We’ve been conditioned to think of gifts as things, material things that can be wrapped up and tied with a bow. What if gifts mean a little bit more?
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
(Since my family just watched this last night, and we’ve been quoting it to one another today.)
If we think bigger about what we need and want, about gifts that would really enrich our lives, we need time together. It’s tough to pull together a whole family from their busy lives, especially when one member of the family is gone 12 hours a day.
So, we guard our time together and we give one another the gift of togetherness.
My two teenagers don’t share all of the same interests, but they each agree to share time doing the other’s favorite activities so they can spend that time together. I sit with each of my children separately, and we read books to one another. My son has had an ongoing game group for a couple of years. Both of them play board games with friends.
And, when my husband is finally home, we play games together as a family. We have drawers and closets full of games, but we tend to come back to the same board games and card games over and over. It isn’t the games themselves that we are seeking, though.
We talk. We laugh. We bend and break the rules we don’t like. We help one another. We are ourselves together.
I’ve found that there are games families and non-games families. When we find game families, we show up at their houses with our games, and we blend. That’s what we have planned for New Year’s Eve.
Does it matter to you that playing board games increases attention and listening skills, enhances vocabulary, encourages higher thinking, or teaches good sportsmanship? (This list is from the work of Dr. Sylvia Rimm.) I hope it does. Even when the games you play aren’t played well and fairly, playing together can create lifetime bonds.
Set the habit of family game night now to get the positive ripple effect. You will get to know your children better. Your children will get to know you better. You’ll bond. You’ll engage in the very process of creating your family.
We carry a big collection of cooperative games and puzzles for a big range of ages. Stop by the store to be pick up puzzles, board games, and card games for the family for the holidays. Giving and playing games is one way to give the gift of togetherness. Sure, it’s a thing to wrap, but the point is a lot deeper. The point is the commitment to actually play the game together regularly.
Dr. Sylvia Rimm, PhD, “Families that Play Together, Stay Together,” SylviaRimm.com.
Ellie Gibson, “Board games don’t just bring us together – they remind us how to play,” The Guardian, 24 November 2014.
“Every Kid Needs Puzzles & Games,” EcoBabySteps, 11 December 2012. Highlights of a few of the games and puzzles we carry at bynature.ca.
“Teaching Children about Herbs for Health,” EcoBabySteps, 28 May 2011. About one of my family games for families: Wildcraft!
“Finding Life Balance: Family Time,” EcoBabySteps, 29 May 2012. About the real need to create the family you want, since it won’t just appear automatically.
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