A long-held Christmas tradition in my family is the Christmas Present Quest. Others may call it a scavenger hunt, but that does not encapsulate the pure awesomeness and epicness of the event.
The Quests are planned in clandestine meetings, with much giggling and geekery involved. Said meetings are most often in the kitchen and while the person in question is at school or work. If the person is home, they are abruptly sent to another part of the house so schemes and plans can be completed.
Planning begins with the Gift. The Gift is usually some awesome, slightly more expensive item we know the person will be excited about. Often, it is a series of gifts that make up a set. Sometimes, the gift is something the person knows they are getting, and so we build suspense in order to create excitement.
For example, I bought my siblings laser a laser tag set one year, and made matching duct tape holsters. Then, I sent them on an espionage mission that involved shooting each other. Another year, my sister Katherine wanted a digital camera. Through some negotiating and sales we were able to get a nice camera for a good price. However, one night Katherine came over and Mom asked her to make a Christmas list. The conversation went something like this:
Mom: You haven’t made a Christmas list.
Katherine: I told you. I want a digital camera. I don’t think you can afford anything else.
Mom: But, what else would you want for Christmas?
Katherine: Digital cameras are expensive. Are you sure?
Mom: I know you want a digital camera. What else do you want for Christmas?
After this conversation went in circles for about fifteen minutes, Mom finally informed Katherine she was getting a digital camera, and needed to make a Christmas list. (I should note Katherine is a fantastic person, and this version of the conversation does not do justice to her.)
In return for revealing the big surprise, we sent Katherine on a fabulous and fashionable quest for the camera. Each piece (case, battery pack, charger) was wrapped individually and hidden. Then, during the planning period of the quest, Katherine also left a fabulous leather jacket at our parents house. After a week, she didn’t ask for it, so we all took pictures with the jacket and hid it along with the rest of the presents. The pictures, of course, were taken with her new camera. We also put a small SD card in it and took enough pictures to fill it. The pictures were used as part of the clues to find the present.
Just to prove she wasn’t offended, here’s Katherine when she got the jacket for the previous Christmas.
Due to the large volume of people in my family, we sometimes over-do quests. The first three are exciting, and everyone plays along. The last six end with an ‘are we done yet’ quality. They’re still enjoyable, but we’re trying to work on cutting down on our creative ridiculousness.
As a sample, here’s one I made for my brother last year as he got a large Lego set. I used masking tape to attach the last piece to the ceiling upstairs.
You are in the midst of a nightmare: You have an ultimately awesome LEGO set, but there are no LEGOS with it. You must find a way to kick yourself through the levels of your subconscious in order to return to reality with real LEGOS to build.
You must begin in The Tumbler to reach the next level.
You’ve been twisted around and are unable to recognize up and down. You don’t even remember your name. The top is spinning and reality unclear. All you are now is a Lego seeker. You must seek behind tools that control alternate realities to come out alive.
Having gotten a life, you now are moving towards the upper layers. Go as high as you can physically go and the next package will guide you to the next layer.
Up is now down and down is up. Seek the door in the wall to reorient yourself and kick yourself back to reality.
The pieces are all together. Only by returning to reality can you solve the true puzzle: Is the statue mini-figure as cool as the gladiator mini-figure?
Congratulations. This is the reality….
Or is it?
Perhaps reality is that you’re a LEGO mini-figure.
What are some of your family’s traditions for Christmas? Is your Christmas as epic as mine? How do you open presents?
Side Note: This week is Finals week at the university I work at, so I might be off the web awhile. Finals week is always epic for my department.