How To Shake Up The Family Dynamic This Holiday

by Bustle Studios

The holidays are upon us, and with them comes the opportunity to gather the family for some quality time. Family dinner is usually the easy part; everyone is eager to share their favorite foods and go back for seconds. Entertaining the troops post-meal is the hard part: How do you keep the family interacting with each other, instead of retreating back to their respective corners of the house?

We're here to help you out. There are plenty of activities — games, projects, contests — to bring the family together and create memories. For an especially modern way to get everyone in on a family project, use TikTok. ICYMI, TikTok is THE destination for an endless stream of short videos that are personalized just for you, from just-for-fun content to parodies and endless challenges.

To help you shake up the holiday routine this year, we’ve compiled a list of six light and fun ways to engage your family and friends in group activities. Each is designed for groups small and large, young and old, and can be done around the dining room table with minimal materials. Best of all, these activities are varied to allow for members of each generation to take the lead. It goes without saying — all of these activities are great fodder for a cute TikTok!

1. A TikTok Challenge


Comprised of user-generated, short-form video content, TikTok is simple and easy to use, while also allowing for endless variations and possibilities. By browsing the “Discover” tab, you can see which themes and challenges are trending.

Hashtag challenges invite users to produce content, often involving the same audio sample and general concept. Users can generate an incredible range of creative variations, engaging their video and audio editing skills at a surprisingly high level. As a group, you can come up with a concept to fit the challenge and ask the resident TikTok expert to film and edit it.

Selecting from a huge range of pre-designed filters, you can learn new choreography, and stage elaborate scenarios will keep the whole family together and laughing away the evening. Better yet, you'll have something the whole family created together — an inside joke you can share with your friends and followers, and some great #TBT material.

2. A Family Game

Your friends and family know you best, and vice versa. A great way to get the gang laughing, talking, and reminiscing is with a game that gets everyone talking. It can be basic like a board game or cards, or it can be more discussion-based. Know those high school style awards that call out people for being exceptionally themselves? Have fun with that, and play a game of superlatives! Lean on the classic titles like best dressed, most likely to succeed, personality plus, and more to get everyone talking about those tender years before the "real world" set in. Or, you can agree on some more personal ones in the moment, like "most likely to become a pop star" or "most likely to strategize a presidential campaign win." Even our favorite radio host Taylor Strecker is obsessed with board games during the holidays! Check out her board game skills in our video above.

3. Deck The Halls... With Friendly Competition


Holidays are all about decorating anyway, so why not make it into a game? Making and decorating gingerbread houses is a fun way to get everyone to stay at the table after dinner plates are cleared away. Constructing one of these classic edible houses can be hard, but decorating one is a lot of fun (all of which will make for great social media content!). Once decorated, these quaint little houses can run the gamut from cute and cozy to "avant garde" to structurally unsound. And best of all, they’re edible, so clean-up is a breeze!

4. A Round of Celebrity


Celebrity is a classic game that’s fun and easy to play. The rules are simple: Everyone writes down a series of celebrity names on slips of paper and places them into a hat. Then, the group separates into teams of two, and one teammate draws a name from the hat. Using any verbal clues they wish except for the celebrity name written on the slip, the player tries to get their teammate to guess the name. One point is given to each correctly guessed name; the team with the most correct guesses wins. The rules vary for each round of the game; the Eager Beaver of your group can find the full list of rules here.

5. A Holiday Lights Viewing Trip


Maybe your family isn't the kind that goes ~all out~ with lights during the holiday season, but you can still enjoy the benefits of them. Even if you don't live in a city that has dedicated neighborhoods where light-spotting is a thing (lookin' at you, Dyker Heights, Brooklyn), take a quick family stroll around your block to look for some of the flashiest and fun light displays.

6. Secret Santa Gift Exchange


This age-old tradition is perfect for large family gatherings, when you don’t want everyone to break the bank by purchasing a dozen gifts. Set the spending limit around $40 to level the playing field. It's just enough so that everyone gets one quality gift, but affordable enough to minimize stress. There are great free, web-based programs that will randomize the name selection and then email each member of the gift exchange with the name they’ve been assigned, so each Santa can truly be a secret.

This article is sponsored by TikTok.