Christmas Scavenger Hunt
You will be hard pressed to find someone that does not know what Christmas is. Celebrated on December 25th, this holiday is popular with Christians and non-Christians alike. You do not have to be a Christian to exchange gifts under the tree, nor do you have to have any religion at all. So if you do not opt into that kind of activity then do not feel as though you cannot enjoy the festivities. The holiday season is all inclusive and you can celebrate in a wide range of unique ways.
For those who wish to go away from tradition for whatever reason, it might be worth staging a Christmas scavenger hunt with clues. For a family with children this idea can be especially entertaining, as the usual formula of waking up, gathering together, and opening your gifts can be disrupted in interesting and fun ways.
Present Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are often great with a theme, and if you are going with the Christmas theme then why not take it a step further and center it around Santa Claus and the presents he delivered? This is a strategy best employed when you still have young children that believe in good ol' Saint Nick. If your kids are too old to hold onto that belief then you can still use this tactic, but it will have a smaller dose of holiday magic, as they will know it is just a game. And if you have kids that vary in age so that some have made the realization and others have not, consider prepping the older children first to assure that they will go along with the game for their younger siblings. No one wants a game like that ruined on Christmas morning!
When using this method to create a kids scavenger hunt, you're going to start by putting your children to bed like you would on any other Christmas eve. Then take the presents that you have purchased for them and hide them around the house. While doing so keep a list of where you hide all of the presents. It can be an internal list or a physical pen and paper list, but with strictly mental lists you run the risk of forgetting the exact locations of smaller presents. And it would be an awful thing to lose your child's gift like that. So be careful!
Then, once the gifts are hidden, you can create a note that explains that “Santa” has hidden all of this year's presents around your home. If you do not have a tree you could add a comic element to it and have the note explain that Santa could not find the tree and did not know what else to do. This will add a fun level of humanity to the familiar myth that your children are already well acquainted with.
In the morning pretend to be shocked at the strange turn of events and gently guide your children through the process of finding their presents. You can prepare clues if you'd like, but you may not need them, especially when dealing with colorful wrapping paper. If a present is proving especially hard to find you may simply “find” it for them to wrap things up more quickly.
Finally, when all of the presents have been located, have your children gather together and open everything as a family. The temptation to rip into the packaging the second they find each gift will be high, but try to insist on waiting until they can do it as a group. This will make it more of a shared experience between siblings.
The Twelve Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts do not have to happen all at once. You can spread them out over several days. Or, in this case, twelve days. The idea here is that you will recreate the classic song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” via a scavenger hunt that will be expanded each day. The big benefit here is that it can start small and then expand.
You don't need to be literal when you do this. Here is a hypothetical outline of what a “Twelve Days” scavenger hunt might include:
Day 1: You can hide a plastic pear. The clue could be related to a partridge or a tree somehow, but don't be too overt.
Day 2: You can hide some turtle shaped chocolates. These can be bought in packs of two as it is. The clue could reference a certain brand of chocolates that has its namesake mentioned in the song.
Day 3: You can hide three eggs. You might want to use plastic eggs instead of real ones, just in case an egg gets lost.
And so on and so forth. You should not tell the children that you are emulating the carol at first. Instead, let them try to guess the theme as the days go on. Or, alternatively, you can tell them the theme and try to make the most abstract interpretation possible when selecting what objects to hide, so long as you do not make things too difficult on the youngest of your children.
It is all up to you and the more creative you get the better. You could even go with a secondary over arching theme, such as food or toys. You know your children better than anyone, so try and select what they'll like. Think of it – and present it as – part of their Christmas or holiday gifts.
Regardless of implementation, any form of Christmas scavenger hunt, if done right, will leave lingering memories behind for years to come. Maybe you will start your very own tradition that your children will pass on to the coming generations, or maybe the morning of the Christmas scavenger hunt will simply remain a heart warming tale that they recount throughout the rest of their life. Whatever the case may be, your children will later come to appreciate the effort as they realize that you were the true Santa leaving them their childhood gifts.