Thanksgiving may be over, but Friendsgiving season is still in full swing! That means lots of opportunities to plan dinner parties with your social circle. We’ve seen firsthand through the ZENB community how every friend group creates their own traditions to celebrate the harvest season, give thanks, and of course, eat and drink delicious things together!
Once you’ve sent out the invitations, and started vision-boarding your tablescape and planning the menu (with delicious recipes like these ZENB Lasagna ones, of course!), it’s time to think through the social parts of the evening. Even if you’re outsourcing some of the prepping and cleaning to other friends, as the host, it’s on you to make sure your guests are comfy and have a good time. That might mean clearing out the hall closet so extra coats can get hung up, curating playlists, and brainstorming creative ways for everyone to mingle. That’s where the games can come in!
Parlor games bring a sense of wholesome fun with a vintage flair, but we think it’s about so much more than that. How rare is it for everyone in a room to put down their phones and actually connect? There’s something so special about analog, tech-free fun, and we can pretty much guarantee that your Friendsgiving will be better for it!
If you want to hop on the parlor games train at your Friendsgiving this year, here are 4 that our ZENB crew enjoys that you can try! Just be sure to set out a plate of ZENB Cracker Crisps for snacking while playing!
Charades is perhaps the most classic parlor game of them all. In charades, the objective is to act out a word or concept using only physical movements, without any talking or sounds. The basic rules go like this:
- First, everyone writes a word, phrase, or title (think songs or movies, or concepts like “meme”) onto slips of paper. Fold the papers and then mix in a bowl.
- Next, divide the group into two teams.
- Flip a coin or use another tactic (thumb war, anyone?) to figure out which team goes first.
- One player from the first team picks a slip of paper from the bowl and reads it without showing it to anyone else. That is the word they’re going to act out for the rest of their teammates.
- Decide on the unit of time that each round will be; 2 or 3 minutes works best. The other team can manage the timing.
- Once the clock starts, the player from the first team must act out the word or phrase on their paper, and their teammates must guess. There are a few universally agreed upon hand signals in Charades that can help:
- First, hold up a number of fingers that indicate how many words are in the phrase.
- Then, hold up the number of fingers for which word you’re going to start with. It doesn’t have to be the first word!
- Tap your arm with the number of fingers to represent how many syllables are in the word.
- If the phrase is a book title, you can fold your hands into a book shape. If it’s a movie title, you can mime the hand crank of an old-fashioned film camera.
- If it seems easier to get your teammates to guess a rhyming word, tug on your earlobe to signify what the word “sounds like.”
- Point at the person who gets some or all of the words right to let the team know they’re on the right track.
If the team guesses it within the allotted amount of time, the team gets a point! Either way, once time is up, it becomes the other team’s turn to go. The teams go back and forth, with each team member getting a chance to act out a word, and the team with the most points at the end wins!
Telephone/Whisper Down the Lane
Maybe you played this interactive game at summer camp or in school! If you need a refresher, here’s how to play: Have everyone sit relatively close together in a circle or around a table. The first person must think of a phrase (the sillier the better), and then whisper it to the person beside them. That person whispers what they heard — or what they think they heard! — to the person next to them, and so on. There are no repeats or clarifications, so naturally the original phrase will get hilariously distorted or changed as it makes its way through the group. The final person in the chain announces what they’ve heard; chances are it will be much different than the original phrase!
The Dictionary Game
This is like the OG version of the board game Balderdash. To play, compile some paper, pens or pencils, and a dictionary. One person scans the dictionary for an obscure word, which they read aloud to the group. They can provide spelling, but no other information about the word.
Then, each player must write down a made-up definition of the word, while the person holding the dictionary writes down the real definition. Once all of the fake definitions are handed in, the person with the dictionary reads all of the definitions to the group, including the actual one (without revealing who wrote what, or which is the true definition). Everyone casts a vote for which they think is the dictionary definition, and then the true one is revealed. If any player’s made up definition is voted for, they get a point for each vote. Play until everyone has had a chance to pick the word, and then tally up the points to see who is the winner.
This storytelling game is a bit like the popular kids’ game, MadLibs. To play, everyone gets a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Following the prompts below, everyone writes down a line, then folds the paper over to hide it, and passes the sheet of paper to their right. As this process continues, a comically disjointed story emerges, line by line. At the end, each person can read their crowd-sourced story to the group!
- An adjective
- A man's name
- The word met followed by an adjective
- A woman's name
- The word at followed by where they met
- The word to followed by what they went there for
- The words he wore followed by what he wore
- The words she wore followed by what she wore
- What he did
- What she did
- The words and the consequence was followed by details of what happened as a result
- The words and the world said followed by what it said
These prompts can be rearranged, amended, or otherwise changed as you see fit!
We hope you and your friends have a wonderful Friendsgiving this year! If you need a bit of extra inspiration about what to cook for your gathering, explore the ZENB recipe collection for over 150 plant-fueled, crowd-pleasing dishes to try. For more hosting tips, kitchen hacks, and cooking advice, check out the ZENB Blog, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.