Everyone Loves Family Time, Right?

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Greetings all. I started this post at 2 am last night (morning?) when I got home from the boyfriends’ place, but decided I should look it over and finish it when I was more awake. Sorry for the delay in posting, but I got caught up with family activities these last few days. My mother works in a hospital so she has to work holidays. She took this weekend off to celebrate Christmas early. Luckily, my boss gave me the weekend off as well.

Like most families, my brothers and I think everyone is dysfunctional and we’re all at that age where we don’t like each other very much so holidays can be an exercise in patience. Or an exercise in anger management/training yourself to not throw knives at anyone. On top of that, we are all extremely competitive so some of our familial activities end in a bit of drama. My family is quirky and not very traditional, but we have managed to create a few happy holiday traditions in the last few years.

1- My parents purchase a small collection of ‘prizes’- nice chocolates, household items, gift cards, random things. We win these prizes either by our activities in number 2 or by playing games like Wii, Mancala, or silly things like who can eat an entire roll of crackers in three minutes. Yeah, we’re weird. I want to play this gift exchange game at some point too, so we’ll see.

2- We play Thanksgiving/Christmas ‘Survivor’. My parents watch the show avidly and created a game out of it. We have reward challenges (for the prizes in number 1), immunity challenges, hidden idols, redemption island and we vote people off. At the end, there’s a jury and we pick a winner. We are a family of six, and my boyfriend also gets invited. This year my brothers “not” girlfriend came as well. Having so many people makes for some really interesting dynamics and really irritating manipulation. Of course my boyfriend and I are in an alliance which annoys my brothers to no end. But then Brother 1 is so easily manipulated by Brothers 2 and 3, and then Brothers 2 and 3 do all kinds of crazy manipulation and lying.  But the prizes are fun and the challenges are entertaining. We’ve had to chew raw potatoes, try ‘mystery food’ from my parents fridge (my mother ended up with a spoonful of wet cat food, nasty), light a match held in our teeth, Simon Says while holding a biscuit on our heads…I think you get the idea. My boyfriend and I usually get voted off pretty early because my brothers are convinced we are incapable of being fair, but they are the ones who are manipulating everyone. Anyway, that’s another story for a different day. I’ll talk more about the prizes later.

3- Secret Santa. We draw names at Thanksgiving, have a $25 spending cap, and exchange gifts at Christmas. In this case, we’ll exchange on Friday. More on that later.

Yesterday we did some games with the family and significant others. Today we will just do some family games. Since Brother 3 goes to an out of state college, we incorporate the internet for some of our games, like Google searches and TV watching. For the Google searches, my dad comes up with some random questions and whoever inputs the correct answer in a shared Google Doc wins a point. First person to three points wins a prize, or immunity or whatever. My dad has a serious Google obsession. Brother 2 thinks this challenge is unfair because I type the fastest. Not my problem, but maybe it is unfair since I won immunity twice. 🙂

However, for the TV challenges I ended up at a disadvantage. We ended up watching ESPN since Brother 2 had that channel down in Florida. We had to guess whether the next play would be a pass or run or kick or whatever and it works the same way was the Google searches. However, I know nothing about football. I’ve never even watched an entire game, so I always lose these.

Overall, it’s a good way to spend the holidays. Sometimes I lose my temper, but having chocolate for a prize usually helps with that.

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