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How To Have More Fun At Your Holiday Gatherings

Written by: Christina Marlett, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Check out this article to learn 3 ways to have more connection, harmony and love this holiday season.

Happy young men and women toasting healthy orange fruit juice at farm house picnic.

A client recently asked me if I had any ideas on how to create better holiday gatherings. She said, “Of all the people I know, I figured you would have some ideas for me.”

I said, “Of course I do!”

“I knew you would!” she replied. And I proceeded to give her at least 7 things that our family does when we gather that makes for a much deeper connection, which is essentially what we want from each other. Deeper connection results in more love and understanding, and to me, that’s the most fun one could possibly have.

The best place to start is to ask better questions. If you ask mediocre questions, you’ll get blah blah blah results. Usually, that means complaining or boring, uninspired conversations. For example, if you ask, “How are you?”, you’ll generally get “Good,” “Busy,” or something equally low vibe and humdrum. If you ask, “What was one of your top experiences this year?”, you’ll obviously get something much more interesting.

So that’s the preface. Ask better questions = get more connection, harmony, love, and fun.

Here are 3 great activities for the dinner/brunch table that will help you get to know each other on a deeper level, have better conversations, and prevent things from descending into a complain-a-thon.

Fun Activity Number 1: Something I Love About You

This activity is one of my favourites. It’s so powerful, it works for every age, and it will leave everyone feeling all warm and glowy.


  • Preface the activity by saying something like, “Hey everyone, I found out about this great activity I would love to try today. It might feel a little weird, but I think it will be really fun.” When you give a head’s up and introduce it that way, it will help with the discomfort factor, because sometimes asking great questions is uncomfortable since you’re asking people to uplevel.

  • It’s fairly simple. One by one, going around the circle, each person turns to the person on the right and completes this sentence: Something I love about you is…

  • The receiver offers some form of thanks and then turns to the person on their right, saying the same thing and so on until everyone has had a turn.

  • Then you switch it up and go in the other direction, saying “Something I love about you is…” to the person on the left.

  • If you’re the one introducing the activity, you can go first and model what kind of answer will be the most impactful. (It’s good to explain that the best kinds of answers are something about the person on the inside rather than the outside… “Something I love about you is your socks would not be the best kind of answer”.

  • For example: Something I love about you is how much you care for others and you’re always trying to make the world a better place by doing little but impactful things.

You’ll be amazed at what kids say (if you have any in your gathering) and you might be surprised to hear what people love about you. Often it’s things that seem to go unnoticed.

One of my favourite moments from this activity is when my husband told my dad what he loved about him. It was so heartfelt that my dad was in tears. And then everyone else teared up, and that my friends, is what I call FUN!

Fun Activity Number 2: Storybowl

I learned about his activity from Andrea Scher who has a lovely blog. Our family absolutely loves the Storybowl and I’ve also offered it up to groups of strangers and to participants in my retreats. It has always exceeded my expectations. You will find out things about each other that you never knew, no matter how long you’ve known each other.


  • Everyone gets a small piece of paper. On the said paper piece, write one word, generally a noun, such as fish (always my go-to example), bed, airplane, statue, dress, flowers, etc.

  • Fold the piece of paper and put it in a bowl. Everyone else does the same so the bowl is full of paper pieces.

  • Give the bowl to whoever is going to start. They pull out one piece of paper and then tell a story from their life about the word.

  • The story doesn’t have to be long, funny, or good. It just has to be a story. You can assure your group that there’s no performance pressure.

  • Again, you might want to demonstrate to give people an idea of what constitutes a story.

  • Everyone takes a turn and you get to hear all sorts of stories.

I’m telling you… this activity is SO. MUCH. FUN! It works well for all ages (except maybe infants, but they wouldn’t be writing on the paper anyways). Some stories will be hilarious, some will knock your socks off, some will be poignant, and some will make you shake your head because you thought you knew someone and then they go and blow your mind by revealing a whole new side to themselves. Amazing. So much thanks to Andrea Scher for sharing this activity that has enriched my life over and over.

Fun Activity Number 3: Previously Known as Stupid Human Tricks but upgraded by me to Fantastical Human Tricks since I don’t like the word ‘stupid’

This is another activity that will reveal things you never knew about each other. It provides many laughs as well. The premise is that everyone has either something physical or a skill that is unusual, so why not share them?!?

When you introduce this activity, you’ll want to give a few examples. Here are some tricks you can share that I’ve seen. My daughter can do weird things with her eyes like move them independently (super creepy, but most impressive). When my son was little, he did an exceptional air guitar and also a very entertaining robot dance. When he got a little older, he liked to demonstrate exceptional armpit noises to the rhythm of a song. My go-to is that I can recite most of Robin Williams’ monologues verbatim from the Good Morning Vietnam CD, so I like to perform a little sampler of that. (When CDs first came out, we got two total, and that was one of them, so I listened to it a lot.)


  • Share those examples or something from your own bag of tricks.

  • Each person gets a turn.

  • Enjoy. I anticipate that you will be wowed. And hopefully crying tears of joy.

I really hope that you try at least one of these activities with your loved ones at your gatherings this holiday season. Yes, it takes a little courage to do something different, but it will go down in your family history books as one of the most special and memorable gatherings you’ve ever had.

May there be many smiles, sparkling eyes and deep love for you and your loved ones as the year draws to a close and we begin all fresh and new.

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Christina Marlett, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine As the creator of Courageous Self-Care, Christina is passionate about helping stressed out high achievers learn to lead their communities, families and themselves from a place of wholeness, overflowing energy and deep self-respect. She excels at helping overwhelmed leaders revitalize their energy from the inside out so that they can be productive and peaceful at the same time. Christina is a certified Embodiment Coach, Body Awake Yoga teacher, Happy for No Reason Trainer, Energy Codes Facilitator and BEST Practitioner who helps you take inspired action so that you have epic relationships, vibrant health and so much energy that people will ask you what you’ve been doing differently.



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