The holidays are supposed to be a time for destressing and reconnecting with family and friends. Many families try to accomplish this is through a wholesome board game, usually before or after a holiday dinner. It’s an activity for all ages, and it seems like a relatively harmless way to pass the time. This is all great in theory, which is why every year families continue to play them.
The problem is playing these games actually induces as much stress as students experience in school. When asked whether he’d play another round of Taboo with his extended family or have to retake his 61B midterm, one CS student couldn’t make up his mind.
“That was the worst test I’ve ever had to take in my life,” deliberated the student, “but the last time we played Taboo I realized how racist my uncle is.”
Where exactly did the perfect image of a family playing a light-hearted game of Monopoly go wrong? Right about where people forget that their families include a few competitive assholes, taxing children, wine-drunk parents and yes, some secret racists. This combination of characters, who are only found together around a dinner table during the holidays, are almost perfectly suited to not be able to play board games together amiably.
“We try different board games each year, but nothing stops the madness,” explained another student burdened by the stress of holiday games. “I can say that some games are worse than others, though. Scattergories is never a good idea, and whatever you do don’t play Sorry.” The student refused to elaborate further.
Despite all the evidence that board games do more to divide families than unite them, the lack alternatives for family entertainment leads to the continuation of this holiday ritual.
“What else are we going to do? After dinner, there’s nothing to do except listen to my cousin yell at my step-mom about whether or not his drawing looks like a dolphin during a game of Pictionary,” an undergraduate pointed out.
When an entire extended family is gathered under one roof, there are bound to be some differences in opinions. Something about board games seems to manifest those differences in the form of petty arguments. Until more options are created to entertain three different generations at once, families seem likely to keep playing the same games that prematurely end Christmas dinner every year.