The best gift I got for the holidays was being home with my family. At least with my family, there usually isn’t an awkward readjustment period to me being home (they might disagree with that, but I think I fit back in seamlessly). Every year on Christmas Eve my mom’s side of the family comes over for our Christmas celebrations. We have a gift exchange where all of the kids trade names and buy each other presents (actually the moms buy everyone presents, but we pretend that’s not how it goes).
My sister got a game for Christmas called Game of Phones. A lot of people groaned about her spending even more time on her phone, but she grinned despite the fact. After a few rounds of our usual games (Bananagrams, Scattegories, pool and some Mario Bros) Libby started recruiting people to play her new game with her. My brother, cousin and I all sat on the floor of our basement, all pretty doubtful about how much fun this game would be. The game was much more of a physical game than we thought it would be. The way you played was there are cards which you flipped over and then had to perform the task on each card with your phone.
One of the tasks required us to get someone not playing the game to send us a picture of what they were doing. I immediately dashed towards the stairs when the card was read out, knowing that most of the adults in our family were upstairs doing something different than the rest of us. My brother sprinted after me, grabbing an ankle and tugging me down a few stairs, making me burst into laughter and grab him as he ran by me, pulling him back towards me. This fashion continued all the way up the stairs and into the living room, both of us laughing so hard that we could hardly yell out instructions to our cousin Emily before we started running back downstairs. I ended up winning the round, but we were both so overtaken with giggles that it didn’t end up mattering.
Christmas morning we headed to my Grandma’s house to celebrate with my dad’s side of the family. After presents had been opened and lunch had been eaten we all settled down in the living room. My cousin’s son walked into the room with a Perfection game that had to be fifteen years old. He tugged my siblings and me onto the ground where we all began playing by his modified rules, laughing and jumping every time the time ran out and the board exploded.
Surrounded by family and brand new toys both sides of my family deferred to the usual: competitive games, laughing and a little bit of wrestling. The new presents will be exciting later, but for now there are games to play and memories to be made. On some of my favorite days of the year I came home to find that not much changes when you’re surrounded by the people who love you. Every year, I wait for the timer to go off and the board to explode on my perfect holiday, but we keep holding hands and beating the clock somehow. Surrounded by the people you love and a bit of familiarity, you tend to notice that the Grinch was right; Christmas isn't quite what you unwrap and get from the store "maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."