You knew there had to be rules, right? Well, here they are:
The card has 16 squares, each of which is associated with two holidays; i.e., 32 holidays total.
Each holiday is associated with one reading task and one other task. So, there are 4 ways to complete each square – two reads and two other tasks.
Completing any one of these four tasks/reads will be enough to complete a square.
That means you’ll have completed your entire card once you have completed one task per square – 16 tasks total. It does not matter which of the four tasks/reads you pick for each square.
That being said, there are a number of alternative and bonus options, designed to give you even more ways to complete your squares (and earn extra points, if you’re so inclined):
Alternative / Substitute Options
The Light Joker:
Light is an important element in virtually all of the holidays celebrated in November and, even more so, in December around the world and throughout the ages. Therefore, you may replace any of the four specific tasks associated with any of the card’s 16 squares by:
Reading a book that has the words “light”, “candle”, “lamp”, “sun” or “fire” in its title or features any of these five things on its cover
and / or
Doing any one of the following things:
Make your own Kaleidoscope: See, e,g,, https://buggyandbuddy.com/science-for-kids-how-to-make-a-kaleidoscope/ for instructions.
Make shadow puppets or a silhouette and take a picture of them for us.
Make a lantern and post a photo of it.
Create a scene with fairy lights and take a picture for us (or if you already have fairy lights somewhere, post a pic for us to ogle.)
You can only use the Light Joker two times in total across the entire card, once in each of the options, as listed above (i.e., you can use the “book” option once and the “task” option once).
The Holiday Book Joker:
You can replace any task (both book tasks and any other tasks) associated with the 32 featured holidays by reading a book that is set wholly or partly on that particular holiday.
You can do this:
• for only for one holiday per square
• and only a maximum of five times total.
I.e., for example, you can read 5 books, one of each set, respectively, on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving and Guy Fawkes Night, but not two books set on Christmas and also not one book set on Hogswatch, one on Christmas, and up to three books set on any of the other holidays.)
Books and holidays must match up.
i.e., you can replace any of the Christmas tasks by reading a book set on Christmas, but not by reading a book set on Thanksgiving (and vice versa).
And when we say “holiday”, we do mean the actual holiday – not the corresponding calendar date. That’s less of an issue with regard to holidays that use the Gregorian (Western) calendar, but a number of holidays follow other calendar systems, e.g., the lunar calendar.
Example: books for Hanukkah should be set at least partly on the actual Jewish holiday – not on December 12-20 (this year’s Hanukkah dates according to the Gregorian calendar) or on any other date that just happens to have coincided with Hanukkah at some point in history.
Light Joker and Holiday Book Joker
If you complete a task for the Light Joker or the Holiday Book Joker in addition to the specific tasks associated with the card’s 16 squares (not instead of some of those square-specific tasks), this will earn you bonus points.
You can use either or both of these Jokers as bonus options for each square that already has been completed otherwise, i.e., that has been completed either by finishing one of the four specific tasks (reading and other tasks) associated with that square or by using a Joker as a substitution.
E.g. for the Kwanzaa / New Year’s Eve square, once you have
- either read a book set in Africa or written by an African or African American author,
- or posted a black, red and green shelfie / book arrangement photo,
- or completed either the book or a task associated with New Year’s Eve,
- or substituted in either of the two Light Joker options (book / task),
you can then use the other Light Joker option, or use the Holiday Book Joker option to read a book set on Kwanzaa or New Year’s Eve and earn bonus points. (Or if you’ve substituted in the Holiday Book Joker for the four specific Kwanzaa / New Year’s Eve books and tasks, you can use either or both of the Light Joker options for bonus points.)
However, each use of these joker options counts towards their maximum total allowed usage. For these purposes, it doesn’t matter whether you use the Joker options as substitutes for the regular square-specific tasks or as bonus options: Used is used, period.
I.e., if for example you’ve already used the “reading” option of the Light Joker as a substitute for the books / other tasks for one specific square, you only have the “task” option of the Light Joker left, which you can then use either as a bonus option – on the same or any other square – or as a substitute option on yet another square.
Similarly, if you’ve already used one or more holiday reads as substitutes for the regular square-specific books and other tasks, those holiday books count toward your total of five permitted extra holiday books, and the amount of holiday reads you can still use for bonus purposes shrinks by the corresponding number.
Completing Additional Square-Specific Tasks
You can also earn bonus points by completing one or more additional tasks associated with a given square.
E.g., on the Kwanzaa / New Year’s Eve square if you’ve already posted a predominantly black-red-green shelfie / book arrangement photo you’ll earn bonus points if you then proceed to read a book set in Africa or by an African or African American author, or complete either of the New Year’s Eve books / other tasks (… or vice versa, in whatever order).
If you want to, you can (of course) go ahead and complete all four reading tasks and other tasks associated with a square. (Who are we to stop you?)
You can also combine the extra square-specific tasks bonus option with the Light Joker and / or the Holiday Reads Joker, to the extent you haven’t already used those up otherwise.
But to restate – bonus options are strictly voluntary: You don’t have to do them at all, and doing them on one square, in whichever way, does not require you to do them on any of the other squares as well.
Surprise, Surprise …
There are a few options to earn further bonus points that we’re still holding up our sleeves – those will be revealed from time to time, as the game processes.
Those additional bonus options will be subject to the same basic rules as the other bonus options; they are strictly bonus tasks, however – you cannot use them as a substitute for any “regular” book or other task associated with a given square.
The Points System – and: Who Wins?
Points are awarded based on the reading/tasks you complete. Each square has 2 reading themes and 2 tasks, so each square is worth 4 points maximum. 1 point for each book or task completed.
The Holiday Book Joker card is worth 1 point per use, with a maximum value of 5 points.
The Light Joker card is worth 1 point per use as well, with a maximum value of 2 points.
This allows for a maximum point accumulation of 71 points per card completed.
Then there are the bonus options. There are two types: the ones listed under the tasks as Bonus task, each of which are worth 1 point, unless otherwise specified; the second type of Bonus task is the one that falls under the Surprise, Surprise Joker card, and those will be posted randomly throughout the game. Points for those will be revealed for those tasks as they are released.
So what does all of this get you?
Bragging rights!! And, hopefully, a lot of fun while participating in the game.
BUT… at the end of December your two hosts will add up all the points awarded during the game to all of the participants and, using a ratio of $1 for every 10 points earned, match that, up to a maximum amount of $300.
This is the amount we will donate to the following two international book charities, operating in places where books are less plentiful and easy to come by as they are for most of us:
Sorry - due to conflicting schedules, Themis and I haven’t chosen our charities quite yet - there are so many good ones! But we’ll have this updated in the next 24 hours and I’ll do a separate announcement as well to make sure everyone knows which charities they’re helping by having fun and reading for the holidays!
This is, btw, something we would both have done anyway; you’re just helping us make the gift a great deal more fun!