A holiday season is approaching unlike any other. This year, family plans are being canceled and group activities are being discarded in favor of remote gift-giving. Yes, it’s upsetting not to be able to check in on Nana or enjoy the sweet treats she usually bakes around this time, but that’s not to say you won’t be able to have a meaningful interaction with her this year. Consider introducing remote gaming into this year’s holiday planning—board games have a way of bringing people together, even when they’re apart.
Board games provide conversation fodder
The world’s on fire, in many cases literally. But who wants to rehash the day’s news to their family during the one time they can spend time with you surrounded by merriment? Avoid the New York Times and the president’s Twitter feed to discuss what’s going on in the game. Perhaps someone is about to make a key move to hurt one of their opponents, and you must argue your case why it should be someone else. Or perhaps someone simply requires a refresher on the rules. In any case, as long as the conversation steers toward the game and away from the madness, the holidays just might be saved.
Board games keep us in the now
Board games require presence, albeit this year only emotionally. So keep your family’s mind off begrudgingly planning 2021’s holidays and focus instead on following the turn order, or what everyone is rolling, or simply what color your game piece is. There exists a ton of minutia in games, and each individual piece provides a spot to laser-focus your attention. Consider it like becoming mindful of your breathing during a yoga class; there can be a zen-like calm in noting every tiny detail that makes a game so compelling. Before you know it, you’ll forget what year or even day it is, like every other day this year since March, and feel your presence settle into your seat.
Board games transport us to lands far away
As long as you avoid the game Pandemic, you can pretty much guarantee that any board game you choose will offer a wild new world to explore. We live in unprecedented times, it’s true, but what’s more unprecedented than spending some time chilling with monsters and ninjas? Goat herders? A robotic behemoth named the Meka Dragon? As long as the world remains chaotic, it won’t be hard to disappear into a different kind of chaos—one we can all control. You could also pick up one of the many games that take place in space; with no air, there’s no aerial transmission of COVID-19!
Board games offer closure
When will this all end? Your answer is as good as ours, but what we can easily predict is when the board game itself will end (except in Monopoly). Enjoy the ritual of collecting the pieces, sorting the game’s currency and folding up the board. Give the cards a quick shuffle so as to reduce the time spent setting up the next time around. Simply undergoing the motions can trick your brain into feeling like the day’s events are being tied up and wrapped in a neat little package—and given board games contain so many little parts, this process can last a decent amount of time. Plus, this way you can drop the mic as a winner, always a treat!