Mafia: Christmas Edition

I know Christmas is right around the corner without looking at my calendar because:

  1. Kids are acting like WILD BEASTS.
  2. I’m buried up to my eyeballs in thinking about finals,  writing finals, making copies of finals, looking for finals, administering finals, grading finals….
  3. I have 1017 unread emails in my inbox. Not joking.
  4. My desk looks like this:

But it’s all good. I’m blessed to have a job I love, little darlings I love, and super blessed to get a 2 week break in 5 days! And I’m out-of-this-world blessed to work with Amy, my former student now colleague! She helped me work out the kinks and iron out the details for Christmas Mafia. (Today was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day but we only have Awesome Christmas Sweaters, so…)

We’re playing Christmas Mafia after finals are finished. Here it is if you’d like to play too!!!

It’s similar to regular Mafia but with a few character changes and a few plot twists. If you’ve never played the original Mafia with your kiddos, this might be a tad complicated for the first go-around. Best to break out the original version. Your little darlings will love it, or your money back! If your kids are Mafia Pros (or you’ve played it a time or two), it will be easy to introduce the Christmas Edition.

Project this slide. (If you teach a language other than Spanish, I’ll be your best friend if you translate it into your language and share it back with me!!)

Here’s the German Version, thanks to Emily Lull!!

Christmas Mafia

To play, count out cards for your classes. Pull out a King of Clubs, BOTH black aces, a King of Diamonds and BOTH red aces, and then count enough number cards so that every student gets a card. (So in a class of 30, set aside the cards mentioned above and 24 number cards).  Randomly pass out one card to each student. Students should look at their card, but not show it to anyone…it’s their secret identity!

Essentially you play regular Mafia with a few changes, described below. If you need a Mafia Refresher, here’s a video of us playing the original. 

Important changes:

When the class falls asleep, the Grinch AND the Bad Elves attack–they all open their eyes and choose 1 victim. Their mission is to take out Santa, but of course they don’t know who Santa is. Then you thank them and they close their eyes. Then Santa and the good elves open their eyes. They look at everyone and pick who they think is the Grinch. Thank them and tell them close their eyes.  Teacher takes notes on this nifty page. (There are a bunch of lines for víctimas and acusados… write 1 name each round, so when you’re playing the second round, record the names on the second line.

Everyone wakes up and you narrate the story.  If the Grinch/ Bad Elves selected someone who was NOT Santa (so anyone else), they get coal for Christmas. No one goes to the hospital or dies…they get coal, they cry but they stay in the game, they still participate and they still vote. If the Grinch attacked Santa, then Santa goes to the hospital and the class has 1 round to save Christmas! If they can catch the Grinch, all will be well.

Announce who Santa thinks is the Grinch. Interrogate the Grinch (Are you the Grinch? Do you hate Christmas? Do you give coal to little kids?!) Then ask the class, Do you think So and So is the Grinch? Do you think he’s telling the truth? Then back to the accused: If you’re not the Grinch, who do you think is the Grinch? Then interrogate the next person. Interrogate 3, then vote. The accused with the most votes goes to the North Pole Prison. If the Grinch was sent to prison, the game is over and everyone wins (except the Grinch and Bad Elves, of course!) If it was a kid or an elf (good or bad) tell the class that the Grinch is still on the loose, then begin again with the next round. If Santa is sent to prison, tell the class, and the good elves can continue playing and looking for the Grinch.

I’m excited to play with my little darlings…but I won’t see them until Thursday! If you play before we get the chance, let me know how it goes!

¡Feliz Navidad, amigos!

PS- Have you heard about Comprehensible Online? The Comprehensible Input Conference you can participate in from your couch, in your PJs? Check out the list of presenters and the sessions…I can’t wait to learn some new tricks and I’m so excited to watch Martina Bex and Tina Hargeden, my CI Teacher Heros!! And Sarah Breckley is presenting too?!? Eeeekk! She’s hilarious and my imaginary CI BFF! If you want to join the party, use code AnneMarie19 for $25 off your registration cost! And trust me, you want to be at this party!


  1. Thank you!!! I was crafting a Navidad version myself where Santa, Mrs. Claus and two good elves were converting all of the naughty children to good children while the naughty children were trying to capture Santa before the bell rang so they could keep all of the presents for themselves, but I like your version with el Grinch MUCHO mejor. =)


  2. Hola! We just played regular mafia for the first time, and it went really well! It takes something good to hold their attention on the last day! Gracias! On the Christmas version, is it supposed to be a picture of the Jack or Ace of spades?


  3. Hello! I am VERY excited to play! I’m just wondering…when Santa and the good elves choose someone they think is the Grinch, do I tell them whether or not they guessed correctly? I am thinking I do, but I just want to make sure! Thanks!!


    • Hi- no. If they pick the grinch, that’s the first student you interrogate. Ask him if he’s the grinch (he’ll lie and say no) ask follow up questions, ask him who he thinks the grinch is. After you interrogate 3, have students vote who they think the grinch is, and the person they vote for goes to jail. At that point I tell them if they sent the grinch or a poor innocent child to jail. If it’s the grinch, the game is over. If it’s a kid or an elf or Santa, keep playing!


      • Great, thank you! Also I searched “scary Christmas music” and I’ll be playing this during the game as well! Thank you so much for this post!!


  4. Sorry, I have another question…I know the kids keep playing if they are a victim and get coal for Christmas. But do they not play once they are voted off to prison?? Thank you!!!


  5. Ok, good! I just played with my first period class today and I did that. I printed out cardstock with a clipart pic of a person behind bars to give to them! I also printed out coal on cardstock to give out!! The kids really enjoyed it!!!
    I find that the story that I narrate about which kid got the coal, however, wasn’t as intriguing as the original mafia since they stayed in the game anyway. Do you spend a lot of time building up suspense as to who got the coal as you would in the original game?
    Sorry for all the questions!!!


  6. Thanks for a super fun Christmas class idea! I’m saving it for next year when we’re (hopefully) all in person. So in the meantime, I’m going to do this story with my 7th graders. If you’d like to use the Christmas movie talk based off of this video, you are all welcome to! I found the video on the Me encanta escribir blog, but the slideshow and text are mine and free for anyone to use.
    La noche mágica de Gaspar video:

    Google slide show with texts and screen shots:
    Text only of the story:


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