The Night before Christmas

(8 customer reviews)


The Night before Christmas is a Christmas-themed murder mystery game for 12 to 15 guests and a host. This Christmas Eve certainly won’t bring goodwill to all men as blackmail, theft and betrayal occur at a glittering 1948 Massachusetts cocktail party. This includes, free of charge, a non-holidays-themed version of the game. Written by Tracy Bose. Recommended for ages 15+.


The Night before Christmas is a murder mystery game for 12 to 15 guests and a host. It is set at a Christmas Eve family party, in 1948 Massachusetts. Download the free introductory pdf file.

The Night before Christmas is an innocent family gathering, with a few friends and strangers added to make the party go with a swing. However, not everyone is as they seem – some have dark secrets they need to keep hidden… and someone is the killer! Your guests will be in the middle of the action, and it will be up to them to wheel and deal to get what they want. Will they achieve their goals, keep their secrets hidden, and survive The Night before Christmas?

The Night before Christmas comes bundled with Dazzled to Death – it’s the same game, but without the Christmas theme, so you can use it at any time of year!

“The Night before Christmas was a terrific party. The story line was sophisticated enough to engage everyone but not so complicated that we didn’t all get into it. My family had a blast and wanted to do it again the very next day (not practical). I’m sure we will be doing other events of this type in the future when we can get everyone together. Good fun was had by all.”
Nancy Wakeman, United States

See stories and pictures
from The Night before Christmas
Read the
Boston Times

It is December 24, 1948. The socialite Evington-Browne family and guests are preparing for the annual Christmas Eve cocktail party, held by tradition at the family’s hunting lodge in the White Mountains north of Boston. Snow has been falling for days – a blizzard has now set in – and the party finds itself cut off from the rest of the world. This is unfortunate, as the valet of one of the guests has been found dead in the kitchen! It looks like a heart attack – but is it murder? Can you achieve your goals, keep your secrets hidden and survive The Night before Christmas? It’s up to you.

In The Night before Christmas you will discover the following:

  • Who has been wearing a Santa Suit to sneak around?
  • Who will inherit the Brilliant Diamonds?
  • Would the infamous cat-burglar ‘the Puma’ dare to strike here?
  • Are the Evington-Browne family in danger of losing their money, their reputation in society and their sanity?
  • Can anyone keep control of Tracy’s pet monkey?
  • … and, of course, who killed the valet?

Find out in The Night before Christmas!

The Night before Christmas lasts for about four hours and is suited to an evening. It is often played over a meal – a finger buffet if possible, to allow guests to circulate and talk in private.

“I loved The Night before Christmas – the pdf packet included everything I could have possibly needed to run the game smoothly. And I liked that there was more to the story than just solving the murder. With the multiple storylines, everyone got the chance to have a key role.”
Kylie Speirs, United States

One of our more straightforward murder mystery games, suitable for beginner hosts.
Includes rules for the use of poison.
Includes rules for the use of poison.

The free introductory pdf file contains an introduction to the game, a cast list of all the characters, and a copy of the Boston Times.

Cast of characters

  • John Evington-Browne III: Respected businessman and head of the family.
  • Rose Evington-Browne: John’s much-loved wife.
  • Patrick Evington-Browne: John and Rose’s studious 20-year-old son.
  • Evie Evington-Browne: John and Rose’s willful 21-year-old daughter.
  • Tracy Evington-Browne: John and Rose’s mischievous 16-year-old daughter.
  • Priscilla Evington-Browne: John’s elderly and often forgetful aunt.
  • Agatha ‘Aggie’ Marbles: Priscilla’s elderly English friend and allegedly famed detective.
  • James Pemberton: Rose’s brother. Art dealer and traveler.
  • Charles Pemberton: James’s son, currently a student at Harvard.
  • Dr. Bruisyard: Retired family doctor and friend.
  • Miles Earnshaw: Unexpected guest, friend from Rose’s youth.
  • Reggie Haven: Young socialite friend of Evie’s.
  • Christy Crompton: Student friend of Patrick’s.
  • Soames: Butler/Housekeeper.
  • Dinah Peters: Cook (temporary stand-in for usual cook).

The Night before Christmas is for 12 to 15 players:

  • 12 players (4 male, 6 female, 2 any)
  • 13 players (5 male, 6 female, 2 any)
  • 14 players (5 male, 6 female, 3 any)
  • 15 players (5 male, 6 female, 4 any)

You also need a host – someone to organize the party and ensure everything runs smoothly. That can be a separate person – or the host can also play one of the characters in the game. It’s up to you.

How Freeform Games murder mystery games work

The Night before Christmas is unlike other murder mystery games. Although the game starts with a murder, each character has several goals they must try to accomplish. While they may want to solve the murder, The Night before Christmas contains plenty of other plots and secrets to keep everyone busy. The Night before Christmas isn’t scripted, and lets the players decide how to achieve their goals and thwart their enemies.

The Night before Christmas was brilliant! Our first murder mystery game, but definitely won’t be our last.”
Trish Thornby, United Kingdom

On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the Waiter, and welcomed to the party.

They then receive their detailed backgrounds – including dark secrets, goals, and items. The fun then begins as players form alliances, blackmail each other, steal items and maybe even resort to murder!

Finally, the game concludes and everyone finds out how they did, and what secrets everyone else was concealing.

Recommended for ages 15+

We recommend The Night before Christmas for those aged 15+, as it refers to a child born out of wedlock, although this is handled delicately.

Extra characters

Sometimes you have too many guests and need more characters. So most games have free extra characters (written by us or previous hosts) included in the download when you purchase the game.

  • ‘Ginger’ Roberts and Jules Cameron – freelance reporter and event photographer. (Any)
    (by Freeform Games and Larry Weixel)
  • Angelique Gemini – Priscilla Evington-Browne’s paid companion. (F)
    (by Michele Scott)
  • Beryl Sutton – Rose Evington-Browne’s cousin. (F)
    (by Jenni Malloch)
  • K.C. Warburton – internationally acclaimed artist. (Any)
    (by Steph Mann)
  • Mephisto Lustig – Harvard friend of Charles Pemberton’s. (M)
    (by Michele Scott)
  • Reverend Maxwell Reagan – pastor of the First Church of Boston. (M)
    (by Larry Weixel)

Please note that we haven’t always tested these – and they may not tie in exactly with our games.

IMPORTANT – you shouldn’t add too many of these characters in to your game as they haven’t been designed to work together (unlike the main game characters). If you add in several, they may make your game chaotic and incoherent. You should probably instead choose a larger game. If you still want to add several extra characters (four or more), we recommend having an extra host to help.

“Thank you for a great site, fantastic games, good service and very quick reply. Keep up the good work.” Ole Martin Brodwall, Norway

Cast Iron Guarantee

We offer a Cast Iron Guarantee on all our murder mystery games. If you’re not completely satisfied with The Night before Christmas then please let us know within 30 days and we will refund you. See our full terms and conditions, and our refund policy.

Trouble downloading? If you have trouble downloading the game files, please first check your spam folder. If you still can’t find the download email, drop us a line at with the name of the game and the email address you used to purchase it, and we’ll resend it.

8 reviews for The Night before Christmas

  1. Sandie D. (verified owner)

    We were all first time players. Obviously there were things that experience would have improved, but we all had a great time

  2. A Customer (store manager)

    This was our first time to host a game ever. So glad we picked yours. We had so much fun and the kids were asking when we were going to do the next one!
    We hosted The Night Before Christmas for my daughter’s 18th birthday. All of her friends came dressed for a cocktail party, served “mocktails” and trays of appetizers. The whole night was such a success.
    Thank you for your outstanding product!

  3. Jeff B. (store manager)

    Like the other games that I have run, everyone left the house asking when the next one will be run…

  4. Robin Goracke (store manager)

    We loved it and will play again.

  5. Extremely Satisfied Mystery Lover (store manager)

    Thank you very much for your quick response to my question. The Night before Christmas was our first murder mystery game and we had a great time. Everything was well planned and laid out and everything we needed was included in the kit. We enjoyed it so much that we are doing it again (with a different group) for Valentine’s Day!

  6. Liz Gore (store manager)

    Just before Christmas this year, my sister and I decided to host a Murder Mystery Party for close friends and family. As we had quite a large group to invite, The Night before Christmas was the best solution. We had previously enjoyed many of the boxed Murder Mystery games, but found that the unscripted element made for a more exciting evening (including one rather dramatic death scene). Everyone threw themselves into their characters and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. There were even requests to make it an annual event!

  7. Carey (store manager)

    The Night before Christmas is my 2nd party I’ve done – the first was A Dead Man’s Chest. I am amazed at how great they turn out! The first game, I had people back out, and had to recast for the very minimum crew of people for that party. But this one I had more than enough people — everyone found out, and I had to promise I’d have another one, for the ones I couldn’t invite to this one. Everyone who comes just loves it!

  8. Larry Weixel (store manager)

    Many thanks for all your help, and for providing such an entertaining murder mystery in The Night before Christmas! The party was a huge success! Definitely takes a lot of planning, but in the end it was well worth it. Other friends found out about the one I held on Dec 15, and they wanted me to do another one for them… so I’m having another one this Saturday! I’ll definitely be back for more murder and mayhem! Thanks!

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Q & A

How soon will I get my game? asked on 14 April 2021

You can download your game immediately after making your purchase. We will also send you an email message containing a download link and password so you can download your game later.

answered on 13 April 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Where's my password? asked on 12 April 2021

Please check your email (including your junk folder). If you're sure you haven't received it, then please get in touch. It helps us if you tell us when you purchased the game and what email address you used.

answered on 11 April 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
How do freeform murder mystery games work? asked on 10 April 2021

Most of our games have an impartial host who organizes the party. Hosts don't solve the murder with everyone else – they have already read the game and instead watch the game unfolding.

Guests use their wits and negotiate, scheme, and plot with other guests to get what they want. Nobody needs to learn complicated backgrounds or memorize lines – character backgrounds are little more than a side or two of paper – which can be kept to hand for reference during the game.

answered on 9 April 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Have you got any games for beginners? asked on 8 April 2021

Yes! If this is your first time hosting a Freeform Games murder mystery, we suggest choosing one of our more straightforward games. Click here for our 'games for beginners' page.

answered on 7 April 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Do you have any games suitable for all-male or all-female groups? asked on 6 April 2021

Yes! We have several games where all the characters are ungendered and can be played by anyone. Click here to see our ungendered games.

answered on 5 April 2021 store manager
(0) (0)

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