DB's Guide to the Galaxy

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Bookending Winter – Holiday Game Nights

Wahey there! This is the second day of my hosting and I’m extremely excited about this post! This was the first prompt I had thought about when I first signed up to become a Bookending Winter host.

Tuesday 24th December

Holiday Game Nights

What type of games do you play around Christmas time? Are they passed down throughout the family and years? Or are they a new tradition you’ve created over the years?

Now, my dad’s side of the family is French and a bit of Afrikaans, and while we see them more than my mom’s side, his family doesn’t have a lot of tradition re games. But luckily on my mom’s side we do have. Most of the time (growing up) it was just my parents, sister, and my Nonna (grandmother in Italian). But we definitely acted like there were 20 of us playing the cards!

So we would play other games (Monopoly, Uno) but mostly we played with Italian cards. I can’t remember exactly the name/brand of the cards, as we… don’t exactly have the card box anymore, just the deck of cards and an elastic band covering it 😂 but I can certainly show you pictures of how some of the cards look! Thanks to my mom for sending me the pictures as my aunt will only get the (right) cards on Christmas Eve!

There are two games we would always play. One was Sette e mezzo (Seven and a half) and the other Pirripecchia.

Sette e mezzo is similar to Blackjack/21 – meaning your cards have to add up to seven and a half – as some cards count as a half card. You’re given one card to start out with, place a coin or two on it (only cents, there’s a good reason for that) and then you decide whether you want to stay (not receive a new card from the banker/dealer  – which was nearly always my Nonna because we didn’t like being the banker or she liked it, can’t remember which) or get another card and figure out where to go from there. There’s also a card that acts as a joker which, if you get the card, you can use it in place of another number card – either getting you that coveted seven and a half or something very close to seven and a half.

The fun is figuring out “Should I be safe and stay? I’m on like 5 or 6. Who know if someone else will be that high up” – as those who are closest to 7 1/2 get the ‘payout’ – if you bet 20c on your card, you get 20c back – but that’s only if you’re higher than the dealer or if the dealer strikes out. Or should you take that risk and go all out? Sometimes you get lucky and get exactly what you need and therefore win the round. Or you go over and have to give your money to the dealer.

As kids my sister and I would sit next to Nonna and show her our cards and she would nod and tell us what to do because she had mad skills – or just years of experience 😂😂 I tend to do the same if we have anyone new or unfamilar with the game – sit next to them and advise them – “Yeah, you could risk going higher. You’re only at 4. Or, yeah, you’re at 6. Better stop. Unless you feel the next card will be that magical half-card or joker card.”

Sette mezzo is more of a slower game to play – it’s just you looking at your cards and deciding which way to go. But it’s extremely fun anyway! We usually play a whole bunch of rounds of this one.

Pirripecchia is the other game and it’s wayyy fun and also loud!! Especially when you play with more Italians because we are loud 😂 I spoke to my mom, who checked with our one cousin, and we figured out that we were probably playing the kids’ version of the game and/or the rules changed because of the region Nonna came from. Since we looked up the rules of the ‘actual’ game and it’s way different to what we used to play.

So here’s the game we used to play. Everyone put a fixed amount in the middle (again, cents). The Bank/dealer went around the table, flipping a card over for everyone, one person at a time. Some cards would make you pay a 10 or something cents into the middle, others would allow you to take some cents. One card was the winning card – one card makes you win the round.

And somehow – there’s this thing we do where we go “Ok, this is me! I’m getting the card!” when the dealer comes your way with that card, just in the hope that it’ll be the winning card. Most times, like 98%, it’s not. 2% – it is! And then you get the little pile of coins in the middle 😂. It’s a game that gets loud and occasionally the slight irritation will happen because why did you get the card when you yelled but I didn’t this is awful I’m going to cry – and cry just means stand up to get a glass of Coke and have to get a glass for at least 2 other people.

The lone card on the right gives you a win! The other cards allow you to take cents from the middle and some make you put some coins in the middle – though I can’t remember which ones (we usually rely on the moms to tell us 😁😁)


Did you like hearing about the games? I’m really excited to play the cards at Christmas since I’m pretty sure both my cousins’ girlfriends haven’t played before. Now I want to hear all about the games you play over the Christmas holidays!

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3 responses to “Bookending Winter – Holiday Game Nights”

  1. So interesting to read! 😊 My family really likes boardgames so we play a lot of those but we don’t have any traditional games.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh! Board games are definitely cool! We’ve got a few card games ready (uno and poker and such) and I think we’re even going to get the Monopoly out to get to midnight 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Bookending Winter – Holiday Game Nights […]


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About Me

Hi! I’m DB and I really like reading! I mean, of course I do – otherwise this wouldn’t be a book blog. It would be full of pictures of my cat. But come and look at whatever I’ve got on this blog!
Read more about me in my About page.

December 2019

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