countdown to christmas

Kicking Off the Countdown to Christmas with the Hallmark Drinking Game

drinkinggame_IMG_5073We have entered Hallmark fans’ favorite season, and I know I am not alone in my enthusiasm. Bring on The Countdown to Christmas…24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with 40 new movies! I have been racking my brain about how on earth I will manage to tackle 40 new Hallmark Christmas movies and find ways to live them (and other oldie but goodies!) out In Real Life. Thank goodness for Brittany Graves.

Hallmark fans may be familiar with her already, but if not, in 2016 Brittany shared her homemade version of a Hallmark Christmas Drinking Game (you can view it here) in the Facebook comments section of a post by Country Living Magazine announcing the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas lineup. Country Living redesigned Brittany’s game to share with its readers (here) so that everyone can get in on the fun and from there, her family tradition took off.

Brittany admits that the whole thing started out as a joke. Prior to 2015, she had never watched Hallmark Christmas movies before becoming enthralled at a family friend’s house. The next year she binge-watched as many as she could, and the idea for the game came to her while watching Hallmark with her mother-in-law. Although she doesn’t remember the exact movie she was watching when the idea came to her, during the movie, she noted things like snowball fights and brainstormed from there around story elements that are typically in Hallmark Christmas movies. To create the game, Brittany shared with a laugh, “I did my research. I watched a bunch that year.” Before she finalized the game, Brittany tested it out on Snow Bride and immediately included a “baking cookies” prompt—she had somehow left that out!

The game also works with Netflix Christmas movies, but Brittany’s preference is to stick with the Hallmark Channel. “I’m loyal,” she says. During the holiday season, she will keep the television on the Hallmark Channel because it’s good for everyone and “keeps you in the holiday spirit.” Unlike me,  Brittany waits until November to actually begin watching the Christmas movies. (She’ll record all the new ones that premier in October so that she has a solid line up ready to go come November.)

After years of enjoying the Hallmark Christmas Drinking Game with her family, Brittany has some words of wisdom. “Pace yourself,” she says. “Don’t go in guns blazing.” Hallmark will be going 24/7, and fans need to plan accordingly and play responsibly. Absolutely no drinking and driving. Family slumber parties are best. Keep water on standby, and have a snack tray on hand. Don’t play for every movie. But Brittany’s family never misses playing for movies that star Candace Cameron Bure and Lacey Chabert and will even host a watch party for the whole family. Two other favorites they play along to are A Very Merry Mix Up and Let it Snow.

“I’m here to help the fans,” Brittany says. Any drink will work to play the game, but Brittany recommends Apple Cider Mimosas (recipe) or Mistletoe Margaritas (recipe). Plus, kids can get in on the fun, too. Brittany shares that her niece, nephew, and son will take a bite out of their cookie or drink hot chocolate while the adults drink alcohol so that the entire family can participate in the fun together.

Each family has their own favorite holiday traditions and during the past 10 years Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas has become a wonderful part of those traditions for many of us. (Brittany’s sister-in-law even had the game printed on blankets so that her family can wrap themselves up in it while they watch together!) I tend to have multiple text chains going at once to share reactions, comments, and joy with friends near and far while watching the Christmas movies. This year, however, I decided to start a new tradition and test out Brittany’s Hallmark Christmas Drinking Game.

drinkinggame3IMG_5077 (1)Since I prefer Brittany’s homemade version of the game to the more polished version published by Country Living, my friends and I began our Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses (try to say that 3 times fast—especially once the game gets going!) premier party by decorating our very own handmade versions of the game.

To add our own creative spin, we each added one new prompt to the game:  If the town name is related to Christmas…drink. If a child plays a critical role in bringing the stars together…drink. If there is a company with a holiday theme (such as selling candy canes or toys) that needs to be saved…drink.

We whipped up batches of both of Brittany’s recommended drinks, but I have to admit that the Apple Cider Mimosa was the clear favorite. Not only was it delicious, but my friend Nicole pointed out that the drink was, “a good mix of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.” Given that the countdown starts before Halloween and will take us through Thanksgiving straight up until Christmas, it seemed even more appropriate.

Playing Brittany’s Hallmark Christmas Drinking Game was a ton of fun and a great way to enjoy, share, and celebrate the start of the Hallmark movie season. My girlfriends and I decided that the next time we play we will add a prompt that when a Christmas tree gets decorated… everyone drinks. It would have been the perfect addition for Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses because many trees get decorated! We may also spice the game up a bit further and create a rule that for any new prompts we add, the creator of the prompt gets to pass on having to drink, but everyone else playing must drink when the new prompt occurs.

I hope that Brittany’s Hallmark-inspired Christmas Drinking Game brings you a lot of fun with friends and family too this holiday season. And if you create any new prompts of your own, we’d love to hear them!

Cheers!

 

 

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