I chose this date completely at random to share a couple of hours of gift-giving with family. Okay, so that’s not true, but I thought it was important to really experience Christmas Day as play. Because what is the activity of hiding gifts inside wrapping, then coming together to enjoy seeing the looks on people’s faces as they reveal the surprises, if it isn’t a playful game?
As seems to happen every year at the in-laws, despite all efforts to avoid huge piles of presents, we had a huge pile of presents. In the hope of delighting at each person’s joy on opening exactly the right gift I’m the one that insists that people watch as people open the presents one by one. I excuse this as exhibiting what Stuart Brown calls the Director play personality.
This process of opening presents in series rather than in parallel lasts a short while, but does eventually break down. What have I learnt from this?
- Firstly, that, sure enough, there is a great deal of happiness in seeing loved ones delighting in a present that you have given them.
- Secondly, most adults get particularly excited by giving a well-thought-out present, above opening that huge wrapped bundle. I’m reminded of a certain John Lewis advert.
- Thirdly, eventually the desire, particular among the children, to get on with it! and open their own presents wins through.
Ah well, you can’t have everything!
Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store – Dr. Seuss
Ease of play: 2/10 (needs a LOT of set-up!)
Resemblance to play: 7/10
Potential frequency of play: Low