Why is playing games a so widespread and such an essential part of Christmas? To dissect what can seem obvious at first glance, we wanted to understand what role games play within the Christmas family ritual. Beyond the common thought that playing is something insignificant and childish, we took playing very seriously, and we dived into what playing is really about, what is at stake, the behaviors and attitudes playing generates. If the game is everything but “frivolous”, how does it position itself within the Christmas ritual?
Games allows the family as a whole and the individuals who compose it to find ways to thrive. Families can use a game to build the unity and alliance it seeks to rejuvenate at Christmas time. Individuals within the family can momentarily evade the rules that govern this gathering (paying attention to others, be festive, play your role as family member, etc.) and thus enjoying more leeway to act and think as they wish...
We met 15 persons to do semi-directive interviews at their home. The goal of each interview was to make them describe the more accurately possible the games they played at Christmas, as well as the players, their attitudes during the different stages of the game but also the comments issued at the end of the game.