Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Parlor Game: Christmas Charades.

Christmas Charades or Christmas Charade is a word guessing game. In the form most commonly played today, it is an acting game in which one player acts out a word or phrase, often by pantomiming similar-sounding words, and the other players guess the word or phrase. The idea is to use physical rather than verbal language to convey the meaning to another party. It is also sometimes called Activity, after the board game.
      Our staff ranks the level of difficulty in "acting out" particular words or phrases. In this way teams of two or more may choose from three categories of difficulty and will earn points based upon each level. Players must attempt to act out each word or phrase until all options have been played out. At the end of the Charade game the team with the most points wins.

The History of Charades: "Charades" are reported to have originated in France in the 18th century, and later spread across Europe and around the world. The first mention of charades in English was in a letter written in 1776 by Lady Boscawen, a Bluestocking and widow of Admiral Edward Boscawen. Early charades were usually in rhyming form, and contained a clue for each syllable ("my first", "my second",...) of a chosen word or phrase, followed by a clue about the entire word ("my whole"). Charades played a role in Jane Austen's Emma. One famous composer of such charades is Winthrop Mackworth Praed; others are Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Pope Leo XIII. An example of this form of charade, taken from an early American magazine in 1834, goes like this

"My first, tho’ water, cures no thirst,
My next alone has soul,
And when he lives upon my first,
He then is called my whole."

The answer to this charade is "sea-man". Another, composed by Jane Austen herself, is this:

When my first is a task to a young girl of spirit,
And my second confines her to finish the piece,
How hard is her fate! but how great is her merit
If by taking my whole she effects her release!
The answer is "hem-lock".

      This form of charade appeared in magazines, books, and on the folding fans of the Regency. The answers were sometimes printed on the reverse of the fan, suggesting that they were a flirting device, used by a young woman to tease her beau.
      The name "charades" gradually became more popularly used to refer to acted charades. Examples of the acted charades are described in William Thackeray's Vanity Fair and in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.

Traditional Christmas Charades:
Easy (1 pt.)
rocking horse
candy cane
Santa's hat
kissing ball or mistletoe
Difficult (5 pts.)
Santa's elves
gingerbread house
Christmas tree
Jesus' Birthday
Really Tuff (10 pts.)
hot chocolate
"The Night Before Christmas" poem
Christmas shopping
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
sugar plums
electric lights

Christmas Office Party Charades:
easy (1pt.)
rubber band
mouse (computer)
trash can
difficult (5 pts.)
computer (monitor)
paper clip
coffee break
window washer
really tuff (10 pts.)
"The Boss"
getting fired
gift exchange
"Secret Santa"

Winter Wonderland Charades:
easy (1pt.)
snow cone
polar bear
difficult (5 pts.)
ice skating
ice hockey
frost bite
really tuff (10 pts.)
whale blubber
snow shoe
Winter Olympics
ice sickle

Read more about Christmas Charades: Charades from Jane Austen's Christmas * Christmas Charades & Pictionary * Charades from Lovely Christmas * Christmas Movie Charades *

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