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Christmas Taboo

The holidays are a time for joy, togetherness, and of course, games! One of the most festive and hilarious party games to play during the Christmas season is Christmas Taboo. In this team game, players try to get their teammates to guess words related to Christmas without saying the “taboo” words. It’s a great way to get everyone laughing and feeling the holiday spirit! 

Christmas tree branch with ball ornament and gold star.

Materials Needed for Christmas Taboo

Taboo cards– These are cards with a main word you’re trying to get your team to guess. Additionally there are  3-5 “taboo” words that you cannot use to describe the main word.

Timer– It can be an hourglass from a board game, or an egg timer that you can set for a minute. You’ll need a timer to keep the rounds short and fast-paced. Most rounds are just 1 minute long.

Pen & Paper– To keep score.

Objective of Christmas Taboo

The main objective of  Christmas Taboo is to have your team correctly guess as many target words as possible.


  • Divide players into two teams. 
  • Decide which team will go first.
  • Start the timer.
  • Each player has 1 minute to get their teammates to guess as many words as they can. 

Taboo Cards

Each card contains a main word along with several taboo words. For example, North Pole (main word) and elves, Santa, cold, snow (taboo words).

Example of taboo card with main word North Pole and taboo words snow, cold, Santa, home in front of Christmas tree

Playing each round of Christmas Taboo

  • A player from the first team draws a card and then describes the main word to their team. Example: For the main word North Pole, the player might say: “The place at the top of the world where Father Christmas lives.” They cannot say any of the taboo words listed on the card or any part of the main word. Once a teammate guesses the word, the player draws another card and continues until time is up. The team scores one point for each word they guess correctly.
  • A player from the second team serves as time keeper and monitor.  He/she looks at the card in play then listens to ensure that the player giving the clues does not use any of the taboo words. If one of the taboo words is used the team loses a point.
  • Teammates shout out guesses until someone calls out the right answer.
  • If the player gets to a word that they don’t know, or teammates are having a hard time guessing it, they can skip the card. However, if they do skip a card, the team loses a point.
  • Play alternates between the two teams. 
  • The team with the most points at the end of the play period wins.
Two young men and 3 young women sitting on a couch raising their glasses next to a Christmas tree.

Key points to keep in mind

  • No gesturing.
  • No part of a taboo word or main word can be used.
  • No “sounds like” or “rhymes with” words can be used.
  • No abbreviations or initials can be used.
  • No saying word in foreign language.
  • No mouthing of the words.

Make Your Own Christmas Taboo Cards

1. Make a list of 100 Christmas/winter-related words and terms. Everything from Santa to snowball fights to candy canes – get creative!

2. Next to each main word, write 3-5 taboo words that are related and therefore the card reader cannot say. 

3. Write each word and its taboo words onto an index card. 

4. Laminate the cards (optional) so they last multiple years. 

5. Divide the deck evenly amongst the teams and you’re ready to play!

Sample Main Words with Taboo Words


  • Stockings- chimney, hung, fireplace, socks
  • Ornaments- decorate, balls, shiny, tree lights
  • Wreath- circular, evergreen, bow, door
  • Tinsel- shiny, silver, gold, tree trimming 
  • Angel- tree topper, wings, halo, ornament
  • Bell- Salvation Army, ringing, donate
  • Christmas Tree- pine, ornaments, tinsel, angel 
  • Nutcracker- ballet, soldier, dance, toy
  • Star- tree, wise men, sky
  • Christmas- holiday,  Eve, Noel, Xmas
  • Tinsel- silver strands, tree trimming, glittery

Food & Drink

  • Cookies- milk, crumbs, Santa’s snack, decorate  
  • Candy- sweets, sugar, treats, desserts
  • Candy Canes- peppermint, stripes, hook, candy
  • Hot Chocolate- marshmallows, cream, warm drink, cozy
  • Eggnog- cinnamon, nutmeg, drink, holiday beverage
  • Gingerbread- cookie house, decorate, gumdrops, frosting
  • Marshmallow- hot cocoa, sweet, fire, roast
  • Chestnuts- open fire, roasting, holiday smells, warmth
  • Stuffing- Thanksgiving side, turkey filling, bread cubes  
  • Cranberry  Thanksgiving side dish, sauce, jelly, tart
  • Gravy- Thanksgiving staple, turkey, dripping, brown
  • Pudding- figgy, spiced, flame, British dessert
  • Ham- holiday meal, glazed with pineapple, cooked
  • Fruitcake- dense, bricks, heavy, doorstop
Hot cocoa in white mug with mini marshmallows on a table with Christmas branch.


  • Santa- St. Nick, reindeer, North Pole, sleigh 
  • Reindeer- Prancer, Comet, Blitzen, Rudolph
  • Snowman- frosty, snow, carrot nose, coal
  • Frosty the Snowman – magic hat, comes to life, jolly happy soul
  • Jack Frost – nipping noses, cold weather, winter sprite
  • Elves – Santa’s helpers, short, toy makers, North Pole workers
  • Rudolph – red nose, reindeer, Santa’s sleigh, foggy Christmas Eve
  • Scrooge – greedy, ungenerous, “Bah humbug!”
  • Tiny Tim – carol, God bless us everyone, Dickens
Resin snowman dressed in sweater, beige jacket, hat, mittons, pants, holder a lantern in front of black background with snow.


  • Wise Men- Magi, three kings, frankincense, myrrh
  • Gold- gift, precious, baby, silver
  • Jesus- Son, baby, birth, manger
  • Shepherds- sheep,  flocks, angel, fields
  • Mary- mother, virgin, Joseph, birth 
  • Joseph- Mary, husband, angel, carpenter
Vintage nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, cows

General Christmas

  • Snowball- fight, fort, winter fun, snowy
  • Blizzard- storm, snowed in, freezing, icy roads
  • Scarf- wool, winter accessory, warmth, windy 
  • Mittens- warm, knitted, snow, frozen fingers
  • Gingerbread Houses- candy, decorate, frosting, graham crackers, gumdrops
  • Nativity- Jesus, manger, wise men, birth scene 
  • Jingle Bells- one horse open sleigh, dashing through snow, popular carol
  • Bethlehem- Jesus’ birthplace, star, manger, stables

With its festive theme, hilarious forbidden words, and opportunity for family bonding, Christmas Taboo is a holiday party game that’s sure to become a new tradition for years to come. The laughs and memories made while playing will have everyone looking forward to taking out the game year after year. If you’re searching for a fun and festive activity to liven up your next Christmas gathering, look no further than Christmas Taboo!

Christmas tree branch with gold and red ball ornaments.


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