Saturday, December 5, 2020

Christmas Board Games

by Anita Mae Draper

Game of the Visit of Santa Claus, 1898. Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society.

Board games of the Christmas season seems the best way to complete my series on this fun way to pass leisure time. As noted in previous posts (listed below) the creation of the chromolithograph process ushered in a wonderful plethora of brightly colored printed material for board games and puzzles as well as books.

In 1898, the McLoughlin Brothers continued their winning streak of colorful board games with Game of the Visit of Santa Claus. 

Game of the Visit of Santa Claus, 1898. Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society.

Parker Brothers, another publisher of board games, had come out with their own version of a Christmas board game the year before, however they chose to feature food of the holiday celebration instead of the Santa Claus aspect.

In 1900, McLoughlin Brothers released another Christmas board game, this time featuring the outdoor sport of tobogganing which was all the rage at the time. This game is a version of the popular Snakes and Ladders game, but instead of reptiles, you're sliding down a toboggan run. 

A few years later, circa 1904, McLoughlin Bros. published another Santa game, this time with the jolly old man behind the wheel of an early model automobile. Although this game would have been great using the infinity track in the Visit with Santa Claus game at the top of this post, the actual game features a checkerboard-type game board.

Finally, in 1923, Parker Brothers published the Christmas board game I most want to play, The Journey to Bethlehem. According to my research, the playing pieces in this game feature 3D renditions of 3 Magi and 3 Shepherds. As well, it mentions over 150 Biblical references as the players traverse to Bethlehem. 

Of course, many other games of the Christmas season have been published in the past 100 years, with varying degrees of fun and skill. 

Do you have a favorite Christmas board game?

Other posts in my puzzles and game boards series can be found here:
Nov 5, 2020 - Teetotum or Spinner
Aug 5, 2020 - Carom and Crokinole
June 5, 2020 - Virtue Board Games


Anita Mae Draper served a 20-year term working on air bases in the communication trade of the Canadian Armed Forces before retiring to the open skies of the prairies. She uses her experience and love of history to pepper her stories of yesteryear's romance with realism and faith. Anita Mae Draper's published stories appear in Barbour Publishing, WhiteFire Publishing, and Guideposts Books. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at 


  1. How fun! I've always been a board game fanatic. Thanks, Anita!

    1. You're welcome. Hope to play a game with you someday. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  2. Thanks for the post! I've never heard of a specialty Christmas board game!

    1. Actually, Connie, I hadn't either until I started researching board games in general. Then, I saw some in the old toy catalogues as well as on Pinterest.

      Thanks for visiting. :)

  3. Wonderful post! I had no idea there were Christmas games. I love all the photos.

    1. Thank you, Linda. I've bought little Christmas and Easter games for the kids over the years, but they were all the plastic mini-games to play alone... not a board game for the family, which makes so much more sense during the holidays.

      Thank you for dropping by. :)