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AROUND Christmas and New Year's the children will enjoy playing this. All form a circle; one, Jack Frost, stands in the middle.
Jack Frost runs around inside the circle and touches one child on her right hand, and goes back to his place again. The child touched says: "Jack Frost came this way," the child to her left says: "What did he do?" No. 1 says: 'He nipped my right hand," (shaking her right hand). No. 2 tells No. 3 about Jack Frost, each doing as No. 1 did, and thus it goes down the circle, until back to No. 1 again.
Jack Frost then steps out and bites her left hand, and now both hands are shaking; thus each time Jack Frost nips some part, that is shaking with the rest, until the children are hopping up and down, and shaking all over.
Arrange twelve candles, one for each month, in a row about two feet apart. Have the candles different colors suggestive of the months they represent, such as, green for March and red for December.
The children form in line and one at a time jump over the candles, which are lighted.
If a light goes out the child who has just jumped will have bad luck in that month which the candle represents.
A slipper is waved three times over the head and then thrown on the floor.
If the toe be toward the player, good luck is coming. If the heel, bad luck is in store, and if it rests on its side, there is hope for something better.
On the sixth of January, Twelfth Night was celebrated in the olden times. Then all the pastry cooks did their finest baking and decked their windows with marvelous productions of cakes.
If a party is being planned for this day invite your guests to come dressed as cakes. Just the ladies will do this and the men can wear miniature cooking utensils if they choose.
Give each lady a number and each man a pencil and slip of paper. The men must guess what cakes the ladies represent and write their answers with the corresponding numbers on the paper.
When all the cakes have been guessed the correct list is read by the hostess and the one having the largest number of correct answers may be awarded a prize.
A prize may also be awarded to the lady attired in the best representation. One dressed in dark brown would suggest "chocolate cake"; another in orange-colored cheesecloth, "orange cake"; another with wreaths of raisins, currants and citron, suggest "fruit cake"; while one in just a plain dress with no signs suggestive of any cake may be "lady cake"; another carrying a hammer and pounding it whenever she saw fit, suggests "pound cake."
When inviting the guests for a valentine party, request each one to bring an original valentine addressed to one of the guests. As the guests arrive, the hostess collects the valentines, being careful to keep those addressed to ladies in one pile, and those addressed to gentlemen in another.
The hostess then hands each one a valentine, giving the gentlemen those addressed to the ladies and the ladies those for the gentlemen. The valentines are then read aloud and a jolly time will be the result.
A prize may be awarded for the best valentine, the brightest and most witty.
Each gentleman is handed a slip of paper with the name of a lady guest on it. The gentlemen are then requested, one at a time, to go to their respective ladies, giving each a compliment, every word of which begins with the initial letter of the lady's first name.
As each lady is addressed by a gentleman, she replies, using the initial letter of his name in her answer.
Votes are taken as to the best compliment and answer and a simple prize may be awarded the pair who obtained the most votes.
Cut out of red, white, blue, yellow and green paper hearts of all shapes and sizes, then cut each heart into four pieces and scatter these all over the room, on the floor, chairs, tables, behind pictures, etc.
Allow a certain length of time for the hunt, and when all the pieces have been collected, request each guest to put his pieces together and see how many whole hearts of the same color he has collected.
The white heart counts 1; the blue, 2; the yellow, 3; the green, 4; and the red, 5. The one scoring the greatest number of points is the winner of hearts and deserves a prize. A booby prize may be awarded the one who has only broken hearts.
A large heart made of some red material, (flannel or cheesecloth) is pinned securely to a sheet, which may be stretched on the wall or door. In the center of the large red heart is a small white heart, either sewed or pinned on.
Each guest is given an arrow of white cloth with a pin in one end. When everything is ready the hostess blindfolds the guests one at a time, and standing a certain distance from the heart, starts them in the right direction.
Each one endeavors to pin his arrow on the heart; the one pinning it nearest to the middle of the white heart wins the game.
Select five good paper valentines. Paste each on a piece of cardboard and cut into small pieces. Have five small tables in the room and place a puzzle on each. If the company is small, assign five persons to a table, if larger, use your own judgment.
Each one at the table takes his turn, trying to put the valentine together in its proper shape. Each player is timed, and the one who succeeds in putting it together in the shortest time is the winner.
If desired, the players can go from one table to the other; the one who succeeds in putting the most puzzles together out of the five, is the winner.
Cut out of red cardboard half as many hearts and mittens as you expect in your company. Out of blue cardboard cut hearts and mittens for the rest of the company. Number them so every heart has its corresponding mitten. Attach strings or ribbons to each and place them in a basket.
Each guest takes the end of a string and pulls out his heart or mitten, as the case may be. Each one then hunts for his partner.
When all are paired off, a circle is formed and someone strikes up a lively march. Whenever the music stops, all the ladies stand still, and the gentlemen move up one. This goes on until everyone has had a different partner, and finally, when the original one comes, there is a grand march before the circle breaks up.
Another way of securing partners for the evening is as follows: Suspend two large hearts made of either white or red paper from the ceiling, several feet apart. Make a hole in each, through which are hung the ends of long strings. The ladies hold the strings on one side and the gentlemen on the other.
When the hostess gives a signal, all pull on their strings. Thus the hearts are riven and partners are found holding the ends of the same string.
As the guests assemble for the Valentine party, give each gentleman a slip of paper bearing the name of a woman, and the ladies, the name of some man, noted in fiction as lovers. Thus the one who has Romeo hunts for the lady who has Juliet on her paper.
When all know who their partners are, the ladies must evade every attempt on the part of the gentlemen of proposing to them during the evening.
A prize is given to the gentleman who has succeeded in proposing, and to the girl who has alluded all efforts oŁ her partner by her wit and ingenuity.
Another way is to have the proposals progressive. Every gentleman must propose to every lady before the evening is over. The ladies use every effort they can to prevent them from "coming to the point." The man making the most offers receives the prize. The lady receiving the fewest declarations receives a prize.
For a party on this day, the room should be decorated with flags, hatchets, etc., and red, white, and blue bunting, so as to add a patriotic air to everything.
A picture of Washington may be cut in many pieces for a puzzle. The one who succeeds in putting the picture together in the shortest time receives a prize, which may be a large picture of Washington.
A cherry tree may be represented by using a branch of any tree and decorating it with small candy cherries. If these cannot be obtained, any kind of candy may be wrapped in red tissue paper and tied to the branch. The players are blindfolded one at a time, given a pair of scissors, and requested to "cut off a cherry."
To add to the fun small paper hatchets may be hidden around the room for the players to find, as in a peanut hunt.
The head of a hatchet may be drawn on a sheet which is tacked to the wall, and the players are given cloth handles which they are to pin to the sheet while blindfolded. The one who succeeds in pinning his handle nearest to the proper place may be awarded a prize.
For an April Fool's Day gathering, ask each guest to come prepared to do some sleight of hand trick. When all are assembled, each one in turn performs his trick. A vote is taken for the most clever and a prize is awarded.
Each one present endeavors to fool someone else during the evening. The one who has not been fooled once during the whole evening receives a prize; the one who is fooled the most times is given a prize, too.
The leader may take them up stairs, over stools, and any place hard to reach on one foot. To drop the egg or rest on both feet prevents one from continuing in the game. She must stay out until the next time round.
Mark on the table, or on the floor, if preferred, with chalk, four parallel lines, eight or ten feet long, and four or five inches apart. Thus there are three narrow spaces. At the end of each space make a circle, numbering the middle one 10, and the other two, 5. The middle space is marked 3, and the other two, 1.
The object of the game is to have each child roll five eggs, one at a time, down the middle space to the circles at the ends. If the egg goes into the middle circle, it counts 10, but if it stops in the middle space, it counts only 3, and so on, counting the number of the place where it stops.
Tally is kept for each child, the one scoring the most points wins the game.
On a sheet draw a rough sketch of a good-sized rabbit, the regular Easter bunny, standing on its hind legs, and holding its paws as if it were carrying an egg.
Stretch the sheet on the wall and tack it firmly in place. Cut eggs out of different colored cloth to represent Easter eggs. The eggs should be as large as the space between the rabbit's paws. In each egg stick a pin.
Blindfold the children in turn and give each an egg, which is to be pinned on the sheet, and right in "Bunny's" arms, if possible.
As the children take their turn, no matter how straight on the way they were started, "Bunny" will be surrounded with eggs, until some child pins the egg in his arms. This child deserves a prize.
Aside from the enjoyment of firecrackers, etc., there are a few games to amuse the children on this day. If a party has been planned for the Fourth, the rooms should be appropriately decorated for the occasion.
As soon as all the children arrive choose two leaders, who in turn select sides. A line is marked on the floor and the sides stand on each side of this boundary line. A few feet from the line on each side is placed an American flag. Any flag can be made to stand up by placing the end of the stick securely in the hole of an empty spool. Each leader guards his own flag.
The children endeavor to secure their opponents' flag. If a leader tags anyone who crosses the boundary and comes too near the flag, that child is out of the game. However, if one does succeed in capturing the other's flag, and carries it over the boundary into his side, that side is victorious.
Flags of all nations are collected and displayed around the room. Each one is numbered. The guests are given pencil and paper with numbers down the left hand side.
Opposite each number the guest writes the names of the country which the flag bearing the corresponding number stands for. Allow a certain length of time for guessing, then collect the papers, read the correct list, and correct the papers. Prizes may be awarded, but the satisfaction of having guessed the most seems to be enough reward.
Other games for the Fourth are as follows: Each child is given a piece of white paper or cardboard 6 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches in size. All sit around a table on which are red and blue paper and a pile of stars by each one's place. Scissors and a bottle of mucilage are handy. The children are given a certain length of time in which to make their flags, putting the blue field and stars and stripes correctly on their pieces of cardboard. The one who completes his flag first deserves a prize.
Suspend a bell in a doorway low enough for the children to reach. The children stand about ten feet away and each in turn throws a bean-bag, endeavoring to make the "liberty bell," as it is called, ring. Those who succeed in making it ring receive little bells as a reward.
The contents of several boxes of torpedoes may be emptied and hidden around the room. The children hunt for them, and have a jolly time shooting them off after the hunt is over.
A Hallowe'en party is probably the only gathering where the stiffness and formality entirely disappear. Every one is in for a good time, and should be dressed in old clothes ready to try all sorts of experiments.
Decorate the room appropriately with pumpkin jack-o'-lanterns, greens, weird lights, and strings of peppers, if possible. Mirrors should be in profusion. Effective lights may be made from cucumbers by scraping out the inside and cutting holes in the rind for eyes and nose, and placing a candle in each.
Persons dressed as ghosts may receive the guests and usher them into the room where the fun is to be. As soon as a person enters, the hostess, who is not a ghost, blindfolds the victim, and those already in the room take turns shaking hands with him. He has to guess who each person is. It is marvellous how many mistakes will be made, even if the guests are the best of friends.
There are several ways of telling ghastly stories on Hallowe'en. Have a large ball of different colored yarn handy and before the midnight hour, turn out the lights, and ask all the players to sit in a circle. The hostess, holding the ball of yarn, begins by telling some weird story, unwinding the yarn as she proceeds, until she comes to a different color, and then she tosses the ball to someone in the circle, and that one must proceed with the story until she comes to a different color. It is then tossed to another, and so on, until the ball is unwound and the story ended.
Another way, more ghastly still, is to give each guest a saucer in which is a handful of salt and some alcohol. Each one in turn lights the contents of the saucer and tells some ghost story, continuing until all the alcohol is burned, and no longer. The stories may be lively or sad.
For obtaining partners, fill a pumpkin rind with nuts, which have been opened, had the meat taken out, some token of the fate placed inside, and glued together again with a ribbon attached to each. Those drawing nuts having the same colored ribbon are partners. The one whose nut has a ring in, is to be married next; ii a coin, he is to be the most wealthy; if a thimble, a spinster all her life. The other nuts may have slips of paper with prophecies written on them.
A bag filled with nuts may be tied up tightly and hung in a doorway. One of the players is blindfolded and given a stick with which he is to hit the bag as hard as he can, thus breaking it, and scattering the nuts on the floor. The one who succeeds in gathering the greatest number of nuts will be the luckiest during the year.
Fill two large pans with sawdust. Bury in one pan pieces of paper bearing a rhyme about one's future, these can be about the ladies for the men to draw, and in the other pan verses for the ladies to draw. The papers are folded up tightly. The ladies and gentlemen take turns putting in their thumbs. As soon as a verse is found it is read aloud.
Example for the men to draw:
For the ladies:
In addition to the regulation "bobbing for apples," "floating needles," and throwing the apple peel over the head, there are many other amusements of prophecy.
In a doorway a portiere of apples may be hung. Apples are strung on strings oŁ various lengths. The tallest guests endeavor to bite those swinging on the longest strings stooping in the attempt, while the shorter ones reach for those above. The one who succeeds in eating the whole of his apple just by biting it, will never want for anything.
A horseshoe is hung in a doorway, each guest is given three small apples. Each in turn tries to throw the apples, one at a time, through the horseshoe. If he succeeds in sending all three through, he will always be lucky during the coming year.
From the ceiling suspend a large pumpkin, on whose rind all the letters of the alphabet have been burned or painted. Twirl this quickly and each guest in turn tries to stab some letter with a hatpin. The letter which is pierced is the initial letter of one's fate.
Another,--swing a wedding ring over a goblet and repeat the alphabet slowly, the letter said as the ring touches the glass is the initial of the future wife or husband, as the case may be.
This same ring may be suspended from the ceiling, at a convenient distance from the floor. Whoever succeeds in running a pencil through it while walking toward~ it, without stopping, is the next to be married.
Place three bowls on a table, one containing clear water, another soapy or muddy water, and the third one empty.
Blindfold the players one at a time, and lead them to the bowls, (whose positions are changed each time) to put their fingers in one of them.
If a player touches the clear water, he will be happily married; if the soapy water, he will marry a widow; and if he puts his finger in the empty bowl, he will never marry.
For knowing the occupation of the future one, there are several ways. Articles suggestive of different trades may be buried in flour, and the players in turn take a spoonful out of the dish and see what they can find. If no? successful the first time, they may have a second trial.
Another way is to melt lead and then drop in into cold water, and the form it takes will suggest the trade of the future husband. Sometimes the forms are intricate, but if they suggest any trade, that is the real one. If it flattens out and looks like a book, an author will be the fate; if in tiny pieces, like particles of dirt, a farmer will be suggested, and so on.
By each place at the table place a mug of sweet cider, a small bunch of matches, two candles, and a slip of paper with a pencil.
Before the refreshments are served, when all are seated, the hostess announces that as she counts twenty-five slowly, each guest is to write a wish on the paper, light a candle, burn the paper in the light, letting the ashes fall into the cider, and drink the contents of the mug, ashes and all. All who succeed in doing this before twenty-five is counted, will have their wishes granted.
Later, ask each guest to light both candles, naming each after a sweetheart, and allow them to burn as long as they will. The candle which burns longest shows which one will prove most faithful.
Prepare as many half shells of walnuts as there are guests. In each fasten a small candle with a drop of the wax.
Fill a tub with water, and before sailing the boats, the water should be agitated so as to have it wavy. Two at a time may sail their boats, lighting the candles as they are launched. The Life of the owner is prophesied by the seaworthy qualities of his ship.
If the storm overcomes the ship, the one whose it is, will he wrecked by adversity. The ship sailing across the tub signifies a long sea voyage, while those remaining by the side show that the person loves home better.
If the two ships stay together throughout the trip, the couple owning them will have a happy marriage. If they bump together, that signifies a quarrel, and if they sail in opposite directions, each person will lead a single life.
A large cake with as many different colored candles on it as there are guests, is passed around, and each one takes a piece of it, with the candle too, choosing whatever color they wish.
As the cake passes from one to the other, the hostess reads the following prophecies, having prepared them beforehand to suit the company:
To amuse the children after the Thanksgiving dinner, ask them all to join hands and form a ring. One is chosen out and is given a nut which he is to drop behind some child. As he walks around the outside of the ring he says:
As he says the last line, he drops the nut behind some child. That one must pick it up, and run around the circle, trying to reach his place before the other one gets there. If he fails, he is out and the game continues as before.
A novel amusement for children at Christmas time is to trim a Christmas tree when blindfolded. Stand a small tree at one end of the room, ready to be trimmed. Have all the ornaments on a table near at hand, ready to be put on the tree.
Blindfold the children one at a time, lead them to the table to take their pick. The first thing touched must be taken, and after turning the child around three times start him straight toward the tree.
When he reaches the tree, he must wire the ornament, or whatever he had, in place. Some older person can be ready to turn the tree around, as it will be trimmed only on one side, if not. The children can have as may turns as they wish until the tree is trimmed.
Suspend a large bunch of mistletoe from one of the chandeliers. The children, one at a time, stand under the mistletoe, and guess how many berries there are on it. The berries are counted when all have guessed. The one coming the nearest receives a prize.
While watching the Christmas tree, after the presents have been distributed, some one says, "I see something on the Christmas tree which commences with T. What is it?" Many guesses are given, the one who says "Tinsel," has guessed correctly, and it is his turn to give a guess, which may commence with P and C. Pop-corn is easily guessed, and so on, until everything has been guessed.
Suspend a large Christmas wreath in a doorway at a convenient height from the floor. Prepare in advance "snowballs," made of cotton batting covered with white tissue paper.
The players stand about eight feet from the wreath, and take turns, one at a time. Each is given three "snowballs," and the one who succeeds in throwing all three, one at a time, through the wreath, is given the prize.
To make it more exciting, sides may be chosen, and each one of the three snowballs numbered, one being 5, the other, 10, and the third, 20. If the ball numbered 5 goes through, it counts 5 for that player's side. If it does not go through, it is a loss, and so on. The side scoring the most points is victorious.
A small tree is placed on a table. The candles are lighted. Blindfold the players, one at a time, turn around three times, and allow each to take five steps toward the tree. Then he must blow as hard as he can, endeavoring to blow out all the lights, if possible. The one who succeeds in extinguishing the most receives a prize.
Another amusement is playing "The night before Christmas" like "Stagecoach." Give each child the name of some part of Santa Claus' outfit, the sleigh, the reindeer, etc. The hostess then reads the well-known story, "The Night Before Christmas." As she mentions the names, the players having them, rise, turn around, and sit down again. When she mentions Santa Claus, all change places, and she tries to secure a seat. The one left out continues the story, and so on, until completed.
While the children are waiting on Christmas for their presents, or dinner, or whenever the time seems to drag, suggest that each one think up the best game he knows.
Give each child a pencil and a card on which the game and the name of the child who thought of it are written. Each one in turn tells his game and all the children play it.
When all have had a turn, and each game has been played, the children look over their lists and choose the game they liked best. The originator of the most popular one receives a prize.
The children form a square, each one holding the sides of an old tablecloth or piece of sheeting. In the center of this is placed a pile of nuts, candies, raisins, fruits, and all sorts of goodies. When a signal is given, the children all together toss the cloth up and down, singing:
When the last line is sung, an extra large toss is made and thus all the goodies fly to all parts of the room. The children then all scramble around picking them up and having a jolly time.
A pretty idea for concealing Christmas presents for the children is to make a lot of snowballs out of white tissue paper and cotton batting, and concealing the gifts inside.
Pile all these snowballs under the tree, and when the time comes for distributing them, the mother, or some older person tosses them, one at a time, to the children, who are standing at a distance eagerly waiting for them.
As the children catch them, they step out of line to leave room for others until all have received one. Then all the balls are opened and the presents disclosed.
DECKING SANTA CLAUS.
Santa, who has been invited to the party, after being introduced to all the children, sits at the end of the room.
The children are blindfolded one at a time, and after being turned around three or four times, are told to walk up to him, and place on his head their own caps, which they had received in bonbons just before.
The child who succeeds in decking Santa Claus with his own cap may receive a little prize.
THE Editor will be glad to receive descriptions of new games of special interest from any of the readers of this book.
If you know of any good indoor games your letter will be greatly appreciated.
Address: Editor of "Games for Everybody, care of Dodge Publishing Co. 53-55 Fifth Avenue, New York.
[KELLSCRAFT STUDIO EDITOR'S NOTE: The above address was published in the book originally in 1905. If you are interested in adding to these games, feel free to email your additions to the Studio at: Editor, Kellscraft Studio.]