By Cicely Samuels, Content Strategist
Thanksgiving. For some, it's a day of shoving obscene amounts of food into their mouths in order to avoid conversation about the new President Elect. For others, it can be a day of familial bonding...and shoving obscene amounts of food into their mouths. Just because.
This family bonding usually takes place in the form of board games. Board games have been a staple pastime in various societies for years (and years and years). Technically, since Predynastic Egypt! And for a good reason. Board games can revive and exercise your creative thinking skills and problem solving abilities, in addition to decreasing screen time and engaging in something that's arguably fun for the entire family.
I spoke with my good friend - and burgeoning young professional - Amelia Windsor about a two hour game of Settlers of Catan that she played with her parents and her two younger sisters over Thanksgiving.
"It's typical for us to play either board games or card games during the Holidays, depending on everyone’s mood" said Windsor, "It tends to be an easy way for everyone to keep from fighting about religion or politics, this time we decided to go for Settlers of Catan."
If you've never played Settlers of Catan, you're seriously missing out. It's intense, to say the least. The concept is that each player is a settler establishing a colony on the island of Catan. The players build colonies, cities, and other settlements in addition to roads that connect them as they settle. Collecting the resources to build these settlements is the big challenge here, as there are many obstacles in your way. But whoever scores 10 victory points (building a settlement gets you one points and a city gets you two) is the victorious winner!
The dynamic of Windsor's particular Thanksgiving Catan-athon was competitive, but it was the enjoyable kind of competition. The sort that challenges one's ordinary instant gratification that's ever-present in the technology age.
"All of us are extremely competitive, so the usual board game antics ensued. Overall it was a really nice way to pass time while engaging in something thoughtful with family members. Getting to spend constructive time with my family - without the distraction of electronics, work, or other obligations is a rare treat that's always memorable."
Windsor wasn't the only one of my peers playing board games on Thanksgiving.
Friend and local musician, James Lockhart, sat down with his three younger siblings for a 2.5 hour session of the classic game, Monopoly - and I got to see the entire thing unfold via Snapchat. This put a new lens on things.
"I decided to Snapchat the game because I thought it would be funny to try and make something as objectively boring as Monopoly seem really, really important and exciting" said Lockhart, "I also think the dynamic between my younger siblings is hilarious, and I wanted to share that with people."
For the Lockhart's, Thanksgiving Monopoly is a three-year-long tradition that they intend to keep up with.
"It's been a tradition for the last three years or so that we all play Monopoly after our extended family leaves our house on Thanksgiving Day. It's been really fun to watch my siblings grow up and get better at the game. When we first started, my brother John (now 10) wasn't able to focus long enough to finish the game but now he's just as competitive as the rest of us. I hope the tradition continues for a long time" said Lockhart.
This particular game of Monopoly even ended with an original Christmas gift idea, which is a solution to a problem we all face this time of the year.
"My sister Hannah (12) ended up winning this year and I think I'm going to give her a trophy for Christmas to commemorate it" said Lockhart.
It seems that board games serve as the perfect way to share an experience with loved ones, and despite their reputation, millennials still have a soft spot for off-screen entertainment. So ,come Christmas Time, go ahead and grab your clan, light the fireplace, dust off that game board and revel in one of the last, true forms of universal and interactive entertainment.