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Christmas Olympics! Let the Games Begin
Our daughter Shanna believed in Santa until she was 9 years old. He seemed to represent all things Christmas but Shanna felt sorry for him. He was sure that a pretty old man like him would feel sad that mail only arrived in December, so until he was 9 years old, he began to correspond with Santa every January for 11 months, deliberately excluding December and asking only for his friendship
I was inspired by it. After many years of trying to find a way to change our superficial Christmas pattern to one with more meaning, surely I could follow the lead of my young daughter to create a Christmas tradition that would take the main focus of gifts.
My criteria wasn’t complicated but it needed to cover things that were important to our family:
1. Make it more about family and togetherness than gifts.
2. Include people of all ages.
Our family has come to know this unassuming event as the Christmas Olympics.
It begins immediately after the meal on December 25 with the gong of a bell that pushes the last year’s Olympian to run through the house and proudly wear crowns of cheap plastic olive leaves on their heads while carrying the torch of fortune (a wooden stick and a hand drawn flame) …. I happily gave when our three children were always toting crayons.
Christmas Olympics is a good way to make sure that the very young and the elderly stay involved in the occasion as everyone else because they also choose a game they are good at.
While many people spend the 5 days before Christmas shopping, my family is more busy gathering “stuff” for the games or researching “party games” on the internet and that’s half the fun!
The game each person chooses remains top secret until the moment they designate to start their game. Each person’s game time is indicated simply by where their name appears on the paper that tracks the game points. Christmas Olympics after all meant to be fun with some rules!
If you have 5 family members, each game makes a player one point from 1-5, depending on their ranked position in a game.
The following is a small sample of some of our Olympic Christmas games;
o Poop Potatoe which really means hop around a table with a potato between your legs and while facing everyone, plop it into a bowl on the floor.
o Orange Peel Contest. The longest unbroken short wins and everyone gets a fiber break from candy and chocolate.
o Snow golf…one or two holes on a short course (use food coloring around the hole)
o Fixed contest
o Memory game. Read a meaningful or funny short story and ask questions later. It’s really amazing how adults do NOT listen!
o Guess how many jelly beans, loonies or cases. Winner gets points and the jar!
o Flip the coin. The longest spin wins.
o Card or dice game.
o Find the Apple Pot. Blindfolded, crawling on the floor hit a wooden spoon to find a pot full of water and an apple. Retrieve the apple with your mouth. This is timed. You can get creative by using a soft tomato or marshmallow (if someone has bad knees or back, put it somewhere on the counter)
o Guess what’s in the sock? Each stocking holds an item from a family member. Contestants get one 10 second feeling, 1 hint and only 2 guesses.
At the end of the day we laughed, created memories and crowned the Olympian with the coveted plastic head crown but sticky and amazing, everyone is still proud to wear it.
We all thank Shanna for seeing things differently than the rest of us and having the courage to act on it.
Our children, even now young adults are excited for the afternoon of December 25th.
Let the games begin…
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