Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Treasure Hunt

I think that on Christmas morning, several different categories of people emerge. There’s the “wake up at 2 am and rip through the presents in 2 seconds” people, usually consisting of anyone under 12 years of age. Then there’s the “get up at a reasonable hour, stroll through breakfast, and savor the presents” type, which I tend to embrace. I think there is also one in the middle, the groggy parents who get through the presents quickly, then nap on the couch while the kids play.

But I’m definitely one who likes to savor Christmas morning. We open stockings, eat cinnamon rolls, then take turns opening all the gifts. I enjoy that much more than present opening at a relative’s house on Christmas Eve, which is basically a free for all, where I have to figure out what presents my kids have after digging them out from under all the scattered wrapping paper. I’m always on the lookout to preserve the magic of Christmas morning without pushing my family into impatience.

I recently spoke to author Rhonda Nelson about a really cool Christmas morning tradition that she instituted when her children were young, because she, too, wanted to make Christmas morning a neat memory, rather than just a quick rip through the gifts. One year, after her children were asleep on Christmas Eve, she took all of their presents and hid them in various spots. Then she made up clues and turned Christmas morning into a treasure hunt.

Of course, when the kids got up the next morning, they thought they’d been robbed! But once they realized it was a game, they were really excited and asked for the game year after year. This year, I’m looking forward to trying this out for our family. First, I wonder how long it will take them to realize there aren’t any presents under the tree? (about 2 seconds) Then will they be excited by the prospect of finding their gifts one by one?

So tell me, are you a speeder on Christmas morning or savorer? Have any suggestions for clues or unusual places to hide the gifts?


P.S. The winner from Friday’s Free Book Friday is susanwilson44. Please email Smarty Pants at to collect your prize.


Playground Monitor said...

I rather like to savor but it's just me now, so I can savor away.

I like the idea of the treasure hunt. You could hide something in the oven, the clothes dryer, under their beds (provided there's room and you can sneak in quietly while they are asleep on Christmas Eve), in your car (provided it's not below zero on Christmas and your kids can get into the car easily), behind books on the bookshelf, under a stack of magazines, in the shower stall, in a reusable shopping tote hung from a doorknob somewhere, in the freezer (if there's room and freezing won't hurt the item), at my house (no wait, that's a long walk ::grin::), at the neighbor's house (if they're okay to play along). That's a start. HOpefully our readers will be more creative.

Problem Child said...

We are a savor group. Santa presents first, followed by a quick breakfast, and then we take turns opening the others one by one. It makes Christmas last a little longer.

The idea of a treasure hunt seems fun, but some hard work involved there. Can you hide outside too?

Instigator said...

We're a rip through the presents family. We try to slow things down - at our house and at my parent's on Christmas Eve - but it never seems to happen. We get one or two rounds of everyone opening one present at a time before the kids get excited and rip into a package out of turn. Once that happens the melee isn't far behind. I honestly don't mind by that point though, because it's usually prompted by someone getting so excited by what they've opened. There's just something about watching the shine and excitement in their eyes that's worth the chaos.


Smarty Pants said...

Sounds like a nice combination of Easter and Christmas. The Easter Bunny always hid my gifts along with eggs.

I'm in the savor camp. It kills me to have all that time and effort blitzed through in three seconds. Its hard to keep the Santa gifts from going quickly, but Santa never wrapped the big gift. As a kid, after oohing and ahhing at the big Santa gift, we'd have to do our stockings, which Santa always filled with fruit and such so I'd have some breakfast amongst the melee. Then I could open presents from mommy. I'd have to wait on the other stuff until family came later for Christmas brunch. I recall it being terribly painful.

I think a scavenger hunt is brilliant. Places to hide: mailbox, in the car, under their own beds or in their closets, in kitchen cabinets, the garage, the dishwasher... I'd hesitate on the oven since I'd be a dope and set it to pre-heat for something and ruin it.

Stephanie Jones said...

My family celebrates on Christmas Eve. We always have and probably always will. We always eat dinner first then I guess we are a savor family because we always take turns opening gifts. Instigator, you are right that ring around the room is just a mess so we do it a bit differently.

We have a present opening chair. We take turns sitting in that chair and while sitting there each person unwraps all of his or her gifts. This means we all get to see what everyone gets AND their reaction to the gift. Each year we start with the youngest person there and open in age order with the oldest person, always my daddy, going last. :-)

We have gotten some great pictures over the years of people's faces as they unwrap their presents

Angel said...

Oh, what brilliant ideas!!!! I'm so glad I asked. I'm getting more and more excited. Now I simply have to come up with the clues for the different hiding spots. I'm a writer, I might can come up with something clever. ;)

And a present opening chair? That's a cool idea too!


Smarty Pants said...

Just another idea here - a gift progression. You leave the clue for gift 1 under the tree. The clue for gift two is tied to gift one. Then they make their way through them in the order you choose.

catslady said...

We always did a treasure hunt at easter - plastic eggs filled with various things - some are notes sending you somewhere else or a promise of something. My kids are grown now but that does sound like a fun thing to do. How about the clothes dryer or washing machine for a hideaway place or dishwasher - assuming its empty lol.


Okay, the only time I did a scavenger hunt for a b-day party, I had kids searching my couch cushions finding things I didn't want them to find.

Angel said...

Yikes! I'll have to keep that in mind, Kelly! Maybe a specifically guided procession. :)


Cheryl said...

We are the savor-the-morning-types. I only had one child and he was the absolute center of attention (still is at 23). We usually have Christmas dinner at noon and then we open the presents, starting with the eldest (now that the kids are older). I like Christmas afternoon, sitting on the couch in front of the fire and just talking to the relatives. Relaxing.

alinaduffer said...

I would love to say we are the Savor types, but with three kids ages 10, 6 and 4, it doesnt always happen. We try and keep some sort of control on the craziness, but it can get well, crazy, lol!

Have a Very Merry Christmas Ladies!