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Some time between stuffing and stuffing your face with pumpkin pie lies unstructured family bonding—a holiday Schrödinger's cat: simultaneously containing the glory of togetherness and two holiday seasons' worth of pent-up feuds. Channel that volatile energy into some friendly competition with these mostly local games.
Spin Master Herd Mentality Board Game, Nordstrom Rack Local
We're not above gamifying agreement. Win this take on the Family Feud genre by answering silly, conversation-starting prompts—like "biggest animal you could take in a fight"—with the same answer as most other players.
Monikers, Mox Boarding House Local
Based on the classic party game Celebrity, Monikers keeps the whole crew occupied for several rounds of complex character-based charades. Each card has a short descriptive bio for those without encyclopedias for brains, and will be equally appreciated by pop culture fiends (Drunk Jeff Goldblum), history buffs (Catherine the Great's Horse), and, surprisingly, hockey fans. Release your best Kraken impression posthaste.
Outside Inside Cornhole Table Set, Eddie Bauer Local
You know it. You love it. Now it's portable enough for you to lean on in it any social situation, indoors or out.
Best Story Wins Card Game, Urban Outfitters
If hearing grandpa describe the most hilarious fetish he's heard of in his 80 years of living sounds more mortifying than hilarious, steer clear (or just surreptitiously remove that card from the deck)—but this'll bring out some incredible stories from the whole family. Or just the whole table of cool cousins, if that's your holiday move.
Parks Board Game, Parks Project
A fun one to play with outdoor enthusiasts from around the country—"hey, that's my park!"—hikers (that's you) earn points by visiting various artist-illustrated parks. Gorgeous. Wholesome. Relaxing. The cute talking fox says it best.
Hygge Before or After? Party Game, Nordstrom Local
Low on rules, high on reminiscing, this game is perfect for the older crowd (and the younger crowd which, angst aside, genuinely loves to hear grandparents talk about the good old days). Which came first, Sex and the City, Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," or the term rock and roll? Cue a gushing conversation about that time grandma saw Elvis Presley live.
Supertheticals, Alair Seattle Local
Supertheticals turns celebrations cerebral with philosophy-inspired cards that ask you to imagine people and scenarios, then discuss your thoughts. What would you do if you discovered your exact genetic clone was trying to destroy you? What would your life be like if you were an expert in all of the subjects that interest you? Card colors denote adult topics, kid-friendly questions, and intimate conversations for easy, group-friendly sorting.
Designed in Capitol Hill by board-game giant Ravensburger, this relatively involved game of saboteurs won the Toy Foundation's Game of the Year award in 2019. Is your aunt more of an Ursula or a Queen of Hearts type? It's worth investing the time to find out.