11 Fun Christmas Escape Room Ideas

By: | Updated: January 30, 2023

Here is our list of the best Christmas escape room ideas.

Christmas escape room ideas are holiday-themed exit game tasks and puzzles that you can play with family, friends, and colleagues. Examples of these games include creating a maze, saving Santa, and the 12 days of Christmas. The purpose of these activities is to encourage teamwork and critical thinking among the players of the game.

These themes are variations of DIY escape room ideas and problem-solving games and make great holiday team building activities and office Christmas party ideas. You can set up these challenges with the help of escape room boxes.


This list includes:

  • Christmas-themed escape room ideas
  • Christmas escape room puzzle ideas
  • DIY Christmas escape room ideas
  • virtual Christmas escape room ideas

Here we go!

List of Christmas escape room ideas

Here is a list of Christmas-themed escape room puzzles, games, activities, and tasks that you can play to get into the holiday spirit.

1. The 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 days of Christmas are an example of DIY Christmas escape room ideas for three or more players. In this game, players need to find 12 popsicle sticks with images of the 12 days of Christmas glued on them. These images include five golden rings, ten lords leaping, and a partridge in a pear tree. To set up this escape room, you will need the following items:

  • A black marker
  • Twelve jumbo popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Images of the 12 days of Christmas (hand drawn or printed)

To play:

  1. Glue images of the 12 days of Christmas on the popsicle sticks.
  2. When the glued images dry, stack the popsicle sticks on top of each other, then hold them together and flip them to the side.
  3. Write the word PEPPERMINT with the black marker on the sides of the stacked popsicle sticks.
  4. When separated, each popsicle stick should have illegible black marks on the side and printed images of the 12 days of Christmas on their bodies.
  5. Hide each stick in different locations in the escape room.
  6. The players have an hour to find the sticks and decode the message on the side.

There are two parts to this puzzle and teammates will need to work together to solve it. This is the key to unlocking the escape room.

2. Santa’s Basket

Santa’s basket is an easy escape room idea that four or more players can play. For this activity, you will need a large basket wrapped with a big red ribbon and a variety of Christmas-related items such as:

  • Christmas Lights
  • Angel figure
  • Santa figure
  • Miniature Reindeer
  • Christmas Cards
  • Star
  • Up on the housetop sheet music
  • Mistletoe

To play:

  1. Arrange each of the listed items in the basket.
  2. Each of the items represents the first letter in the words Mrs. Claus.
  3. If you cannot find the objects listed above, you can replace them with other items starting with the same letters.
  4. You can leave a hint in the basket such as “the key lies in the beginning.”
  5. Players have 60 minutes to decipher the code and arrange the items to spell the words they represent.

The players must write out the decoded word within the given time to unlock the escape room. To make this task easier, you can find images of Mrs. Claus on the internet and paste a couple around the escape room. These images may not appear unusual if the escape room is already Christmas-themed.

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3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas is an exciting Christmas escape room idea that you can play during the Christmas festivities. You will need Christmas decorations, wrapped gift packages, a Christmas tree, and a Grinch costume.

To play:

  1. You will need four or more players for this game.
  2. One of the players will need to dress up as the Grinch.
  3. The Grinch will hide all the Christmas ornaments, decorations, and gifts in different locations.
  4. The players have ten seconds at a time to leave the escape room, find an ornament or decoration and hang it up on the Christmas tree.
  5. The players should also place the gifts at the bottom of the Christmas tree.
  6. The Grinch will prowl around the house, ensuring that no one finds the hidden items.
  7. Any player who gets caught by the Grinch is out of the game.
  8. The players have 60 minutes to decorate the Christmas tree completely. If the players do not, the Grinch will succeed in stealing Christmas completely.

You can also customize this game for three or more teams. Each team should have two or three players and different escape rooms assigned to them. Each team gets ten seconds at a time to find the decorations while avoiding the Grinch.

4. Unlock the Christmas Presents

Unlock the Christmas presents is an example of Christmas-themed escape room ideas that you can play at home or the office with friends and family. The game is quite simple and requires you to follow clues to solve the puzzle and unlock the presents.

To play:

  1. You will place presents under the Christmas tree, then you will lock all but one in a box.
  2. This box will have three locks. One word lock, one key lock, and a number lock.
  3. You will create different written notes and clues and scatter them around a Christmas-themed escape room.
  4. You will hide the first clue in a Christmas sock and will share instructions that will give the players a hint. For example: A present you get, if all clues are set. On the Christmas tree, the red candy holds an answer.
  5. The players will follow the clue which will unlock yet another hint. For example: Well done! I see you seek the treasure hidden in the box, but you need the keys to the locks. You may find a clue under the carpet.
  6. You can add several more clues for the players to find the keys.
  7. You may also include word puzzles that will disclose the location of one of the keys.
  8. The players have 60 minutes to find the keys to unlock the present.

Note that it is necessary to let the players know how many clues they are to look for within the allotted time. This step makes it easy for them to know how much of the puzzle they have solved before the time runs out.

5. Santa’s Naughty List

Santa’s Naughty List is an adventurous and thrilling escape room game that you can play with your friends and family on Christmas. The rules of this game are simple. Simply follow a set of clues and solve puzzles to find Santa’s naughty list, then cross your name off the list and add it to the nice list. For this game, you will need a paper divided into a naughty list and a nice list.

To play:

  1. Print all the players’ names onto the naughty list before the game, and hide it in a chest, drawer, or box with two locks. One word lock and one number lock.
  2. The players will need to find clues around the escape room. For example, the players of the game may solve a crossword puzzle, and you may hint that the longest word in the puzzle is another clue.
  3. The players will need to find several more hidden clues to find the keys to the box where Santa hid his naughty list.
  4. For example a star, a sock, and a vase. The players will choose the odd item. They will find a clue within it.
  5. The players who find the list can then cross their names off of the naughty list and write their names on Santa’s nice list.

The goal of this game is to escape the room within 60 minutes. Those that do not cross their names off of Santa’s naughty list cannot escape and will not get a present from Santa.

6. The Missing Puzzle Pieces

The missing puzzle pieces are Christmas escape room puzzle ideas that need three or more players and a sharp eye. For this game, you will need a simple Christmas-themed puzzle and a set of random puzzle pieces that do not fit with each other.

To play:

  1. The players will get two boxes of puzzle pieces and will have to race to solve the jigsaw.
  2. The players will solve the first puzzle and realize that it is missing two-three pieces.
  3. When trying to solve the second puzzle, the players will realize that the pieces do not fit.
  4. You will give the players a hint to let them know that the answer to the first puzzle lies within the second.
  5. The players will get 60 minutes to solve this puzzle.

To make this game even more exciting, you may hide only one puzzle piece within the second puzzle. Then hide the second piece in a random location within the escape room. The goal of this game is to solve the first puzzle within the given time to escape the room. Two to three teams in different escape rooms can also play this game. Each team will attempt to solve the puzzle and escape their respective rooms within the allotted time.

7. The Christmas Scavenger Hunt

The Christmas Scavenger hunt is one of many virtual Christmas escape room ideas that remote teams can play. This activity will require puzzles and a set of easily-findable Christmas-themed items. The players can play this game on any video conferencing app like Zoom or Google Meet.

To play:

  1. The players will choose a member to be one of Santa’s elves.
  2. The elf’s task is to create the puzzles and ensure that each player solves the puzzle within the given time.
  3. Each player will receive a file via the in-app chat with three puzzles, including one crossword puzzle with hints and a wordplay puzzle.
  4. Santa’s elf will send players to breakout rooms where they can solve their puzzles.
  5. The crossword puzzle will have a set of Christmas-themed words for the players to find such as mistletoe, sled, and Santa Claus. At the end of the crossword, you can add hints to help the players find certain items. For example: “I am hung in your doorway during Christmas”.
  6. The players must find at least three of these Christmas-themed items around their homes.

For the wordplay puzzle, the players will need to solve a word riddle to figure out the Christmas items they need to find.

For example: As you shiver on cold Christmas mornings with feet too cold to touch the ground, you seek me out to offer warmth. What am I? The answer is stockings. The players must solve at least three of these word riddles and find the items hidden within the puzzle.

The players have 60 minutes to solve the puzzle and gather their items. Players who have completed the scavenger hunt will take pictures of all their items and send them to Santa’s elf via the in-app chat. The elf will remove successful players from their respective breakout rooms so that they can show off their “treasures.”

Check out holiday scavenger hunt ideas.

8. Santa’s Secret Messages

Santa’s Secret Messages are Christmas-themed escape room ideas that involve using secret messages to solve puzzles. You can play this activity with family, friends, or colleagues at the office. For this exercise, you must create invisible ink by mixing lemon juice with a few drops of water.

To play:

  1. Create a secret message from Santa by writing a puzzle on paper with a cotton swab and invincible ink. Examples of the puzzle prompt include “The 25th day of the 12th month” which would mean Christmas. “A woolen item that hugs your feet” which would mean socks.
  2. You will create several hidden messages with these prompts and hide them around the escape room.
  3. The players will need to find and decode these messages
  4. The players can read the prompts by holding the paper up to the light and combining all the puzzle answers to make a sentence.

This sentence is Santa’s secret message. An example of Santa’s message can read “on the 25th day of the 12th month, Santa hid a gift under that which hangs at your entrance. Hidden beneath a place of inferno, you will find the answer to what you seek”. In the secret message above, there are two clues, and it reads “On Christmas, Santa hid a gift under the mistletoe. Hidden at the fireplace, you will find the answers to what you seek”. The players can use both clues in this message as the beginning of several more secret messages from Santa.

The game’s goal is for players to unravel the mystery of Santa’s secret message within 60 minutes.

9. Save Santa Claus

Save Santa Claus is a mystery-filled escape room idea. The story behind this game is that bad little elves kidnap Santa to ruin Christmas. Now, the players must follow clues and puzzles to find where the bad elves hid Santa in time to save Christmas.

To play:

  1. Buy a choose-your-own four-digit combination lock on Amazon.
  2. You can hide a huge Santa stuffed toy behind a closet or a bag of gifts set a combination code, and lock it.
  3. The players will get a set of puzzles and clues, for example, a maze leading to a specific number.
  4. This number will be one of the four codes to open the lock.
  5. For the second puzzle, you can create a spot-the-difference game using this template.
  6. You can hide another number in this puzzle, which will serve as the second code for the lock.
  7. You can create two more puzzles or tasks for the players to complete to open the lock.

The players have 60 minutes to open the lock and free Santa. The players can play this game individually or in teams of at least three.

10. Help Santa Save the Elves

Help Santa Save the Elves is a fun Christmas-themed escape room idea for families and friends. In this game, players will need to join forces with Santa to free the elves, otherwise, there will be no Christmas.

To play:

  1. You will hide five elf toys in secret locations.
  2. The players will get envelopes filled with puzzles and clues that lead to the elves’ location.
  3. The players will then work together as a team to solve these clues. These clues can be short word riddles pointing out the places where you kept the puzzles.
  4. The puzzles should reveal the location of the elves.

You can use crossword puzzles or a word search puzzle. Your custom puzzles should contain words that will make it a little easy for the players to find the hidden elves. The players have a total of 60 minutes to find the elves and free them in time enough for Christmas.

11. Fix Santa’s Sleigh

Santa’s sleigh plays a great role in the Christmas festivities. The sleigh carries Santa across seven continents to deliver gifts to families worldwide. Unfortunately, the sled has broken down and needs to get fixed before Christmas Eve. The players will need to find a set of tools needed to fix Santa’s sleigh.

To play:

  1. Hide tools like a hammer, a glue gun, tape, and nails around the house.
  2. Create a set of clues or puzzles that the players can follow or solve to find the tools.
  3. You can use word search puzzles or word riddles to show players where to look.
  4. You can hide the tools in Christmas gift boxes for the players to find.

You can let the players know how many tools there are so that they know how many gift boxes to seek. The players have 60 minutes to complete these tasks and escape the room.


Christmas escape room ideas are fun tasks and activities which you can play during the Christmas festivities. These ideas involve puzzles, games, and riddles that players can solve within a given time, usually one hour, to achieve a goal.

These activities help friends, family, and colleagues bond over various team-building games. These games are usually beginner-friendly and easy to set up. To create the perfect Christmas escape room, you must get some Christmas-themed decorations and a few Christmas games or puzzles.

For more holiday fun, check out holiday scavenger hunts and holiday contests for work.

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FAQ: Christmas escape room ideas

Here are answers to common questions about Christmas escape room ideas.

What are Christmas escape rooms?

Christmas escape rooms are fun Christmas-themed games that involve a set of puzzles, riddles, and games that players need to solve within a given time to break out of a locked room. The game’s goal is to escape the room before time runs out. Christmas-themed escape rooms put a festive holiday spin on these challenges.

What are some good Christmas escape room ideas?

Some Christmas escape room ideas include fix Santa’s sleigh, save Santa Claus, and Santa’s secret message.

How do you create a Christmas escape room?

To create a Christmas escape room, decorate an empty room with Christmas lights, a Christmas tree, and ornaments. Then hide holiday-themed clues around the room. These clues lead the players to a final goal or solution.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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