Are you ready to face your family?

Summer has sailed and Halloween is a blur.  What stretches before us is the trifecta of festive family gatherings: Thanksgiving, Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza) and New Year’s celebrations.

It’s time to put away those phones and mingle.

Some of our gatherings are upbeat, sparkly and decadent, like my sister-in-law’s annual Christmas gathering.  (Not that I’m begging for an invite or anything but…so, how’s it going, Ro?)

Others are cozy and familiar, like a luncheon with my in-laws, followed by a dinner with my parents.

Two sets of feasts, two sets of desserts.  All in one day.

There’s a considerable amount of sitting around.  I dread my Fitbit reading.

Winter’s coming. Don’t put it off any longer. 

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy these quiet get-togethers.  It’s a welcomed break from the everyday hustle and you’re chilling with your family.

But you know what would make it exhilarating?

The thought has lingered in the back of my mind for months, maybe even years.

A full-on battle with said family.

That’s right.

An unpredictable and fiery collision of all the good stuff:  tension rising,  juicy drama filling the room as old grudges are brought to the surface, words being slung, and blood pressures rising.

I can see the fists pumping in raucous victory while the loser is forced to concede in a matter of seconds, followed by the victor’s malicious laughter.

Did you know board games could cause that?


You’ve got what you need, just do it!

The words flurry around my head as I gaze with yearing at the dusty boxes.  Once crisp and colorful, the now faded stacks of board games sit in silence on the basement shelves.  Their days of glory have passed.

No, they haven’t! You can bring them back to life!

This is where my childhood now rests, abandoned but not forgotten.  I remember the afternoons of endless Monopoly sessions and Connect Four show-downs…..the simple board games filled with so much tension you’d think we were in the Texas Hold’em poker tournament finals with our parents.

I am a better person because of those fun afternoons.

Of course, they were frustrating, too.  But that’s part of the process.  Every game taught me persistence, playing fair, making calculated decisions, logical thinking, problem solving, impulse control, good sportsmanship and I had real face time with family and friends.

We weren’t athletes or outdoorsy folk.  It came more naturally to my parents to occupy us with Mastermind code-breaking marathons and racing through the Game of Life with our peg people.  We had about 20 games packed away in every book shelf, closet and hidey hole and they all had their day in the spotlight.

Even as a young adult, married without kids, my husband and I played games with my in-laws and my parents on the weekends and holidays.

After the kids arrived, our hectic lives left no room for board games.

My kids are missing out.

Would I have the commitment to bring these activities back into our lives?

Are these old boxes going to stand up to our screen-driven world and holiday chaos?


I picture myself hefting all these odd-shaped boxes upstairs in a moment of determination.  I imagine them cluttering my dining room while my kids explore each game and ask a dozen questions.  Eventually, one by one, the boxes would retreat to the basement, never to be asked about again.  Can you see that happening to you too?

Unfortunately, there is no space for them in our main living space and we can’t drag them all to our family gatherings.


Lucky for me, my obsession with tiny house living solved my space dilemma.

I came across an article on Merissa’s Little House Living blog about downsizing your possessions.

I wanted more board games in my children’s lives.  She was already doing that.  However,  she had found a way to make them more accessible, portable and take up less space.  She threw convention to the wind and developed a system that was best for her family.

And I was blown away!

Suddenly, it all seemed possible.  She took her board games apart, placed the game pieces in bags and put everything in a chest.  She tossed the boxes out and her new game board stash was ready.

I liked this idea.

A lot.

Yes, folks, winter is coming and the games will begin!

Board Games Fit in One Box

  1. Iris 12″x12″ plastic scrapbook case
  2. Board games with folding boards
  3. Various zippered bags (sandwich, quart and gallon sizes)
  4. A FREE printable label for your new Board Game case (for personal use only).  

Click the button below to print your label:

  • Open up each game and lovingly place the pieces in appropriately-sized bags.
  • Toss the board game boxes or hold them in a separate area until you’re ready to discard them.
  • Arrange the game boards and bags of game pieces in the scrapbook case.
  • It might take some shuffling around but choose the games that fit well together.
  • Once you’re done, paste the label on the cover.

I wouldn’t suggest getting rid of similar pieces that two games share – some game pieces are designed a certain way for a reason and it’s more fun to keep the unique identity of each game.

Check out my quick tutorial on making your very own checker board out of left-over scrapbook paper.  It’s just like the blue one in the photo above.


The board games now reside upstairs in our main living space and we pull them out every now and then for a rousing hour of fun and yelling and teachable moments.

Of course, there are other games that I love and could not fit in the box.  Our Game of Life and Chutes and Ladders remain in their original boxes but the rest are all set for travel.  They are perfect for road trips and vacations too.

Soon, the turkey will be carved (twice) and we will be ready to shake things up with our portable board game station!

What kinds of games did you play when you were younger?  I would love to hear about them!