The Best One of the Year

I’ve got a post brewing about race and fear and monsters but with all the lights and glimmer, it just doesn’t seem appropriate right now.  It’s almost Christmas, after all and I’m glowing nostalgic!

There was one thing I loved to do when my children were young and it made for very special holiday memories in our home! I’ve always had rather small holiday celebrations because I come from a fairly small family. For me as a child, Christmas got pretty boring once the presents were opened because the only thing left to look forward to was dinner. I wanted my children to have a day that was a bit more full than that so, I decided to have a scavenger hunt for them. I can’t remember how young they were when the hunts began, but they pretty much lasted as long as they still lived at home. I would hide my children’s presents and they would use a series of clues to find them.

The first clue would always be in their stocking. I remember one year, one of my son’s first clues was hidden in a word search. He had to do the search and use the leftover letters to get his clue. I’ve used the Internet to write clues in Spanish. The clues were usually written in couplets, but sometimes the were simply jokes: What circles Uranus in search of Klingons/cling ons? (they had to look in the toilet paper) They were led to passages in books, songs in CDs, inside the clothes dryer, the u-joint under the kitchen sink and tree branches (yes, outside in the snow). They’d have to go through five, six or seven clues (depending upon their age) until they finally were led to the hiding place for their gifts.

As they aged, I got more creative. I would give them a list of friends and they’d have to figure out who to call to get their clue. As they aged, they outsmarted me. They simply went through the list of last numbers dialed on the phone and knew who had the clue! Once I had them take gifts to their dad’s house and told them they were for their grandparents. Yep. They’d taken their own presents to their dad’s house and eventually realized it from the clues.

I loved those scavenger hunts. I do have a few of the clues that I’ve saved somewhere but I don’t remember most of them as they were different every year. What I do remember is the way my children worked together and helped each other solve their puzzles. They may have asked me for hints, but they never gave up and never outright asked for answers. O, one got mad and said ‘ no more’.  She knew where the present was, but couldn’t find it. I’d hidden it in her own messy, messy bedroom! But, they remember these quests. While they remember the detailed work I did, I remember wanting to do it for them and the smart way they hunted. It wasn’t about the gifts at the end, no not at all.

Most in the US are preparing for Christmas time and the beauty of Christmas is that you can buy into the celebration with having to subscribe to the religious aspect of it. Santa, the tree, the parties and the food can pretty much be enjoyed by any one regardless of religious tradition and I think in getting caught up in the lights and songs, regardless which festival of light we participate in, we find a hope in the middle of this cold, cold time of year when the days end way too soon and everything in nature looks so barren and void of life.  Just for now, just for this time we want to be happy and we want others to be happy, too! Sometimes we have to search a little harder to find the joy, but it’s there in the process.

Wishing you peace, love and joy!

That title, ‘best one of the year’? I can’t get that daggone song out of my head! I wonder how well I could put together a cross country scavenger hunt?

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3 thoughts on “The Best One of the Year

  1. What wonderful games you’ve created! I do the same for my daughter at Easter, but I am definitely less creative than you are. Have a wonderful Christmas; I love the lights and the songs as well!

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