away and join your family in some festive fun.

Parlour games found particularly popularity during the Victorian times, so should you choose to have a go at some of the following then you will be bringing back an old past time to your homes:


You may see Monopoly as being a rather more modern game, but people have been playing a variant of this game since 1904, when Elizabeth Magie was granted a patent for a board game called The Landlord’s Game. By 1935, a board game that resembles modern day Monopoly was being sold. Since then, more than one billion people have played the game and more than six billion little green houses and 2.25 billion red hotels have been constructed on its ‘streets’.

Now with more incarnations of this game then ever before including: Monopoly The Walking Dead, Monopoly World Football Stars and Monopoly Junior to name but a few, there is bound to be a version of this classic that you can enjoy with the whole family.


 Now you’d be hard pushed to find someone that hasn’t played, or at least heard of this silent favourite, often associated with the festive season.

A game in which the players are typically divided into two teams, charades finds its participants taking turns to mime, a word, phrase or title for example, which the other members of their team must guess.

The origins of the word ‘charades’ comes from 18th century French, which would suggest that our neighbours had a hand in the formation of one of Britain’s favourite parlour games.
Blind Man’s Buff

Now this game seems to have fallen out of favour but it is one which many may remember from their childhood (once resfreshed on the rules).

Firstly choose your blindman and cover their eyes with a blindfold. Spin them around until they are disorientated. The blindman will then attempt to capture someone and identify their prisoner.

Poet, Lord Alfred Tennyson is said to have played this game in the mid-19th century so ressurecting it once more this festive season, will find you in good company.

Pass The Slipper

 In Victorian times a slipper would have been used for this game, but any small item may be used.

A player stands in the centre of a circle formed by the other people. The player in the middle must close their eyes and as they do so, the slipper is passed from player to player behind their backs. When the person in the middle opens their eyes, the passing of the slipper immediately stops and the player must guess who holds it. If they guess correctly, they change places, otherwise the player closes their eyes again and play continues.

Are you there, Moriarty?

This humorous parlour game is one that could provide a large degree of amusement for its spectators; possibly even more so than its players.

Two players are blindfolded and given a rolled up newspaper to use as a weapon (other objects may be used as long as they will not cause injury). The players lie on their fronts, head to head, with about three feet of space between them.

The starting player (you can draw names out of a hat for this) says “Are you there Moriarty?”. The other player, when ready, says “yes”. At this point the first player attempts to hit the other player with thier newspaper. The second player then attempts to hit the first with theirs. The first player to be hit is eliminated from the game and another player takes their place. The winner of the game is the one who manages to remain in the game the longest.

In order to avoid being hit, each player may roll to one side or the other. A player who can quickly roll out of the way after speaking or striking will have a definite advantage in the game. However, like most parlour games, the appeal of this game largely lies in its spectacle and humour rather than its strategy.

A Frosty, Family Walk

Taking a walk is not only a great way to spend time with your family but is also a fantastic way to burn off the excesses of the Christmas feast.

With many beautiful villages and open countryside in the Four Shires you will be hard pushed not to find a beautiful location within a few miles of where you live.

A few places worth wandering this December include: Burton Dassett Hills and Edgehill or why not try out one of Four Shires’ Peter Jones walks if you want something a little more structured.

Get Crafty this Christmas

Why not get your children together and make some festive decorations for your home. Some ideas you might wish to try include:

  • Paper garland: take strips of coloured paper and loop the first piece around, stapling into a circle. Thread through a second piece of paper and secure with a staple. Continue the process until you have a garland of the required length.
  • You could also create your own family Christmas cards, using stencils, paints or anything that comes to hand.
  • Bake and decorate gingerbread men

These are all simple ideas of how to get the children involved with decorating the house this Yuletide.

Snow Business!

Should we be lucky enough to enjoy a white Christmas then there are three traditions which spring to mind:

Sledging: Take to the hills, sledge under arm, and enjoy a tradition that everyone loves. Sliding down a hill on your bottom, bailing out before you hit fellow riders, will leave you in hoots of laughter and chilly enough to enjoy your warming Christmas dinner.

Build a Snowman: Who doesn’t enjoy building a companion out of snow? Popping in a carrot nose and coal for eyes…you may even find yourself singing ‘Walking in the Air’ from the 1982 film about a boy who dreams the snowman he has built comes to life.

Snowball fight: To make your snowball fight a little more impressive, why not consider building a wall of snow to shelter behind and ambush from?!

Whether you choose to ‘build a house on Mayfair’ or get crafty with your children this December, why not try to overindulge, not only in the turkey, but in a bit of quality family time this Christmas?