Fancy dress and scratch carols: nine festive challenges from TV's Taskmaster

When I created Taskmaster, it was never meant to be suitable for family Christmases. The host, Greg Davies, is a sweary giant, the comedians are often uncouth and the show was on late-night TV.

Now, 10 years later, we’ve made a board game, a bleeped show on Sunday afternoons, and far more children shout “little Alex Horne” at me than I’d like. And so here are some tasks that kids and adults can all try together at Christmas. Apologies for any uncouth swearing induced.

First, you need to assign yourselves a Taskmaster. This person must then instruct everyone to put up their most Christmassy possession as a prize. The overall winner will be awarded all these things at the end of the evening. But for now, your Taskmaster must commence judging and realise just how hard a job it is. Here are some tasks for them to set. Enjoy!

Wardrobe raiders

If you are over 40, dress up as someone 40 years younger than you. If you are under 40, dress up as someone 40 years older than you. You have 10 minutes. Most convincing older or younger person wins.

Cracker jacked

Put the most surprising thing inside a Christmas cracker. You have 10 minutes. The thing that surprises the Taskmaster most wins.

Alex Horne looking alarmed, about to bite into a mince pie filled with toothpaste
Photograph: Pål Hansen/The Guardian

Festive taste test

The Taskmaster will have made mince pies but filled them with other things (such as toothpaste). Work out what is in the mince pies without looking inside them. You have 10 minutes. Most correct guesses wins.

Santa school

Put the most good things in a sock. You have 10 minutes. Whoever puts the most good things in a sock wins.

Ding dong

Write and perform a brand new Christmas carol. You must only use words from a page in a book chosen and opened at random by the Taskmaster, and when you perform it you must smile maniacally throughout. You have 10 minutes. Best Christmas carol wins.

Smut hunters

Find and display an innocent thing that actually looks quite rude. You may not get naked, unless everyone is definitely fine with that. The accidentally rudest thing wins. You have three minutes. Your time starts now.

Alex Horner wearing a festive shirt, holding a cocktail, with a wreath behind him
Photograph: Pål Hansen/The Guardian


Make a Christmas cocktail. Your Christmas cocktail must be so Christmassy. It must also contain no fewer than 10 different ingredients. You have 10 minutes. Most delicious Christmassy cocktail wins.

Rip it up and start again

Part one: find a picture that you don’t mind destroying and rip it into tiny pieces. You have three minutes.
Part two: Put together the jigsaw you have just created. Fastest wins.

Reverse Mary Poppins

Make the biggest mess and completely clear it up. You have five minutes. Your time starts now.

Taskmaster’s New Year Treat is on Channel 4 at 9pm on New Year’s Day.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more