Christmas Games

Playing Snap Dragon at Christmas

girl sitting in chair looking puzzeled

I was trying to enlighten and educate Chatter with some newly discovered Christmas knowledge I recently acquired when she gave me this look.

I told her “It just so happens that snapdragons, one of my favorite flowers, was named after a Christmas game from 1704. To be precise a Christmas game of picking raisins from burning brandy and eating them while they were on fire.”

Chatter’s disbelief made me say “I’m serious. I read it in a dictionary.”

Her reply was “Well okay mom that sounds like a real nice game.”

If you’d like to read more about the Victorian era Christmas game go here.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Grandma Cate
    December 3, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    In high school, my son read about this game & wanted to try it. On Christmas Eve that year, we broke out the big copper pan w/ a lit can of Sterno under it, poured in some cheap rum to cover raisins across the bottom, waited for it to get hot. It took 3 tries to get it lit, but then the fun began! My son & my “little “ brother took turns braving the flames. I tried for a couple. The novelty wore off fairly quickly since there were so few of us playing, but it was a memorable event.

  • Reply
    Doug Bishop
    December 19, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Just good, old fashioned family fun !

  • Reply
    December 19, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Never heard of this game Tipper. I don’t know about that.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 18, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Is a Snap Dragon another word for “Touch Me Knots”? One time I sent a picture to Don, Jim’s brother. I wanted to know what was in the Picture. He wrote back and said “that looks like “Queen Ann’s Lace.” I never heard of that before, either, I always called them “Kiss me and I’ll tell Ya’s. ” …Ken

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 18, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve never heard of playing Snap Dragon. It actually sounds a little dangerous to me. Guess I’m with Chatter on this one.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 18, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Sounds exciting but not safe. How does one get burning raisins out of the fire? Think you can get Chatter to try it?

    Speaking of Victorian Christmas, this weekend is the last Victorian Christmas at the Hardeman Farm at Helen, GA. I know you all have played and sung there. I think we are going to go this year. I wish they could combine it with Christmas carols at the Crescent Hill Church next door. That church just looks like a Christmas card all by itself, inside and out.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    December 18, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    sounds lika a very different sort of game have a great christmas

  • Reply
    December 18, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve never heard of that game, but snapdragons are a favorite of mine, too. I like to pinch them so it looks like a dragon’s mouth is opening.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I’ve played many dangerous games in bygone days but none like that. Those folks must have been pretty drunk before the game began.

  • Reply
    Quinn Piper
    December 18, 2019 at 10:19 am

    I’m with Chatter!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 18, 2019 at 8:55 am

    I never heard of that painful game and don’t remember any particular game we played at Christmas. Not exactly a game but firecrackers were common at Christmas and boys often threw them at one another.
    A painful game we played at anytime of the year was rub knuckles. Two boys would clasp hands in a fist fashion and with your free hand you would hit the other boys knuckles while he was hitting yours. The hide would fly until someone would give up. I remember one boy cheating and was using his thumb nail to peel the hide off of the other. Nobody realized what he was doing until it was too late.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 18, 2019 at 7:24 am

    I think I have to agree with Chatter. Does not sound like something I want to try. I am sure there is a Snapdragon Champion out there somewhere.

  • Leave a Reply