I’m just going to fess-up right at the beginning that I have spent a fair amount of time buying gifts over the years. In those efforts, I’ve found myself caught up in the ‘is my gift bigger than yours’ with the kids on my gift list, feeling the need to find the ‘perfect gift’, or commit to getting the thing that can’t be acquired at any price from any store or online site. Well, all I have to say is shame on me. Why, you ask? Because the gift of laughter isn’t marked with a specific size or price. Laughter is just that…laughter. And it’s probably one of the most important gifts we can ever give!
What is Laughter?
According to Wikipedia
, laughter is defined as “a physical reaction consisting usually of rhythmical, often audible contractions of the diaphragm and other parts of the respiratory system. It is a response to certain external or internal stimuli… it is considered an auditory expression of a number of positive emotional states, such as joy, mirth, happiness, relief, etc.”
OK… I want that! Particularly the part about getting some exercise for my diaphragm. But seriously, Laughter is an important part of our general well being and mental health. It helps us re-position stressful moments into a manageable space. It can help bring us together when we feel isolated and alone. And it can be more contagious than the flu if you think about it. So why is it not the number one gift on everyone’s list? Probably because we don’t always understand a way to give it!
The Gift of Laughter Through Play
Having a certain affinity for games, I am partial to the ease with which a little laughter can be achieved just by playing one. From that standpoint, they make the perfect gift!
But not all games are alike, and not every game suits every person or situation. Just like buying a book for someone, the games that someone likes to play are personal. Consequently, a little thought in advance to identify the kind of game you are looking for will help you make a good choice. Here is an example:
In selecting a book as a gift, you might consider:
- Short story or novel.
- Fiction or nonfiction.
- Favorite interests or hobbies.
- Light-hearted, coffee table or serious reference.
- Best Seller or Book Club Selection
For games you should consider preferences like:
- The playing time. Plays in less than an hour or plays in several hours.
- Style of game. Dice, card, manipulative, or classic board game.
- Favorite themes or interests. Travel, history, space, comics, hobbies, animals or pets.
- What games they have played and liked. Silly fun, math, word, creative or strategy.
- Game pedigree. Award Winners, Top 10 list, or influencer recommended.
And most importantly, always consider the age range of the players who will be likely be playing the game. Can you picture those folks sitting around the kitchen table having fun with the game you pick? Remember, if you thoughtfully select then your goal can be achieved, and you will have truly given the best gift of all….the Gift of Laughter!