Saturday, December 22, 2007

Playing The Game with Family & Friends

Unearthing the presents I’ve been buying and stashing all year is a bit like having Christmas early. “Oh, I’d forgotten I bought that!”

So I’ve just been having fun wrapping all the loot with paper and ribbon I bought last year after the holidays. Amazing what a nice fluffy bow can do for a humble gift!

Which reminds me of a game we used to play when we were group home houseparents. Our clients were all teens and really enjoyed this game. I’d buy a bunch of cheap items, usually at dollar store type of places, but sometimes I hit sidewalk sales or even picked up new items at garage sales. Nothing cost more than $5 and most much less. The object was to not buy quality but quantity!

I’d wrap everything up as elaborately as possible and pile all the gifts in the middle of the floor during our group home Christmas party. Passing around a small dish, each person would roll the dice and if they got either a 7 or an 11, they could pick a gift out of the center. They were NOT allowed to open the gift at this point. The game continued until all the gifts were taken from the middle. Then the fun really began!

I would set the timer but no one else would know how much time was left so the game shifted into high gear and they were practically throwing the dice to the next person in order to go more quickly. But now if someone rolled the 7 or 11, they could take a gift from someone else. For whatever reason, certain gifts were highly coveted and would go back and forth a lot. When the timer went off, everyone was able to keep the items currently in their possession and open them.

What never ceased to amaze me was that the ‘gag’ gift never failed to be one of the most coveted! Over the years the gag gift included a pack of toilet paper, a box of rocks, several cans of sauerkraut, and one year a box of absolutely nothing. But it sure was wrapped pretty :-)

We’ve also played that game with friends, with other staff, with family. It’s just a lot of fun and in the odd instance someone doesn’t get anything, there’s always a gracious few who share. No matter the crowd. And when we were houseparents we noticed a lot of negotiating after with gifts changing hands even more times.

I always tried to have three times the number of gifts as we had players.
So if you’re trying to think of something to do, something to get the blood pumping and the laughter roaring, this is the game!

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