Congratulations! You’ve just pulled…a cracker with a message not a joke, plus a party game inside. Skilbey Blogs,

christmas-998131_1280You’ve pulled the Christmas Cracker and there’s a message instead of a joke, plus there’s a party game, so read on… 

The message:

I want to be somewhere in the middle regarding Christmas. I want to have a foot in both camps and sit right on the fence, provided a pillow is available for my undercarriage, thank you. In one camp, there are the hangry, zealous consumer connoisseurs, with skid mark burns on their credit cards from swiping fast and furiously. They’ll stand up for the rights to a mid-winter festival; stand ready with wads of cash to throw at it while casting a curt nod to the comfortable Pagan God called capitalism. This camp will purchase everything requested on the wish lists of loved ones for a quieter life, and add a few extra to keep up with the Jones’s, raising a toast to celebrate the holy birth of status anxiety. Gloria in Excelsis.
In the other camp is Mr and Mrs Bar-Humbug, exercising their self-righteous practice of ‘nourishment’ over ‘pleasure’, glaring down disapprovingly over the likes of the former family, purchasing say, a hoverboard for their dog, viewing this as one of the many dreadful examples of indulgence and excessiveness. This camp bashes home the message about the dangers of consumerism, sometimes it seems a little smugly, from those fortunate to be living in the more affluent quarters of society, but in fact, both live on the extreme ends of the same pole; each equally lacking something, one through indulgence and the other, abstinence, with neither party able to satiate their desires.

To anyone sitting, straddled on a fence, and like me, with a foot in either camp on some issue, perhaps different ones to those mentioned above, maybe Epicurus can help. He was a Greek philosopher, sometimes misunderstood as being a hedonist if hastily reading about his pursuit of pure pleasure. He believed that great excesses of anything in life led to great dissatisfaction. I will add to that, giving my own interpretation and borrowing a biblical phrase: Once your cup starts overflowing with pure enjoyment, the pleasure gained in the ensuing overspill- brimming over, thereafter- cannot be heightened. It will be of the same magnitude in sensation, only it will be lost, wasted, and this over indulgence, according to Epicurus, could cause negativity. Pleasure is compromised and from what I’ve read, he had no time for that.

The point of satiation will be different for everyone, naturally. If you have to go all out, consume to the brim perhaps, as your absolute limit? Epicurus’s emphasis’s were in fact, on the pleasures of the mind rather than physical features, so conversely, make your point about the negative impact of consumerism -as that may well be your source of ‘enjoyment’- but if you go on and on, and on, it doesn’t make your voice or argument ever more potent, and you’ll be wading in your own dissatisfaction. And you’ll be spoiling not just your Christmas, but those around you- who may have a different interpretation.

‘Epicurus advocated living in such a way as to derive the greatest amount of pleasure possible during one’s lifetime, yet doing so moderately in order to avoid the suffering incurred by overindulgence in such pleasure.’

So I’ve decided I won’t be turning my nose up if someone wants to buy something that may seem on the surface, outlandish. That person will have to ask themselves the question, ‘when is it enough?’ And like me, there are so many out there, who have quietly made huge donations to charity, without needing to tell the world, and so should enjoy pleasure without guilt. Consuming is now being treated as a dirty word, as if it’s sleeping with sin, sans God. However, denying the chance for some to enjoy the pleasures of Christmas seems to me, an overflow of mean-spiritedness.

So, to infinity? No, just to the brim, I say, but not beyond.


And now for the party game…..Brilliant for large groups!


The objective is to try and get rid of unwanted gifts and get hold of the decent ones. Once the time agreed is up, you get to keep whatever is in your possession; for better or for worse!!!

Everyone is instructed to buy three gifts, not totalling more than five pounds. (If there are older members who may struggle to acquire, you can get some on their behalf)

These are wrapped and placed in the middle of a large table to which everyone is sitting around.

In the middle of the table, there is also a display of all the rules that everyone can see (a sandwich board type display is helpful)

1= No change
2= Give to the right
3= Give to the left
4= take from the right
5= Take from the left
6= Take from anyone

Two dice are placed on the table.

To start off, the presents have to be distributed. This is done by the following:

One die is thrown by a member of the group and then passed on to the next person sat next to him /her, following suit. This action is carried on in a clockwise direction. The other dice is thrown by someone on the opposite side of the table in the same manner but moving in an anti-clockwise direction.

If the thrower throws a 4,5 or 6 with the dice, then they are allowed to pick one present from the middle of the table. If a person throws 1,2 or 3, they cannot pick a present and have to pass the die to the next person due to throw.

Once all the presents have been allocated, they are unwrapped by their owners and each person around the table gets a chance to show off/display what they have to everyone else. This gives people time to ‘eye up’ what they may like to end up with at the end of the game. Once this is done, the game can really start.

A finish time is set,(alarm?) 10 minutes is adequate, but adjust time according to the numbers taking part.

The stopwatch starts. Die on opposite ends of the table, they are thrown and passed around anti-clockwise and clockwise respectively. The rules, which cover every number on the dice, are displayed on the table and are observed.

The objective is to try and get rid of unwanted gifts and get hold of the decent ones. Once the time agreed is up, you get to keep whatever is in your possession; for better or for worse!!!

Good to throw in the odd ‘very attractive’ present and the very bizarre, like a butternut squash!

Let me know how you get on. Everyone who’s tried this game absolutely loves it.

Happy Christmas!

Many thanks for reading. Your thoughts are always welcomed.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.