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What is pakkeleg?

If you already live in Denmark, then you might be familiar with the many Christmas dinners that people arrange every year in December. One of the activities, besides dining together at those Christmas dinners, is usually 'pakkeleg' (present-game). You can play it with friends, family and colleagues, and it always involves some tension, but that is what makes it extremely fun. 

What are the rules of the game?

The rules are very easy, which is why even children often play along.

To play the game, each of the participants at the party should bring one or more small wrapped gift(s). People usually go for generic, funny and very affordable presents, and there is usually a price range of 10-30 DKK per gift, depending on how many gifts and who you play with. All of the presents are placed in the middle of the table. And then all you need is an alarm that is set for 10-20 minutes and a dice! 

The first round..
..of the game starts with people taking turns rolling the dice. If you get a six, then you can take a present from the pile in the middle of the table. The first round ends when all of the presents have been taken. 

BUT don't unwrap the presents yet, because the second and more exciting round will then start. 

The second round..
..continues in the same way, but this time instead of taking the presents from a pile on the table, you have to steal presents from the other participants, when you roll a six. Normally this round is timed, so you have a limited amount of time to get as many presents as you can. However, the timer is usually hidden, so people don't know how long they have to try and get as many presents as possible.

When the timer rings, the second round ends and the game is finished. At that point some have multiple presents and others none, which is where some people might be a bit hurt. Since the presents are often silly or items you can only use during the Christmas dinner/party, there is no need to become very hurt, but be careful when younger children are involved. 

Additional rules
To avoid that many people end up with no presents, there might be extra rules, such as: When you roll a one with the dice, then you can take a present from someone and give it to someone else, or give your own present to someone else. Another extra rule could be that when you roll a three, you can switch places with the one on your right or left, or just someone else at the table. 

Now you are ready to start playing!

Now you know the simple rules and can be the lucky winner of multiple presents when you get to play with friends, but it is important to listen carefully to the rules, when playing since these might differ slightly. Also it is a great tradition to take with you and show your family abroad. 


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