CHRISTMAS: Enjoy a Dickens-esque Christmas with these old-fashioned games

Parlour games
Parlour games
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When Christmas dinner is eaten, and your family has retired to the living room, why not enjoy a throwback to Christmases gone by and indulge in some festive parlour games?

After all, Christmas is a time for games, and while for many of us this now means plugging in the Wii, or maybe a spirited game or Monopoly, there is another world of gaming fun in the Dickens-era styling of Parlour Games, which can be enjoyed by everyone from little cousin Britney all the way up to Great Aunt Gladys.

- ‘The Six Degrees of Separation’ stems from the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of ‘a friend of a friend’ statements can be made, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.

The theory - set out by Frigyes Karinthy - is a little out there but it spawned the very popular Hollywood game as a result. Two celebrity names are selected (either take it in turns to come up with them verbally or draw them out of a hat) and then everyone has a minute to connect the two using as few ‘degrees’ as they can. For example, Tom Cruise was in Jerry Maguire with Renee Zelwegger, who was in Bridget Jones with Hugh Grant, meaning there is two degrees of separation between this Hollywood pair. Be warned, this is a simple one, Britney Spears to Jennifer Garner took me five...

- ‘Twenty Questions’ is a spoken game which originated in American in the 1940s.

One player chooses ‘something’ (i.e. a famous person, an object, a place...) and everyone else in the room has twenty questions to guess what it is. The people guessing can ask absolutely any question, but the answer can only be in the form of a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No.’

- ‘Charades’ is an oldie and a goldie, where one person picks a TV show, a film, a book or a song, which they must then act out for everyone else in the room without speaking a word.

Use your fingers to demonstrate how many words and syllables and your body to mime the rest. Enjoy!