Monday, December 25, 2006

Reflecting on Xmas Day

Today our younger daughter turned 11 months old. It was also, obviously, her first Christmas Day. My wife had dressed her in a red and green Santa's elf costume which she wore for the first part of the morning. It came with a little green hat which she's not wearing in this photo because she kept pulling it off. She spent the morning wide-eyed, staring at all the gifts as they were opened, watching the happy expressions on the faces of her Mum, Dad and sister, and then crawling straight for the discarded wrapping paper. Yep, little kids enjoy empty boxes and the left-over wrapping paper more than any gift they may receive at that age. Hey, she got some great gifts but I'm sure all she'll be dreaming about tonight is the fun she had in ripping the pretty wrapping paper apart all morning.

Our elder daughter is 5 and a half. She knows what Christmas is all about and couldn't wait to open her presents. First thing she did though, when she staggered from her bedroom all touseled-haired and sleepy-eyed, was to go out on to the deck to see if Santa Claus had drunk the glass of milk and eaten the chocolate crackle she'd left for him the previous evening. Not to mention the eight carrots she'd also kindly left for Santa's reindeer. Sure enough the milk was drunk, the chocolate crackle had disappeared and nothing was left of the carrots except for a few nibbled pieces. She did comment that the reindeers didn't leave as much mess as they did last year. That was probably because Santa didn't get the beer left out for him like he did last year.

We had the relatives over this morning for a BBQ breakfast on the back deck. When I say relatives I mean just close family. All up there were only five adults and two children so it wasn't a big affair. It was a lovely morning, coolish for this time of year. A slight breeze blew across the deck. Soon the air was filled with the aroma of sizzling leg ham, sausages, mushrooms, eggs and black pudding (for me).

After breakfast it started to get a bit warm so we all went for a refreshing swim in the pool. After an hour or so splashing about I headed upstairs, grabbed a beer and went out on to the back deck. I brought out PUNCT, a 2-player abstract game in the GIPF Project by Kris Burm. This was another gift I'd received and had been overshadowed somewhat by BattleLore. I quickly read the rules and my mum and I sat down and played two games. I won both games but like all the games in the GIPF Project it does take a few games to understand the strategies. Adding this game to my collection means I now own all six games in the GIPF Project.

In the afternoon we had a couple more people drop by, and that evening, as we all sat out on the deck around the table drinking, I brought out my unplayed copy of Apples to Apples. This is a party game where players are dealt 7 red apple cards each round which have the name of an object or a person on them. Each round the person who deals the cards out to the other players is the judge. The judge role rotates each round. The judge selects one green apple card which has an adjective written on it. The other players then select and play one red apple card from their hand which they believe closely matches the adjective of the green apple card. The judge, after shuffling the played red apple cards, reads them out one at a time and selects the one they think is the best. The person who played that card gets to keep the green apple card. First person to collect a certain number of green apple cards wins. Apples to Apples is very simple game which, for non-gamers (that is, everyone at the table except me), is not very difficult or threatening. With a few drinks under your belt the card matches can be even more amusing. We played two games of this and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I was happy as that's one less unplayed game I now own. Woohoo!

BattleLore sadly went through the day ignored as I was too busy eating, drinking and talking as well as playing with the kids. But that's fine, that's what Christmas Day is all about and to tell you the truth, after waiting so long to play with BattleLore, I figured another day wouldn't hurt.

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