It started quite a few years ago between my sister and me. We were both married and had left home, but would come home for Christmas. In the game, someone (a NEUTRAL bystander!) holds up the cards one by one, like a flashcard, and the goal is to be the first to identify the sender.
The cards we used were the ones my mother had received from her friends, neighbors and our relatives. It was a pretty good game because K and I hadn’t looked at them before we came back to the “old house”–and it was thus fair –no one had the advantage of being able to pore over them ahead of time on the days preceding Christmas as they came in the mail daily.
But we did, for the most part, know the senders by name. We grew up with them! So if the card was from Flossie Smith, we not only knew her, but exactly where she lived and probably knew a pretty funny anecdote about her as well. Small towns have plenty of anecdotes, you know.
And when there was a card from a “new person in town” or one who moved in after we had left home, we found out all Mom knew about them. Say it was the new doctor in town. Well, we’d study (secretly!) the card for any clues that might spur our memory to “doctor” when we first saw the card during the game.
For instance, if there was a house with snow and a little snowman out front, I might pretend to myself that the doctor had made the snowman. See ? Easy.
So there might be about 60 cards. My brother would make an elaborate staging area where he would be holding the cards and showing them one at a time to us. There wasn’t a chance, believe me, that any card could be seen ahead of time by one sister or the other.
We would be given an equal amount of time to study the cards on our own–half the pile, then switch to study the other half—each of us making fiendishly clever ruses to bring the senders’ names to our minds during the fast-paced game.
I’ll give you another example of a clue. Say you’re studying this card from Aunt Mary and Uncle Earl . . . How would you remember?
Easy—-it’s “Peace on EARL” you see. “Uncle Earl (and Aunt Mary) !! ” you belt out at the top of your lungs to beat out fair sister.
I’m sorry to tell you that the game does encourage some shouting to be the FIRST to yell out THE FRENCHES! Then the room quiets down while my brother selects the next card carefully . . .
Not to toot my own horn, but I was usually the winner. Yes, it’s true. And when my sister comes to our house this season I can assure you the game will be played again.