The holidays are drawing close, and families are drawing closer. Of course, the scene is not
always as picturesque as it seems on Hallmark cards. There are skeletons hanging loosely out of
every closet, and drama is on the tip of every tongue. People everywhere are struggling to find an
inch of common ground, a safe frame of conversation in which everyone can relax. What do
conservatives and liberals, drug enthusiasts and non-drinkers, techies and luddites all have in
common? It’s simple. Everyone enjoys some light-hearted fun, at least every once in a while.
The most difficult feat is treading the line, keeping the game light for everyone, no matter their
own personal beliefs. It’s not easy, but a few tips bring the game well along its way.
1. Choose a good time.
For many, gambling games are not a daytime activity. Whether money comes out or not, the
game may be best left to the late hours of the night when less prim and proper things can occur.
If someone doesn’t like it, they can go to bed early.
2. Pace the drinking.
It may be a challenge for some, but for others, one drink is enough. Many family members may
only drink one beer or one glass of wine for the whole night, and be good. It can be hard for
people who are accustomed to drinking more, but ultimately pacing the intake with the group is
better for bonding. Drinking the same thing as everyone else around the table also establishes
3. Ask parents first.
It may seem perfectly natural to a great number of people that money-free gambling games,
much like virgin margaritas, are perfectly alright for kids. After all, it’s not really gambling, so
where’s the harm? This assumption may offend individual parents, however, so even when the
money is tucked away, it’s better to ask before inviting minors to the table.
4. Let it escalate.
Ultimately, the goal is to unwind and relax around everyone, no matter everyone’s political
views or what they think about each other. Building a fun atmosphere isn’t easy, but in a way, it
is. The best way to build fun is to let it happen on its own. Once people start putting their guard
down and competing for real, the mission is accomplished.
Have a lot of family coming together this year? Remember that the best advice is to know your
audience. For better or worse, no one knows family like family.
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