Sunday, December 25, 2011

Glow-in-the-Dark Occupy Wall Street Christmas

The folks down at Occupy Wall Street organized 24 hours of Christmas activities today, and they invited me to participate!  So I brought glow sticks, pingpong balls, and dog bowls (i.e. Christmas Plinko) to Zuccotti Park.

Christmas Plinko is much like the game Plinko on The Price is Right, in that players drop a ball down a "bean-machine" style pegboard, and depending on which slot the ball lands in at the bottom, the player gets a prize.  Aesthetically, Christmas Plinko has a few unique features:  first, its pegs are made out of glow sticks; second, players cover their balls in red, blue, or green glow paint so that the balls leave a color trail as they descend;

and third, all the slots at the bottom are dog bowls.

(the dog bowls did not normally have glow sticks in them; we took this picture when we were cleaning up)

The most unique feature of Christmas Plinko, though, is that instead of cash, the prizes are suggested random acts of kindness (and everyone gets a prize).  In its inaugural run, the Christmas Plinko prizes were "Compliment a Stranger," "Offer to Help a Stranger," "Ask a Stranger to Share a Joy and/or Sorrow," and "Point out Something Amazing to a Stranger."  

Theologically, the concept came from Jesus' birth in a manger (a feeding trough for animals).  Just as Christmas celebrates finding and sharing love and light in an animal's food dish, so too Christmas Plinko invites players to find and share the love and light that they find in an animal's food dish.  Plus, it turns a game about getting money into a game about sharing love, which seemed appropriate for both Occupy Wall Street and Christmas.
 People really seemed to enjoy playing, and it was fun to see the random acts of kindness carried out and the relationships which resulted.  My favorite was a woman who won "Offer to Help a Stranger" and ended up giving an extra pair of socks to a gentleman with cold feet.
The only let down?  It turns out Zuccotti Park is really well lit (you can see from the pictures that there are both Christmas lights on the trees and lights built into the brick ground). This is great for the protesters, but problematic for the glow paint.  The balls did not create a very impressive painting as they bounced down the board.  Still, people had fun playing the game and being nice to each other, and for me, that made a very merry Christmas.


Annabelle said...

I love it! Keep up the great and creative work.

May the light of Christ continue to illumine this and every day.


Pam Werrell said...

Very Cool!

Merry Christmas Ben


Rebecca Swee said...

Wonderful idea! A great way to bring to 'light' the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Merry Christmas, Ben.

Steve Holm said...

I like the dogdish manger connection...and love does come down at Christmas....good thinking, Ben!