We can breathe a collective sigh of relief… The holidays are over.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, life as we know it becomes a smorgasbord of food, presents and parties. For a few blissful weeks we forget the diets, grudges and budgets to delight in delicious meals, time with loved ones and our plethora of new gifts and gadgets. At least that’s the way it usually starts out. However, this spirit of festivity typically warps into something less jolly once we begin to notice the expanding waistlines, inflated credit cards bills and the annoying way that our mother has to repeatedly ask if we’re taking our vitamins. I’m not ten years old anymore, Mom. Now go make me a sandwich.

But really I love my family. It might have taken moving two thousand miles away to realize that fact, but it’s true. When we get together, it’s always a good time. We eat. We laugh. We watch football. Does it get any better than that?

Sure, things can get a little tense from time to time. It’s the holidays after all, and we’re family after all. But it’s not religion or politics that tears us apart.

It’s games.

My cousins are big game people. I don’t mean that they like to shoot lions and rhinos; they merely like to kill their opponents in Scattergories and Trivial Pursuit. Their closet is filled with every game known to man; they don’t discriminate. Strategy games. Knowledge games. Spatial recognition games. If it has dice, cards or play pieces, my cousins have it.

The game playing always starts innocently enough. Usually we sit down with some yummy snacks, a little holiday music in the background and smiles all around. Yet within minutes, the mood begins to change. The jovial small talk shifts to an uneasy silence. With the exception of “Did you go already?” no one speaks.

That is until your own flesh and blood screws you over during their next turn.

“Shoot, I needed that!”

“I’m sorry.”

“Great, now I have nowhere to go.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Well, I might as well just quit. I can’t do anything anymore.”

“I’m sorry.”

The season of goodwill toward men? Apparently not when you have twenty-five points riding on your connection from San Francisco to Miami. (Confused? Pick up Ticket to Ride, and you will know only too well what I’m talking about.) You may get a “sorry,” but we all know that your cousin isn’t really sorry. If she were sorry, she wouldn’t have just blocked your only route to Phoenix. You may share the same DNA, but that doesn’t mean your family won’t throw you under the train tracks. Literally.

Slightly more fun is when you’re the one doing the mass killing. Of course, you specifically asked to play TriBond because you rock the trivia games, but that doesn’t make it any less awkward when your little cousin is miserable because she can’t get out of the start circle. Still… Being a winner just feels so good. Not a chance are you going to throw the game.

But that’s just it. It’s just a game. A game that has enough power to sever familial ties built on years of love and understanding… Oh well, at least we have eleven months to repair the damage before the next round of devastation ensues.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 Responses to “Fun And Games”

Sounds exactly like my family! We played “Catchphrase” on Christmas Eve and I thought someone was going to lose an arm! Hilarious!! Gotta love family time.

January 13th, 2012

Agreed! Family game time > pretty much anything else. 🙂

January 16th, 2012