Archives: The ANYtime Game

AnyTimeGame Christmas Game

The ANYtime Game!

An intergenerational way to share memories and hopes. Play anytime, anywhere. . . at home, while traveling, while visiting friends or relatives. During the Christmas season, play The Christmas Game.
Graphic from Spirit of Simplicity: Art 2. Building Community on this site.

Let's play The ANYtime Game!

Now we can play The Anytime Game almost anywhere. Its compact design allows us to keep it in our purse, car glove compartment or coat pocket. It fits in most standard size letter envelopes. Share it with friends and relatives if you send cards or letters. Save it. Give it as a gift at Sunday School, church, reunions, parties and meetings.

This non-competitive game is designed to help people talk to each other in a fun and meaningful way. A great alternative to TV!

Produced in part by a grant from Woodbury County, Iowa, chapter of Thrivent Financial Services for Lutherans.

Copyright Creative Commons (originally 2004 Alternatives for Simple Living)
Please print on recycled paper.


Seat all the players in a circle facing each other. Appoint one person as reader who holds the game. Choose someone to go first – youngest, oldest, person with the birthday closest to the day's date, etc. That player chooses a number between 1 and 139. The reader reads aloud the appropriate topic. The player responds.

If a player chooses not to respond to that number, s/he chooses a number between 1 and 20. The reader reads the corresponding topic from the Alternative list. The reader checks off each number as it's read to avoid duplication, until all have been read. Play continues in a clockwise direction. There are no wrong answers. Set a certain time to play or play till the sun comes up!

After a player responds, other players may choose to respond briefly to the same topic or to the first player's comments. If so, the additional players each forfeit a turn.

Add your own questions at the end.

For more information about celebrations noted with an asterisk ( * ), see Treasury of Celebrations – the book, the CD-ROM (Simply the Best: Over 30 Years of Alternatives) or web site archives.

For a list of international celebrations, see the International Calendar issued by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. For a list of interesting celebrations see the Simple Lifestyle Calendar in the Archives.

This game can also be used as a personal retreat by going to a quiet place and answering each question in order or at random.


1. Name one group of people you have a bias against, for example obese people or single parents. How are you tempted to treat them unfairly? How can you and a friend change that bias?
2. What does it mean to Live Simply, That Others May Simply Live?
3. Name three qualities or characteristics of a good leader.
4. If you could find the solution to one world problem, which problem would it be and why?
5. If you were able to do one thing to make the world a better place, what would you do or change?
6. What does your favorite retreat/quiet place look like? Why does it work for you?
7. What moment from your life should be sent to America's Funniest Home Videos?
8. One person always seems to push your buttons and you become grouchy. Ask the group to give two helpful hints to change your reactions.
9. I have too much stuff! I need to unclutter. But my things have so many memories attached. Help me! (Ask the person on your left for two ideas.)
10. My friend is having an operation next week. She has three children at home and is a single parent. How can I be of help? I really don't have time to care for the children.
11. What is one way you could make your daily life simpler? Who could help you?
12. If you were moving to a deserted island to live simply and could only take three things, what would you take and why?
13. If you travelled anywhere for a year with only a large back pack, what would be your essential clothing?
14. People are coming to your town and burning books! You are allowed to keep three books. Which ones would you keep and why?
15. Is there any job that you would not consider doing, even if the pay was very high? Why wouldn’t you do this job?
16. What do you think is the best way to bring peace to our world? How can you be part of the process?
17. If you had enough money in the bank to eat, travel and live comfortably for the rest of your life, would you still work? If not, what would you do with your time?
18. If you had a magic wand that could cause people's lives to be simpler and you waved it over the Earth, what changes would it cause to happen?
19. Do you think having money to spend makes your life simpler or more complicated? Explain.
20. If you could give a million dollars away, what people or organizations would you decide to give it to and what would you want to happen as a result?
21. If you received $100 unexpectedly, what would you do with it other than buying stuff?
22. If you received $500 anonymously with a note, Do good with this, what would you do?
23. Some families have a regular family night. Family members take turns planning what to do and eat. What activity would you plan? What food would you prepare or select?
24. If you were having a family meal, gathering, or party, who would you choose to help you cook the meal or plan an activity? Why?
25. If I could read the mind of someone who doesn't talk much, what would I hope s/he would say about me?
26. What would happen if you had your vacation planned and your car broke down enroute? How would you vacation instead?
27. What current family custom or tradition do you think will be strange to your great grandchildren?
28. What invention would you predict will be real 100 years from now?
29. Bob Hope died in 2003 at age 100. Can you name 10 things that were invented in his lifetime? Ask the group to name 10 more. Which are Earth friendly?
30. The Delaney sisters, two single African-Americans, lived to be 102 &103. One was a dentist and one was a teacher. Name five world events that happened or holidays that started during the 20th century.
31. If your computer goes on the blink, how do you communicate with others?
32. If there was no electricity or phone for three days, how would that complicate your life and how would you handle the problems it created?
33. The TV breaks and you cannot afford to fix it right now. How would that change your family's activities?
34. If your family cancelled cable service, what would you do with the saved money?
35. You own a garden shop and you are near the end of the growing season. In seven days your plants will likely die. You have lots of stock left. What do you do?
36. You can give any one gift, at any cost, to any person. What do you give? To whom?
37. If you could give all children of the world a gift today, what would you give them?
38. You’re having company over this evening and the electricity goes out at 6 p.m. What do you do all evening by candlelight?
39. The primary bread winner of the family next door lost his/her job. Name one way you could help them.
40. How do ads influence the way you shop? Ask the group, Do ads influence anyone else in a different way?
41. Have you ever seen an ad that stressed how a product was Earth-friendly? Is that an important selling point to you and your friends?
42. How do you determine how much you will spend on vacation? Eco-tourism means Earth-friendly travel. Does being Earthly-friendly help determine where you will spend your vacation or how you'll get there?
43. What one person from the past would you like to invite to a special meal at your home? What would you talk about?
44. Have you ever been a volunteer, helping someone in your community? What special moment have you experienced? If you haven't, what's holding you back?
45. If you were given the opportunity to volunteer outside of your country, where would you go and what would you do?
46. Name one skill or talent you could share with someone today.
47. Do you donate blood? If so, how does it make you feel? If not, what’s holding you back?
48. What three words best describe your feelings about a specific friendship?
49. One part of living sustainably is to live within the Earth's carrying capacity, that is, not to pollute the air or the water faster than the Earth's systems can naturally clean them. For over two decades North Americans have been living beyond the Earth's carrying capacity. What do you think will eventually happen? Name one thing you can do to reverse this trend.


50. If you could plan an ideal picnic outing, where would you go, who would you invite, what would you eat, and what would you do?
51.* If you were to make a home video of your ideal birthday party, what would others see?
52. If you have any siblings, are you the oldest, youngest or in the middle? How do you think your birth order has affected your personality?
53. Name any place in the world (other than your home town) where you would like to spend your birthday. Why? What would you do there?
54. Name someone you haven't seen or spoken to for two years. What would happen if that person showed up on your doorstep for your birthday?
55.* What is a meaningful or appropriate gift you could give for an anniversary? What gifts are inappropriate? Does being Earth-friendly help make a gift more appropriate?
56.* How is your current celebration of your birthday different from how you celebrated as a child (or 10 or more years ago)? What do you hope will be different in a child's birthday party 20 years from now?
57.* What is one tradition your family has now that you would never change?
58.* Blended families have extra challenges at Christmas. Name one creative, real-life solution that people use to simplify the holiday's complexities?
59. How do you celebrate positively and include relatives or friends you don’t always get along with?
60. If you had plenty of free time to make a gift for your best friend, what would you give?
61.* What non-material gift do you want to receive?
62. Have you ever celebrated a holiday while in a different country? Tell about the experience.
63. If you ever celebrated a holiday with people from another ethnic background, how was it different than your usual celebration? How was it similar?
64. If you were to plan a celebration for a homeless family, what would it be like?
65. If you could make up your own holiday, what would it be called and how would you celebrate?
66. Name a holiday that you have heard about from a friend, in a book or on TV that you have never celebrated. How do others celebrate it?
67.* Is there something special you and your friends can do next MLKing Jr Day (mid-January) besides getting the day off from work or school? What could you do to help bring about Dr. King's dream of people living and working together?
68.* You are an admired newspaper writer. What does your column say on Martin Luther King Day?
69. Jan. 21st is National Hug Day. Do you know someone who's going through a rough time? Is any day a good day for hugging? Name another way you can support them.
70. February is Black Heritage Month. Why do you think it's important to know about famous black Americans? Have you seen or experienced racism? How did it feel? What did you do about it?
71. What are some ways that we treat people of other races unfairly? How can you and a friend change that?
72. February is Forgiveness Month. Think of someone you need to forgive. Don't say the name. Explain why it’s important for YOU to forgive.
73. February is Friendship Month. Tell something funny or touching that someone has done for you to show friendship.
74. Mid-February is Random Acts of Kindness Week. Tell of an act of kindness done to you that has had a lasting impression on you.
75.* Give one positive idea for celebrating Valentine’s Day when you're single. Would you consider ignoring the day or figuring out a way to show others how much you love them?
76.* Since St. Valentine was a prisoner, how could you celebrate Valentine's Day, February 14th, without roses, chocolate or cards?
77.* One year on Valentine's Day, a busy husband gave his wife a gift of time. . . one hour each night he was available to spend time together. They went for walks, cooked dinner together, and told stories. How would you use a gift of time from another person?
78. Which US president is your favorite and why?
79. March 11th is Johnny Appleseed Day. Would you give up the comfort of your home to live alone, crossing the country to make the world a better place by planting trees? What would you do?
80. March 16th is Freedom of Information Day. Why is freedom of information important and how does it become threatened? How does fear impact our freedom?
81.* March 22nd begins Central America Week. Do you know anyone from there? Have you traveled there? How can we help immigrants from Central America?
82.* Tell a little of what you know about the history of St. Patrick's Day, March 17. Ask the person on your right to add to what you know, then the person on your left.
83.* According to legend, St. Patrick led all the snakes out of Ireland. If he was still alive and came to America, what pest should he lead out and why?
84.* Most people wear green on St. Patrick's Day. Name a situation where you wouldn’t do what everyone else was doing.
85.* St. Patrick worked for many years to bring Christianity to Ireland. Have you ever considered being a missionary? Why? Why not?
86.* If you prepared an Easter basket for a person who had almost nothing, what would you put in it?
87.* What would you put in an Easter basket for an obese person?
88.* You have to work on Easter Sunday. How will you celebrate Easter?
89. April 1st is All Fools Day. What is the funniest joke you have ever played on someone or someone played on you? How did they react? How did you react?
90. National TV Turn-Off Week is the third week of April. What three activities could you do with your family if you turned off TV that week? What’s stopping you?
91. Besides honoring Earth Day on April 22nd, what is one thing you or your family do to respect the Earth? What one new thing would you like to add to your Earth-friendly practices?
92. Arbor means tree. What is a way that you and some friends could celebrate Arbor Day in late April this year?
93. May is Physical Fitness month. With half the American population approaching obesity, what are you doing in your life to stay physically fit?
94. Be Kind to Animals Week is in early May. Name one way that farm animals are treated cruelly. What can you do to help change this?
95.* May Day (May 1st) has several different holiday connections. How have you celebrated any of them?
96.* Finish the sentence: Memorial Day is time to....
97.* If you made a coupon to give your mother for Mother's Day, what would it say you are willing to do?
98. June is American River Month, including Clean Rivers Week. What can you do to help keep rivers from being polluted?
99. June is Zoo and Aquarium Month. Zoos are critical in preserving endangered species of animals and plants. How do you feel about animals being put in cages?
100. How is Race Unity Day in early June promoted in your town? If it's not, what ideas can you suggest?
101. Flag Day is June 14th. How do you feel when people display the flag inappropriately or wear the flag as clothing?
102.* What one thing would you like to do differently next year for Father's Day?
103.* You can’t spend any money on a Mother’s or Father's Day gift. Will you still give a gift? What will you give?
104.* Your town suffered budget cuts this year and cannot afford a fireworks display, and fearing the possibility of fires, officials have placed an ordinance against personal fireworks. You get the chance to plan a new 4th of July celebration for the family. What would you plan that you do not ordinarily do? Why?
105.* Why do you think some people around the world have chosen to celebrate Hiroshima Day, August 6th? Ask the group what they know of the story of Sadako and the one thousand paper cranes. Does anyone in the group know how to fold a peace crane?
106. If you could plan a holiday to celebrate peace, what would it be called and what activities would take place?
107.* Why do we celebrate Labor Day? Why is it still important?
108. It’s early September. Grandparents’ Day is in three days. Even if you don’t have a living grandparent, how can you celebrate the day?
109. In some blended families, kids have lots of grandparents. How can Grandparents' Day be a special celebration for everyone?
110. Sept. 21st is World Gratitude Day. To whom do you wish to say Thank You? Explain why.
111.* If you could re-name Columbus' ships, what would you name them? Why?
112.* Why might Columbus Day in mid-October be better known as Indigenous Persons Day?
113. October is Energy Month. What three things can you do to conserve energy in your home, school or business? Briefly explain one form of alternative energy.
114. October is storytelling month. Tell your favorite childhood story briefly.
115. Mid-October is Peace with Justice Week. Why do people often say that peace is not possible without justice? How can you be a peacemaker?
116. World Food Day is in mid-October. What might you, your church or community do to raise awareness of world hunger in addition to a CROP Walk?
117. October 19th is Cleaner Air Day. What can you do to help keep our air from being polluted?
118.* Many people complain that Halloween, October 31st, is becoming a dangerous celebration for children. How would you plan a safe Halloween?
119.* Halloween has religious origins. How does your worship community celebrate Halloween? What creative things might you do to make it a healthy holiday that focuses more on helping the needy and less on candy?
120.* In Mexico at Halloween time, people have picnics at the gravesites of their relatives. How would you feel about having a picnic in a graveyard?
121. November 15th is America Recycles Day. What three products could you use that are made of recycled material?
122. November 20th is Use Less Stuff Day. What three things could you give away and not replace?
123. The Friday after Thanksgiving – the biggest sales day of the year – is Buy Nothing Day. What message does the act of staying out of stores give? Would you consider joining in? What could you do instead on that day? How might you promote Buy Nothing Day?
124.* If you can't go to grandma's for Thanksgiving, where would you go and why?
125.* If you can invite someone from another country for Thanksgiving, where would s/he come from and what do you think s/he would say about your celebration?
126.* What one food or activity did you dislike at last year’s Thanksgiving celebration? Imagine aloud what this year’s celebration would be like if that was gone.
127.* You can invite one person – from history to your Thanksgiving gathering. Who will it be? Why? What would you do or talk about?
128.* On Thanksgiving Day, a storm keeps you and your guests trapped in your home for five days. What would that be like? Would you still be friends afterwards?
129. Name three rights that Americans take for granted. Do you think any of them are at risk?
130. December 1st is AIDS Awareness Day. What would you do if a relative or friend of yours had AIDS?
131.* What suggestions would you give to make Christmas shopping less stressful?
132.* Handmade/homemade gifts and greetings can be very special. Name one thing you could make for an upcoming celebration.
133.* You are the recipient of a special gift – a book of coupons (including extras that allow you to fill in the blank). Do you prefer coupons for backrubs, dinners, hours of cleaning or chores or something else? Why? How would you use the extra coupons?
134. Other than Christmas, what is your favorite holiday and what is a special tradition you would like to pass on to the next generation? Why?
135.* Is there a New Years resolution that you made in the past that you continue to keep? How did you do it?
136.* Epiphany, January 6th, is celebrated at the end of the 12 days of Christmas with the coming of the Magi. Epiphany is called a season of light. What are some symbols of light that are special to you?
137.* Some people give up something during the season of Lent. Others replace a wasteful habit with something helpful. How would you honor this season of repentance? Why?
138.* Red is the color of the Christian Festival of Pentecost, 40 days after Easter. Red stands for the flames of the Holy Spirit that appeared on the heads of the disciples. What activities and/or food would you plan for a Pentecost Party?
139. Super Bowl Sunday seems to have become a national holiday. Name one good and one bad way that this event has changed over the past decades. Have you participated in the SOUPER-Bowl appeal for the hungry?


1. You are walking in a park and find a wallet with $25 inside. What do you do with it?
2. If you could cure one disease, which would you choose and why?
3. Name a favorite song (hymn, rock, folk, etc.). Why does it have special meaning for you?
4. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would that be? Who would you ask to help you?
5. If a monster lived under your bed, what would it look like? How would you become a friend with it?
6. If you used one day of your vacation to help others, where would you volunteer?
7. What household responsibility do you have that you would gladly pass on to someone else?
8. What is one of your favorite movies? What message does it give?
9. What is one of your favorite books? What message does it give?
10. Tell a little known fact about yourself.
11. Tell of a past party that you especially enjoyed.
12. What is your favorite color? What does it tell people about you?
13.* You can receive only one gift for your birthday. What will you ask for?
14. *What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? Tell about memories or a story connected to it.
15.* What would an alien bring to share for Thanksgiving dinner? Would you eat the new food?
16. What is your favorite season — fall, winter, spring, summer? Why?
17.* You want to keep with the tradition of green for St. Patrick's Day. What one green food would you eat?
18.* You want to keep with the tradition of red for Valentine's Day. What one red food would you eat?
19.* Name one red, one white and one blue food that you would eat or serve on July 4th. Together they need to make a reasonably healthy meal.
20.* Tell a short Halloween story or memory that includes pumpkins.






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