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{Use What You Have} Winter Centerpiece & Family Game Nights!

by | Jan 17, 2013 | Family, For the Kids, Simple Gatherings, Traditions & Memory Making, Welcome + Gather

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{Use What You Have} Winter Centerpiece & Family Game Nights!

We have a winter tradition at our house. A tradition we have had in our family for years! We love playing this wood board game we call “the marble game.” I think it is actually called Agitation or Aggravation or something like that.  It is a simple and easy to learn game with marbles and dice, but there is a little strategy involved. It is a great way to rally the family together, away from electronics, for some good old fashioned fun on a cold winter’s night.

We got started playing this game after dinner with all three of our kids when they were pretty young. Even young kids can enjoy playing it with mom and dad or older siblings, even if they don’t really understand strategy.

I always like to leave the game board out on the table in the winter because it reminds us to play it after dinner! Plus I love wood board games. I’ve decided to call it our “use what we have” centerpiece, because we actually can and WILL use it!

That is MY FAVORITE kind of decorating right there! 

Do you have an old or new favorite game you like to play with your family?
Let’s share some ideas in the comments!


  1. Claudia

    It’s called Aggravation – it was also a favorite of our family. Still love it!

  2. Dawn

    Love the board game as a centerpiece and its nice to see a game made from wood instead of cardboard.

  3. Terry

    I grew up with a father who loved board games, and Parcheesi was one of our favorites.

  4. Peggy from PA

    We also play a board game we call Marbles. My sister first played it in Greensboro, N C. It has a custom made board and you play it with large marbles and cards. It has it’s own unique rules and is really fun to play. Everyone in my family has a board. If you like card games try Five Crowns. You can google it and buy a deck online. It is our card game of choice…so much fun!

  5. JoAnna Jackson Garnto

    I love this! Super cute decor that serves a double purpose – family time. Great idea!

  6. Cynthia

    Love the centerpiece, creative.

    • carolyn bryant

      This is not a board game, but when my 2 boys were growing up, we played Rook at dinner every night. Whoever lost had to do the dishes. We paired 1 boy to 1 of us. Great fun and got them to help out.

  7. Gay Riggs

    We played a game with a similar looking board (a cousin made each of us one!). Each of the four players had six same color of marbles (6 red, 6 green, etc). We threw dice to determine how many spaces to move and there was a strategy (simple). We called the game Rattle & Roll. We (gradnmother, mother, father, siblings, cousins etc) LOVED it and we played for hours.

  8. Jennifer

    I need to do this and get the boys off the Xbox! Great idea!

  9. Tabitha (From Single to Married)

    I like Blokus (is that considered a board game? I think so.) Now if I could just get my husband to play it with me. :) Scrabble is another all time favorite.

  10. Vee

    This brought back fun memories. One winter, my grandfather made up a whole lot of these as Christmas gifts. Our game is called “Aggravation” and it has arms that are slotted in such a way that they fit together into a “t” with all radiuses (radii?) being equal. May you have lots of fun and not get too aggravated!

  11. Alison

    There is nothing like creating family memories : )

  12. melissa owczarzak

    amen! I do the same thing. My hubby bought a gorgeous game table from Frontgate and leaving a game or puzzle out there reminds us to play. No better times than actually interacting and not watching tv together!!

  13. Sjohn

    Lovely tradition!

  14. Genny

    We did a 1,000 piece puzzle over the Christmas holidays while our daughters were home from college. It’s addicting! Gotta find just one more piece before we’d go to bed! You’re right about it being a good way to engage every one and have some good conversations!

  15. Sandy B

    We are a Skip-Bo and Phase Ten card game family. We used to love playing “The Game of Life” when the kids were smaller. And we tried “Monopoly” but there were too many arguments. None of our games are as pretty as your centrepiece!

  16. Diane

    Playing Yahtzee is something that we have started doing….actually while we eat dinner. (I know!!!) It’s a good thing…I don’t wolf my food down this way. :D It isn’t exactly pretty table decor…but it is fun. Since there are just two of us…we’ve given ourselves permission to play the game during dinner. Fun.

  17. Faith

    As a child, we would have a large jigsaw puzzle in progress on the dining room table. We’d migrate there after dinner or random times and work on it. These days my own family likes to play card games, like the showdown we had after Christmas brunch playing Phase 10.

  18. Richella at Imparting Grace

    Love your centerpiece! We have a wooden Scrabble board that swivels–we love to keep it out on the table in the wintertime. :)

    I think games are just a good thing to have around. Even if they don’t get played very often, they’re always fun. My oldest son is a senior at Duke. He and several of his friends get together when they’re all home on break, and you know what they play? Trivial Pursuit–the Genus Edition from back in the 80’s! Jack and I still have ours from when we were first married.

  19. Ruth E Chidley

    I grew up in a family that enjoyed all kinds of games and making puzzle creations.. My grandpa’s favorite game was Flinch which is a card game. I’m not sure if it is even made anymore…this makes me want to do some research to see if I can find it. We played games with the kids and now with 10 grandchildren, ages 13 to 2 months, we have many wonderful years ahead for building memories around a game table!

  20. Krystin

    I love board games! Also, cute centerpiece! A very creative way to use one of my favorite things, mason jars!


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