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Ready for another round of the exciting ‘Cranium-off’

By Staff | Dec 22, 2014

When I learned that my assignment for the week was to write a holiday column, I began to think about all of the joyful holiday memories that my family and I share each year.

However, while I was searching through my mind’s archive of Christmas memories, I began to realize that most of them have melded together, none of them standing out among the others.

Of course, I cannot even begin to describe how blessed I am to spend time with parents and siblings each holiday; but our traditions have remained consistent throughout the years and our entire family spends time together far more often than a few times each year.

But surely I must have some unique, heartwarming holiday story even the Grinch has a few joyful Christmas memories!

As I combed through my mind’s archive of memories, my cell phone began to buzz every 30 seconds or so.

I knew that a group of my friends was figuring out a time that we could all get together over the holidays, but boy, did that ever divert my attention.

As I reached over to silence the incessant buzzing, it hit me: even though it was not a specific memory, one holiday tradition stood out among all others the Annual Cranium-Off.

Growing up in a city the size of Blue Earth, I had known most of my classmates since we were toddlers.

Although my group of friends shifted over the years, most of us have stayed in contact despite the hundreds, even thousands of miles between us.

But there is only one time each year that all of us come home to Blue Earth at the same time the week of Christmas.

Therefore, the year after the Class of 2009 graduated from high school, four of my high school pals and I got together to play “Cranium,” the Hasbro party game that is a “game for your whole brain.”

With one wildly successful season of the Cranium under our belts, we decided to get together the next year to keep the newly found tradition alive.

Of course as years progress, the five Blue Earth Area High School alumni become more distracted as our lives changed at an even more drastic rate.

Usually, the board game sits on the table, untouched, as we catch up over warm drinks and Christmas cookies.

So while many of our classmates congregate at one of the local bars, the five of us gather in one of our parents’ basements to reminisce about the good ol’ days our eyes filled with tears and our cheeks burning from laughter.

In fact, for the past two years, I am not even sure if anyone brought the silly game that constitutes our reason for gathering, but that doesn’t matter.

Because when we finally get together as a group of lifelong friends, it feels as though nothing has changed despite college graduations, new careers, weddings and children.

For a few special hours each Christmas, we all go back to who we were when our friendship first developed. It was an easier time that was comfortable, fun and often times quite dramatic; but through those times and because of one another, Alyssa, Garrett, Nikita, Sarah and I became the bright young adults that we are today.