Pick presents that come with the gift of time
How about "The Fly in the Soup"? In this game, "players use spoons to remove flies that have fallen into the Soup bowl. ... [The] Player who 'catches' the most flies when time expires is the Winner!"
Probably the weirdest of the bunch is something called "Watch Ya Mouth," a "competitive card-based game" in which players insert plastic cheek retractors into their mouths and then attempt to read off silly phrases such as "Puppies fart perfume" and "A biblical velociraptor."
These games sound crass and vulgar ... but actually seem totally delightful. It is highly likely, dear readers, that I will find several of these games under the Christmas tree this year, purchased by me -- for me -- so I can torture my family with the ridiculousness of actually playing them.
This is the lifelong curse of the only child: After so many years of owning multiplayer games that were impossible to play alone (imagine, if you can, an 8-year-old Esther Cepeda playing "Hungry Hungry Hippos" all by herself on the day after Christmas), you spend your adult years chasing the wholesome family fun advertised on TV.
As corny as it sounds, the memories that are made around a game board with family are some of the most cherished you can ever have.
It took me growing up and having my own kids and extended family to finally, really, play "Connect Four," "Monopoly," "Balderdash," "Scrabble," and "Yahtzee." Last year I bought myself the absurd, jump-scaring "Crocodile Dentist," which savagely chomps your finger if you push down the wrong tooth during your turn. We save this one for occasions when everyone's mood can endure my anguished screams.
Even if you can't tolerate rattling dice games like "Yahtzee" or "Farkle" -- or nerve-jangling ones like "Operation" or a new one I spied in a catalog called "Five Nights at Freddie's" ("Steal his pizza if you dare") -- classic games like chess, checkers or standard card games are fun and just plain good-to-know as life skills.
Whatever your style, if you want to buy a kid in your life a memorable present for Christmas -- or any other holiday -- make sure it's something not designed to keep them busy by themselves. Get something that requires your presence -- the gift of time is most precious of all.
Esther Cepeda's email address is email@example.com.
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