Happy Thanksgiving from Working Nights – an Idea for Getting Through Dinner!

Holiday dinners with family can be easily ruined. A political debate might erupt at the table over health care reform, Obama’s job rating, or how people feel about Sarah Palin. Perhaps a new husband or wife isn’t liked, so half the table ignores them while the other goes overboard to make them feel comfortable. Some people actually have the nerve to state that they don’t like the food, right in front of the chef. Maybe someone has dietary issues so the ingredients of every dish have to be reviewed before they take a bite. How about the nurse or firefighter who worked the entire night before and can’t stay awake at the table or has a short fuse as a result of being tired? There might be sadness over a recent death or heartbreak from missing someone who’s overseas with the military. What about those screaming kids banging their silverware on the crystal stemware or china plates? Sometimes you wish you’d stayed home.

Here’s a new holiday dinner sanity idea.

Play charades during dinner. It might sound a little crazy, but it works. You’ll need a timer, a place card for each person, and a piece of paper and pen to keep score.


1. Decide on the seating arrangement in advance creating two diverse groups, mix up the genders and the ages.

2. Write each person’s name on the outside of the place card. On the inside, write two or three phrases  (see ideas below).

3. Start with the team having the oldest or youngest member: each team will take turns acting out their phrases. If the team members guess the phrase during the time allotted, (3 minutes is good) they get a point. If they don’t guess, the other team gets a point.

4. The losing team has to do the dishes!

Simple Acting Rules:

To show the type of media:

1. Book: Hold your hands as if they were holding a book.
2. Movie: Crank your hand like you are winding an old-fashioned movie camera.
3. Song: Pretend to sing.
4.TV show: Point at a TV or draw a rectangle to outline a TV screen.
5. Quote/Phrase: Make quotation marks in the air.

To Break the Phrase Down into Sections:

1. Number of words: Hold up the number of fingers.
2. Which word you’re working on: Hold up the number of fingers again.
3. Number of syllables in the word: Put the number of fingers in the palm of your hand
4. Which syllable you’re working on: Put the number of fingers in your palm again.
5.Length of word: Make a “little” or “big” sign with your hands.
6. For the entire phrase: sweep your arms through the air.

Phrase Ideas:

1. Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House we go.
2. Plymouth Plantation (the site of the first Thanksgiving)
3. Pumpkin Pie.
4. The Mayflower.
5. Roasted Turkey.
6. Leftovers.
7. Cranberry sauce.
8. Giving Thanks.
9. Homecoming football game.
10. Gobble – gobble.
10. I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.
11. Happy Hanukkah.
12. I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.
13. Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay.
14. Jingle Bell Rock.
15. Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.
16. It’s a Wonderful Life.
17. Behold, I bring Tidings of Great Joy.
18. The North Pole.
19. Mistletoe.
20. Matzo balls.
21. Santa Claus.
22. God bless us every one.
23. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.
24. A Christmas Carol.
25. God Bless Us Every One.

Happy Thanksgiving from Working Nights!

©2009 Circadian Age, Inc. ˜Working Nights”

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