Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Best Christmas Morning Ever-Scavenger Hunt

I know I'm a little late on this post, but I figure, just like I needed, you will need a year to ponder it.

Last year, we decided to decrease the number of presents the kids received from Santa.  We went with the traditional three.  If three gifts were good enough for Jesus, then it should be good enough for us.  I was so used to the status quo, that the change really had me second guessing the whole idea.  Well, to my surprise, it went great!  We didn't put any restrictions on gifts received from grandparents that year, so of course (God love them), the children had more than any child needs come the end of Christmas.

A mere four months later, during one of my routine fits about children's rooms looking like Toys R Us lost it's lunch on their bedroom floors, I offered bags to fill with donations from their disaster recovery zones.  It was a momentary lapse of reasoning I had just seconds before my head would have normally started spinning and flames would have come flying from my mouth.  I don't know why I don't stop and allow rational behavior like that more often, because it always seems to work!  The kids filled four garbage bags full of treasure for Goodwill.  The pitiful part...much of the treasure was accumulated just four months prior for Christmas.  It was "less to clean up", they said.  That's when it really hit me...even three presents was too much!!  In the coming months as the new toys broke, ran out of batteries or just became boring, my theory was solidified.

So, this year we did something outrageous...one gift from Santa and one from each grandparent.  It took me a good week to get the guts up to sit the kids down and inform them of this new movement in the household.  To my surprise again, they were fine with it..."hmmm, weird," I thought.

So, how could I make this one gift thing not be the center of our Christmas morning.  I so desperately wanted the focus to be off the gifts and on Jesus.  Looking to my husband for some direction, another thing I need to do more often (I am way too much of a control freak sometimes), paid off big time.  He suggested a scavenger hunt....genius (he loves when I say that)!!

So, Christmas morning, one big box sat under the tree.  The kids were perplexed.  We made our coffee, prayed and opened the box.

  "What!?!?!  A flashlight???", the looks on their faces was priceless. 

Under the flashlight, was a clue.  Guided by the star shining from the flashlight and their bibles, the kids made like the Magi and took off on a hunt.  Each clue included bible verses that helped them find the next clue.

 One clue led to another...

to the neighborhood pond...

  the front yard, the neighbor's yard...

They even found hairy veggies.  It was pretty funny watching them try to figure out which of the front yard veggies had hair.  It took them a few to find our Veggie Tales nativity in the front yard.

And, finally, back to the tree where three gifts "magically" appeared while we were off hunting.

The verdict was in..."This is the BEST Christmas ever!", they all agreed.  Well...my hypothesis was correct.  They didn't need a pile of gifts to make them happy...just a little family time enjoyed with our Savior.  Thank you Lord for sending your son to save us from ourselves!!! John 3:16

I've been watching the short movies on this website, and have really enjoyed them.  This one really hit home with me and fit in with a huge part of the reason we changed our Christmas morning this year. We've been making changes in our home based on these same theories over the past few years.  It's fun to see all the thoughts in a short film that even a preteen will understand.  Watch this one and check out their website too www.storyofstuff.org




  1. I have to admit I thought you were a little nuts going to one gift, but that is such an awesome story!!! It sounds like a perfect morning :)

  2. Sounds amazing Danielle! I am totally going to have to steal that idea next year!

  3. Thanks ladies! We had a blast...will be doing it again next year for sure!!

  4. Great job, Danielle! :) Surprises always work for kids. And even if they have to do some searching before getting the prizes, I’m sure they did enjoy it. It was just like hide-and-seek with a zest for them. I can see how your kids worked as a team. For parents, it must’ve been overwhelming to watch. :D