Ho, ho, hope these help make this time of year a little more fun. This post is a bit different in that it’s not exactly ways to play, but how to play in those somewhat stressful holiday situations where you might not be playing.
Spending time with family can suck. I can say that knowing my family reads this. Which I appreciate. Love youuuuu. But when it comes down to it, they have the same faults as me, and flaunt them around. So instead of thinking, “How am I going to deal with my family?” think “How am I going to play with my family?” Get them to play an improv game, a board game, a card game, whatever kinda game Charades is, even a video game. When you’re having fun with your family, you stop focusing on past grievances and irritations, like the way Cousin Ted always chews with his mouth open. (Sorry, Teddy.) And bring booze. Lots of booze. And drugs. Jokes! Jokes?
Be your own personal fun committee. Do a Secret Santa with coworkers. Over-decorate your cubicle. Maybe get some of those crazy coloured lights that make your house strobe. Set up mistletoe around the office and watch the weirdness. Put some Baileys by the coffee machine. You know, force work people to be fun people!
43) Work party!
It’s sold as lots of fun, but it often feels like a social nightmare. Some of us aren’t that great in regular social situations. Add our co-workers and boss(es) to the mix and hell, you might as well invite some high school bullies to pants me, or worse yet, my family. Jokes! Jokes? So how do you play at the company party? Talk to someone you’ve never met. Ask them about their favourite show (if they don’t say Breaking Bad, feel free to walk away. Jokes! Not jokes.) If you’re in charge of organizing the party, why not break with tradition and make it a costume party? Or an Ugly Holiday Sweater party. Wear a Santa hat with a bell on it. Have sex with a coworker. Too far? Maybe just some heavy petting. Okay, moving on.
Oh man, those line ups are craaaazy. People running about looking for anything to give to anyone. Here’s a tip: while you’re there, shop for yourself. Try things on. Try things out. Try every sample those sample people have to offer. Or here’s a fun challenge: try and get something for everyone on your list all at one place. Then get to that toy store and play!
They say getting there is half the fun. I say make it all the fun! You don’t need to save it up or build a reserve, there’ll be more fun waiting wherever you’re going. Especially if you’re going to a beach without my family. That sounds fun. Oh man, I could go for a beach right now. Warm sand. Anyway, make the travel part the warm sand part by playing travel games.
Planes? Play on those movator rides. Is “rides” the right word? Yes, yes it is.
Trains? Go to the communal car and set up a card game with strangers. Automobiles? Play “I spy” or pretend you’re in a race with other drivers and check in with where they are every 20 minutes or so.
“They” also say life’s a journey, so enjoy that ride!
If you’re alone this holiday season, don’t focus on the fact that you don’t have family to visit, celebrate that fact that you don’t have to visit family. Jokes? I’m probably uninvited to my family’s place at the point, so if you wanna hang, I’ll be around. Make yourself a fancy meal with all your favourite stuff. Make videos of how to Xmas or Hannukah or Qwanza alone, for all the other people who are Xmassing or Hannukahing or Qwanzaing alone. Or just use this time to write the next Hamilton.
47) More Work Stuff!
Some companies give you a bonus at the end of the year. If you get one, use it for what it is, a bonus! Have fun with it. That’s pure play money right there. Buy a game to play with the family, or a drum kit, or a haircut. Fun!
Then again, some companies do their layoffs at this time. If you get let go, first, that sucks. And second, take a deep breath and enjoy the forced time off. Chances are you’ve been working hard for months, maybe years at the same place. Enjoy some down time and pamper yourself. Go to the movies and enjoy the theatre to yourself while everyone else has their nose to the grindstone. Get the big popcorn with extra butter. Or rent Horrible Bosses and vent your frustration on whichever one reminds you of yours.
Okay, temptations are gonna come. It’s the holidays, we’re supposed to celebrate. So I say do it. Gorge yourself on those treats. Dieting is what New Year’s resolutions are for. Nog up your drinks. Cookie up your ice cream. Ice cream up your bananas. Banana up your hammock? Instead of judging how many calories or how much fat’s in it, just enjoy that food, fully and completely. Yum.
I’ve talked in the past about how doing nothing makes my brain start noising. If it’s got nothing to do, it’ll try and invent stuff to do. I’ve also noticed that when there’s nothing to do, my body likes to get sick. Like it was running on adrenaline, then you let up for a second and… barf. So when your job or body says “Enjoy the break!” they’re assuming you can enjoy a break. You can! You just gotta book in some play. Schedule play the way work schedules your work. Take a class and learn something fun, visit friends you haven’t visited in months, make time for the previous 40 things on this list. Book so much fun you’ll wanna take a break. If you’re sick, read. Read everything. And watch Gags, obvs.
50) New Year’s Resolutions!
Make time for play.
Write down 100 things you enjoy doing.
Schedule time to do some of them.
Keep it going beyond January.
Message me with your play stories, I’d love to hear them.
Remember, play is a mindset. Whatever you're doing, try and see it through those eyes. Turn “How am I going to do this?” into “How am I going to enjoy this?”
Happy holidays. And thank you for reading.
(And here's 10 more if you're interested.)
UPDATE: Check out 365 Days of Play on Instagram!