Carols of Dysfunction: a Christmas Song Game




Christmas is that magical time of year when family and friends gather together and chaos ensues.  Uncle Benny drinks too much spiked eggnog.  Aunt Elizabeth sits in her chair and quietly breaks wind.  Mom and dad squabble over who had what chore to do.  Your siblings discuss your embarrassing childhood moments...

So why not combat the often (but not always) endearing dysfunction with a cheerful little holiday game called "Carols of Dysfunction"?

The game is simple.  There are 72 cards with common Christmas songs (and 12 blank cards in case you need more songs) and a die describing how a drawn card should be performed1.  Perform the song, hope desperately that someone guesses it, and earn points. 

First one to eat all the cranberry sauce wins2!!!

1Clap: Clap your non-dominant on your thigh to the tune of the song.
Fish Lips: Smoosh your cheeks together so you get fish lips and then hum the tune of the song.
Ding: Replacing all words (or notes) with the word “ding,” sing the song.
Meow:  Meow the song or tune.
Wookiee: Make wookiee noises to the tune of the song.
Drum: Tap your hands on the table like a drum to the tune of the song.

2Not really.  No one ever truly wins that game.

Step 1: Materials

You will minimally need the following (because the guests are already arriving):
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Print out the Carols of Dysfunction (Minimum).pdf, cut out the songs into strips, toss them into a hat (or stocking if you want to be festive), assemble the die, and follow the instructions (or guess what the rules might be - I won't judge).

If you want to take it to the next level and have a game that you can store on shelf and use for years (or give as the most awesomest present EVER), you will need this junk:
  • Copy of CarolsOfDysfunction.pdf printed on cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • 12 oz Can (preferably empty and clean)
  • Can saver lid (the pet food kind)
  • Circle cutter
  • Tape
  • Clear spray paint
  • Contact paper
  • Self-healing mat

Step 2: Clear Coat Pages

Apply a layer of clear spray paint to each page to ensure the lettering stays pretty through game play.

Step 3: Card Backing

Cut contact paper slightly larger than the sheets.

Note: The reason for this is to make each card more robust and discourage peeking, and for the same reason, keep contact paper uniform in appearance such as solid colors or very small prints.

Note: If you'd rather not use contact paper, you can use posterboard or wrapping paper - just apply it with spray glue.

Apply to the back of each sheet with game cards.

Roughly trim edges.

Step 4: Circle Cutting

Tape pages to the self-healing mat at the corners.

Cut out circles at 2 5/16".

Step 5: Die Assembly

Cut out the die around the outer most perimeter.

Fold edges.


Step 6: Can Assembly

Cut out the instructions and glue to the side of the can.

Stuff the cards and die inside, and put a lid on it!

Step 7: Other Thoughts

I didn't put a time limit on turns, but please feel free to do so if play gets out hand!

Feel free to change out performance tasks.  Here are a few ideas:
  • Beaker - Sing like Beaker from The Muppets
  • Coco - Sing like Coco from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • Nyah - Sing like Nyah Cat.

If there's a song that absolutely nobody knows, throw it out (or keep it as a "You lost your turn" sort of card).

Please let me know in the comments how you've played the game and what works for you.

And don't forget to favorite, share, and subscribe!
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    14 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    AMAZING GAME! We had to call an emergency meeting of our company's Funch (Fun Lunch) Club just to play this game. We were uncontrollably laughing, especially when some of the ladies attempted the Wookiee! You could totally sell this game, especially with other themes - 80's, 90's, oldies, kids classics, etc.

    1 reply
    Mister DOAngryRedhead

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Random clear plastic container I found at home. Added bonus that I could line the inside with the instructions and not make it permanent.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This looks great!
    Am going to do one with Movie & TV theme songs, a kids version with kids songs, and one for my parents & their friends to play with 50's-60's!
    Thanks for sharing!

    My office supply store sells heavy paper discs with a metal rim around them for use as price tags etc. Just write the names of the songs on them.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction


    1 reply

    5 years ago on Step 3

    I wonder if roofing discs would work well as a backing material. They are already circle shaped and would offer some nice "heft" to the cards.

    1 reply

    I had to look up what roofing disks were, and I think they might be a bit too thick to fit each card and the die into the can. While experimenting, I realized that regular mouth jar lids fit perfectly inside a 12 oz can, but the problem I discovered was that I could only fit about 54 of them without the die. With the die, it'd be less.

    The contact paper I used worked out really well because it's quite thick without being too thick, and it laid down very flat which was another pleasant surprise. It's actually "Adhesive Shelf Liner" from Duck Brand's Easy Liner. I got it a couple years ago though, and I suspect it's no longer available. :(

    However, the game isn't limited to the container because that would be kind of silly, so go for it! I love things that have a good hand-feel to them (e.g., bouncy balls). :)


    5 years ago

    Played this last night to everyone's amusement what a hoot and gonna do same again but change songs to 70s and 80s theme the possibilities are almost endless xxx

    1 reply