By Ronan Dolan ‘20

Every family has a holiday tradition, whether it’s a Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving or an Easter Egg hunt on Easter.

However, when it comes to my family, the annual tradition is an intense game to get the best present.

The rules of the game are similar to how most other families play an average White Elephant game.

First, every participant must bring a secret present that is under a $75 limit and will put that present into a pile. Then, all players must choose a number from a hat to determine the order of when each person chooses a present from the pile.

Once an order is decided, the first player must pick a present from the pile. However, the next rule is where the game starts to get heartless and cutthroat.

The next player gets the choice to either pick another present or steal a present from another player. Each present can be stolen up to three times.

The rule of stealing can result in the destruction of family relationships, the breaking of many hearts and betrayals so unexpected, a game of Poppi Swap could be a soap opera on CBS.

My family has been doing the Poppi Swap in honor of my grandfather, George “Poppi” Barry, since his death in 2010.

The contestants of the game include the families of the daughters of Poppi, including Cathleen Barry, Susan Murray, Lisa Cahill, and my mother, Chrissa Dolan.

It was not until recently that the kids were allowed to join into the game, but the inclusion of the children has created a new terror that has propelled the game into new heights of competition.

With the inclusion of the children into the game, came the inclusion of a few outsiders as well. The boyfriends and girlfriends of many of the cousins were introduced to the merciless game, quickly proving if they were worthy additions to the family.

My father, Brendan Dolan said, “The inclusion of the children into the game has lead to my realization of just how old I was getting when one of the presents was a bottle of champagne and my niece decided to steal it.”

In past years, the presents have varied greatly. Some highlights include a Roomba, a FitBit, plenty of Groupon coupons, the softest blanket on the planet and the simple but sought after gift of $75.

Chrissa Dolan said, “I recall my favorite present being a pressurized whipped cream maker that I stole for myself.”

This year, the stakes are high and the competition is looking to be a heated battle between the very competitive Barry family.