Christmas parties

The festive season has officially arrived. If claustrophobic shopping centres and crowded parking lots haven’t signalled the season’s arrival, Christmas parties certainly have. More than anything else I look forward to the parties with friends and family. (Though, relaxing times away from work and studies come in a close second.) I know that it might sound a little??clich????- spending the holidays with family and friends – but I’ve truly come to appreciate the infrequent occasions to do so. Too often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of working, studying, extracurricularing, and everything in between; it’s nice to have a prepared excuse to make time for friends. Sad though it is: Sometimes I need that ready-made excuse to put everything else aside so that I can enjoy the more important things in life.

And what would a Christmas party be if not with the gift game? Both practical and inexpensive, it’s an opportunity to stress about getting the perfect everyone-will-want-to-steal-and-keep-this-one gift and wonder in genuine and blissful ignorance about what you might go home with in exchange. If your friends and families are anything like mine, stealing almost certainly becomes an exercise in nervous awkwardness as you fret over hurting someone’s feelings – not so much out of stealing someone else’s gift, but over trying to pretend like you don’t want yours to be stolen. (You know you do!) Well, this year we tried a new take on the gift game: Using rules and playing cards, we created a rule system that engaged some creative picking and stealing to keep the game’s momentum. On each person’s turn, he/she would choose a playing card from a deck of cards; the card selected would determine the action:

Aces – Your choice: Choose any wrapped gift or steal any unwrapped gift
2s – Select someone to steal from: Play rock-paper-scissors to try to win it (best 2 out of 3)
3s – Steal from the first person with a gift to your left
4s – Steal from the first person with a gift to your right
5s – Select someone else to choose a gift for you
6s – Choose the heaviest gift
7s – Play eenie-meenie-minie-mo with the wrapped gifts
8s – Choose the wrapped gift closest to you
9s – Choose the roundest shaped gift
10s – Steal any unwrapped gift
Jacks – Choose any wrapped gift
Queens – Steal from any girl
Kings – Steal from any guy
Jokers – Chaos: You have to switch everyone’s gifts

(My daughters and I came up with the rules earlier in the afternoon.) The game was hilarious! Despite some frustrated back-and-forth-stealing, everyone was laughing and shouting with the novel element of chance sprinkled on the classic game. In the end, of course, everyone had the option of trading. Give the rules a try if you like – all you need is a set of playing cards. Leave a comment about how it went and whether you tried any different rules.

Happy Christmas Partying!

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