The Perfect Gift
By Janet Harper
"Dashing through the snow, in a rushing kind of day, through the malls we go, hustling all the way, oh what fun it is, to find the perfect gift, bells on register's ring, as spending cast away, never mind the bills, they will come to us someday."
Yes, it is the season to be merry, as we endlessly journey seeking to find the 'perfect gifts' that will just make the holiday season ever so wonderful. Often we find ourselves lost in the moment of holiday frenzy, quickly learning the act of juggling multiple bags in one arm while searching through racks with the other to find treasures abound. Then January arrives, the bills trickle in, and the reality of our shopping spree leaves us in a state of despair or panic as we dig ourselves out of the snow of bills drifting in from our holiday spending frenzy.
This brings me to a personal pre-shopping holiday story.
It was on Thanksgiving Day of 2010, when we received an unexpected gift that rejuvenated our lives and melted years away, leaving us all young again, and sitting around our kitchen table.
Before I begin the story, it is important know a little about my family. My father has always been the center of our family, who insisted dinner time was a time to eat, laugh and catch up on the day's events. I swear my sister's stomach clock was set to go off at 6:00 every night, she was the first to find her spot at the table and we still joke about it to this today.
My dad's idea of discussions were geared to enjoy the presence of each of us and what we brought to the table. He is a man who treasures humor, social interaction and the beauty of communication. Dad learned to love the art of communication from his father. Grandpa, Dad’s father, migrated to Chicago from Northern Spain and wrote many English/Spanish translation dictionaries that were published and popular during the 1940’s through 1970’s and today these books are preserved in the Library of Congress, given a top relevance rating of 5 star.
As the night progressed we began to laugh and launch jokes. It started by playing off each other's final words and the fun began to roll. At that moment, the stress of our daily living lessened as our table began the word play game my father played with us as young kids.
What a gift that is the power of play! The next day, I received a call from dad saying, "Let's work on a game that we could share with others." Months of creating, editing, getting test samples and making revisions became our mission for the year. As we enter our second year of creating the game Quibbles, we realized our family tradition was developing into a board game.
Expanding this concept, I have noticed as an elementary school teacher, how students are craving the quality time and social interaction that games provide. Many students are glued to video games, but in reality they lack for social contact.
Giving our youth the opportunity to play board and card games will enhance their social skills as well as giving them the experience we had as children. It truly brings families and friends closer together. So, the 'perfect gift' is to spend the time and dust off the board games you have enjoyed over the years with your family, friends and loved ones and keep games alive in your home too!
Janet Harper is an elementary school teacher