Christmas special | Five holiday games

Christmas special | Five holiday games

Christmas dinners and lunches are a pleasure for our palates for sure, but can result a little hard to digest. To wake up from the sleepiness that invades us just after finishing them, why not get involved in some game in company?

Here is a ranking of the most beloved games of our tradition ever. So, call grandparents and cousins and choose the one you prefer. And above all, do not cheat!


The ranking of the evergreen games opens with a classic. Yes, it’s her, the Tombola, lady of every family night. It forms such a huge part of our tradition that it dates back to XVIII century. In Naples, during holidays the lottery was interrupted because it was considered immoral by Father Gregorio Maria Rocco, so a new version was invented, the Tombola. The origin of its name is to be found probably in the word “capitombolo”: the acting of the number falling from the container (shaped as a tombolo). In the rest of the world it is basically known as “bingo” and there are several variations, with associations of names and meanings and little amounts of money. Ready to bet on fun?

holiday games

Mercante in fiera

Cards are suitable to countless different games. But which is the one Italian families prefer for the holidays? The Mercante in fiera, of course. We have an eighteenth-century origin for this game too and we find its development starting from the basic principle of lottery. Already inviting for its name, the Mercante in fiera has the advantage of becoming more compelling the higher the number of players. A good solution for large families, who are not forced to take turns or divide into small groups to play cards for once. The original decks would be the common ones, but over time several variations with the most bizarre figures were born. You just have to choose your favorite one.


holiday games


Cards keeps their position on the podium of the holidays’ scene, canceling the differences between generations with their ability to involve everyone. One of the most widespread games is definitely the Briscola. The Briscola boasts even more ancient origins than the previous games, being at least two centuries older. Imported from the Netherlands and arrived at us through French, the Briscola was Italianized and often undergoes regional variations as well. You can play in pairs, in two or in four, and in three against three, forming little teams and then narrowing the numbers of the Mercante in fiera. For the Briscola it is however worth to take turns! The first and last hand are so delicate that there is the rule of silence between players. But the most amusing part is definitely having to make your partner understand you through gestures and winking. Children will find it irresistible.






Among the simplest games and above all among the most fun ones, another card game, the Assassino. Normally Neapolitan cars are used, but actually the French ones are perfectly adapt too. Even here there is no limit to the number of participants, the important thing is that two distinguish from the others: the King of Coins (and the Ace of Swords (Ace of Spades). Remaining serious will be difficult during the game, that is to be practiced in silence, while the murderer kills as many casualties he or she can winking discretely and the commissioner will try to catch him in the act. You can also found variants with the soothsayer, that obstacles the murderer, making the death resuscitate by kisses on the fly, and the helper, who reveals himself or herself at the murderer instead winking back at him or she and who has the advantage of the impossibility of being arrested. Did we give you enough suspence?


To close the ranking, comes the famous Scarabeo. The one we know is an Italian variant of the Scrabble, published in Italy at the end of the Fifties. One of the most popular and appreciated board games for all ages, the Scarabeo is not only fun, but also intellectually stimulating: it requires attention and imagination, and in addition it leads us to enrich our vocabulary. It essentially consists of the construction of words using a few letters available and on the basis of words already created on the gaming table. Time runs fast while the participants hasten to compose longer and longer words to obtain more points. A game in which knowledge of language seems to win. We are sure we convinced you.

holiday games