This is a super way to mark a special anniversary or birthday. It’s all about remembering moments important to the individual or couple in the context of events in the rest of the world.
For my parents’ Golden Anniversary I got a large piece of white wood (40cm x 80cm) and marked 50 squares (10 across and 5 down) in silver pen. Then in the middle of each square I wrote a year, starting with 1962 and going on to 2011 and 2012 (they shared the last year). Each square was the same size as a post-it note and there was a thin border at one end to write a message. At their special dinner in the Compass Room at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club we cleared a space in the middle of the table and put the board there. Next to each guest (handily there were 10 people) I put 5 post-it notes on which I had written a family factoid and a world factoid. For example “Viv and Dave get chickenpox” on one side and ”Man first walks on the moon” on the other. Once everyone had worked out the year in question was 1969 the post-it note was stuck in the square for 1969.
At my brother-in-law’s birthday they used big sheets of black paper with factoids on gold stars – they also used lots of photographs of him through the years to match up. To the amazement of the fabulous trattoria in Venice the 7 of them laid the sheets out before dinner and had a great time.
It takes a bit of work to come up with enough information, but the family factoid only has to mean something to the family and world history facts are easy to find on the internet. The best bit was sharing family memories, however I did hear of a melancholy note struck by the frequently absent father who said he simply hadn’t realised how much he had missed. At the end of the game there is a tangible reminder of your family’s story – it could be framed or photographed as a keepsake.
- Create a time line – either as a grid, or a line
- Write a year in each space
- Using separate pieces of paper (post it note, luggage label, stars etc….) write a personal fact on one side and a general fact on the other from the same year
- Divide the factoids between guests and ask them to stick / tie / glue the factoid to the right year.
Handy Hint: keep a note of which year the factoid writer has allocated to which fact so you can arbitrate if disputes break out.
Alternatives might be to use a long washing line with wooden pegs marked with the year – facts written on piece of paper and hung up. Another idea would be to have a “Advent Calendar” approach where opening a window marked with a year reveals a factoid – that wouldn’t be such fun as a game but would make a lovely keepsake. I think this game could also be played for clubs or companies.