1. Candy Land, Hasbro, 3 and up, 2–4 players
Don’t be concerned about cavities—Candy Land involves no actual sweets. But you know that, because you grew up playing this pink favorite (and were reminded of its bizarre virtues thanks to Katy Perry’s “California Girls”). The rules are simple, so anyone in the fam can join in: Players pull cards or spin a spinner, depending on the version, and match colors to travel along Candy Land’s rainbow path toward King Kandy’s Castle, the winning destination. Treats are encountered along the way that move players forward or backward to delicious landmarks straight from your six-year-old imagination, like the Peppermint Forest and Ice Cream Slopes. The game was invented by schoolteacher and game designer Eleanor Abbott while she was recovering from polio. So, if you’re a little sniffly over the holidays, this might be just the trick.Difficulty: Unlike life, there is no strategy involved: As long as players can differentiate the colors along the path, they can play. Make the experience extra sweet and provide actual IRL candy to your fellow players.
Set aside: 15 minutes