Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Is The Christmas Game Religious?

A: No. The Christmas Game celebrates the universal values of kindness, togetherness, traditions, shared memories, and fun.  Therefore, none of the cards in Starter, Standard, or Deluxe bundles are religious.

However, if you prefer a bible-centered celebration, we also publish an add-on Christian Deck of game cards appropriate for families who would focus their celebration on the Bible and the birth of Jesus.  The Christian Deck is available in the Christian Standard Bundle and the Christian Deluxe Bundle, and also on amazon.com.

2.  Isn't It Paradoxical To Reduce Commercialism by Buying Something?

A: We're against commercialism, but we're not against buying things you need. Commercialism is an attitude and a way of life. The Christmas Game fights commercialism in important ways. First, if you play The Christmas Game, you will not have to buy as many presents in the future. Second, The Christmas Game helps lead you to a way of celebrating that is truly more meaningful, more spiritual, more connected, less commercial, and less materialistic. We'd love to give it away for free, and we do sometimes, but it costs money to make, so we have to sell it. Churches, too, are non-commercial institutions that fight materialism, but they cost money to operate. There's nothing paradoxical about supporting products or institutions that advance your values.

3.  Do I Have to Use All the Cards?

A: No, you should only use some of the cards.  The activities we suggest will work well for many celebrations, but every family is different, which is why our decks also include some blank cards.  Please treat the cards described here as suggestions only, ignoring or changing the ones that don’t work for you, and always be exploring ways to add your own cards. Also, please share your successes and suggest new cards on our blog, so others can learn from your experience and try for themselves what worked well for you.

4.  How Long Should the Game Last?

A: The duration of the game will vary from family to family and from year to year.  It is quite common for a game to start first thing in the morning and last until dinner.  But there is nothing wrong with planning a one-hour game, or playing a single card each night of Advent.  As participants fall in love with the ritual and devise new cards and new ways to play, the Christmas Game may tend to last longer each year.  There would be nothing wrong with a game lasting all night or for weeks, although that would be atypical.

5.  What Do I Do with a Project That Might Last Too Long?

A: Project cards may be tricky because some really good projects are time-consuming, and might take up the entire day.  If it is a really great project that everyone loves, or if your Game lasts more than one day, that might work fine.  However, in general a balance of cards works better, and all card categories need to leave room for the others.  Also, cards that take a long time to play need to be engaging for all the participants, or else some may lose interest in the Game as a whole.

6. I Really Want to Try This, But Someone in My Family Is Skeptical.  What Can I Do?

A: For many people, The Christmas Game doesn’t make sense until after they’ve played.  This is partly because it’s a new idea, and new ideas take some getting used to -- especially when they impact existing traditions.  But it is also partly because the Game’s framework is so flexible that it can accommodate a wide variety of dispositions and preferences.  If somebody doesn’t want to play, they may well be imagining a Game filled with activities that they would not enjoy.  The best thing to do is to talk to the person and find out what their concerns and reservations are, and then plan a Game that takes those into account.  After everyone has played once, you can make further improvements.

7. What's the Difference Between Starter/Standard/Deluxe?

A: The main difference between the bundles is the number of cards -- 35, 100, or 200.  The Starter Bundle gives you a basic set of 35 cards.  The Standard Bundle nearly triples the number of cards and includes 10 additional customizable cards, for maximum flexibility.  If you totally get why we are doing this on why it will be great for your family, get the Deluxe Bundle, which not only gives you 200 activity cards to choose from, but also includes the official Memory Book, which is $9.99 if purchased separately.  If your family favors a religious celebration, get a Christian bundle for dozens of Christian-themed Christmas activities.

8.  Isn’t This Just the Same Things We Do Every Year Anyway, Only Now the Cards Tell Us to Do It?

A: The Christmas Game makes it easy to refocus the entire Christmas holiday, so that during the weeks before Christmas you spend more time planning for quality time, and less time (and money) shopping for presents.  If you want your Christmas to be less about presents and eating, and more about togetherness, fun, and giving, then The Christmas Game may lead to significant changes.  But even if your Christmas Game incorporates all of your existing traditions, you probably will not do all the same things in the same way and at the same pace.

9.  Can You Play Even if Your Children Are Very Young?

A: It is never too early to start a great tradition!  A one-year-old may not be an active (or constructive!) participant in the Game, so the cards will be chosen for the benefit of the others, but also taking into account the needs of the child (for example, for attention or quiet nap time).  You may be surprised how much young children remember from year to year, and how quickly they begin to look forward to playing The Christmas Game.

10.  Should Television, Movies, and Video Games Be Allowed in the Christmas Game?

A: There is a place for everything.  Perhaps a Tradition card involves watching a Christmas movie, or a Challenge card involves a video game. However, in general, electronic media of all kinds -- movies, TV, video games, Internet -- tend to separate us from each other, drawing us into separate, parallel worlds, which makes the Game less intimate, with less Togetherness.

A great success strategy for The Christmas Game is simply to make space for the game by carving out some hours when no one is working or doing errands or visiting family.  Similarly, try carving out some media-free time for The Christmas Game.

11.  Can't I Just Make It Myself?

A: Sure!  Even if you buy an official Christmas Game, you will still end up customizing it yourself in many ways.  The Christmas Game comes with hundreds of ideas, and ready-made, heirloom quality cards, which makes it the simplest, most effective way to quickly improve your Christmas celebration -- we guarantee it.  The official Christmas Games also make great gifts for friends, family, party hosts, and loved ones.

12.  What Is the "Emergency Deck"?

If you have already purchased a Christmas Game, you can request a free 12-card Christmas Emergency deck, which allows you to play one short game right out of the box with no preparation or planning. Use the Emergency Deck if The Christmas Game is a present to be opened on Christmas Day or if you don't find time to prepare a game in advance (it happens to all of us!).  

13.  How Do I Buy The Christmas Game If I Live Outside the US?

A: The Christmas Game is available internationally, both from The Christmas Game store and from amazon.com (international shipping charges apply).

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