By Leza Warkentin December 23, 2013 There are always some challenging parental moments for me during Christmas holidays. For example, this year I have had several conversations with my kids that went sort of like, “I changed my mind. I want a real pterodactyl for Christmas.” “Really? Ha ha, that’s so cute.” “I told the Liverpool Santa and he said sure.” Also, like always, I am spending a lot of time trying to woo my children away from the excitement of The Screen, while secretly wishing I could, once in awhile, just let them build the virtual cities and make the virtual penguin friends for 16 hours straight. But, Being Concerned For Their Well-Being, I must offer them other, similarly thrilling activities that involve the actual real world once in awhile. The only options that seem to come even close are a) a trip to Disneyland (if Legoland was thrown in) or b) playing a board or card game with their mother. I need to come clean on one of my failings as a parent. I don’t particularly enjoy playing table games. It’s nothing personal against my children; it’s never been something I like to do. And when I say “games”, I’m referring to any activity that involves organized rules, heated arguments over any type of game prop or token, or having to teach my kids the life lesson of losing to an older sibling who hasn’t learned how to win without emotionally devastating the other players. And that means that there’s nothing else my kids would rather do. But hey, board games at Christmas! Let’s build those lasting memories! Let’s connect with our children and spend some quality time with them! At the end of the day, I have no excuse besides my own inner dismay when locked into a 12 hour Monopoly marathon, the rules of which still escape me. So we haul out the Uno, or set up the checkers, or begin to search under the beds for the tiny Trouble Travel Version game pieces. I begin to inwardly cringe because I know I will have to referee between the kid who NEVER gets to go first and the kid that always introduces a new rule for choosing the first player that, oddly, consistently works in his favor. But you know, while I may not love board games, I must admit that they do combine the two essential ingredients of a quality family moment: Learning and Fun. And, I have discovered, I am quite excellent at buying up imaginary real estate even while (in order preserve my children’s self esteem, of course) being repeatedly sent to Monopoly jail.