Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Christmas Shenanigans

Yes, I realize it's been nearly 8 weeks since Christmas but I'm still playing catch up* so this is our post-Christmas wrap up.

I should start off by explaining exactly how excited we get about Christmas. I love it. It's my favorite holiday. Every year I make Harry drag out all our tree decorations (for our fake tree - we go back and forth every year about having a real tree and I always lose. Always. Yes, feel sorry for me), including our super awesome amazing bubble lights. Don't know what bubble lights are? They're only the best kinds of lights EVER. They are candle-shaped lights filled with a colorful liquid that starts to bubble when they are turned on. They are pure magic. Those lights are in addition to our regular lights, which will blink and change colors. And then we have green & silver beads that go all over the tree. Then we add our ornaments over that. We always put our Godzilla and sumo wrestler (yes, you read that right. We are THAT awesome) ornaments in prime viewing spots, for obvious reasons. And on the very top is Santa, dressed all old timey and velvety. Basically, it's the best tree ever.
However, every year after Thanksgiving Harry starts involuntarily twitching. The closer it progresses to Tree Decorating Day the more he twitches. His obssession with symetry means that it pretty much takes all day for him the decorate the tree (what, you thought I did it? Do you not know me at all by now??), because not only do the regular lights have to be perfectly aligned, the bubble lights also need to be placed exactly 90 degrees on each tree branch for optimal bubbling capacity. And the beads "have to" be evenly spaced between branches. Othwerwise apparently the world as we know it will end. So, as you can imagine, it's a long process.
Anyway, last Christmas we decided that we should make a fun game for the kids Christmas morning. We decided to make a scavenger hunt for their gifts. So we hid all their presents and Harry made different puzzles (cross words, word finds, sudoku, etc.) for them to solve in order to get their clue and then find their gifts. Hilarity ensued and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. The kids seemed to have fun too (although at one point Katie did say "Why do I have to do Math on Christmas??") and it was another successful Christmas.
This year we figured why not do it again? Only this time we'll make it even MORE challenging, because what kid doesn't want to wake up Christmas morning and spend it searching all over the house for their presents? See what great parents we are? So Harry really kicked up and went all out. He made "spy kits" for the kids and inside they had all kinds of devices (also hand made) that would help in their "mission" to "find" Christmas. It came complete with mission (if they chose to accept it) instructions, as well as background information on the "bad" guy - the notorious Global Reindeer Intimidators and Notable Christmas Haters (G.R.I.N.C.H) and things like a Caesars cipher, QR codes, a cryptex and more! He packed it all inside a box he customized specifically to fit all the decoders and even included a "handy dandy notebook" complete with pen & pencil set. It was pretty amazing.

The most sinister puzzle of them all. A Paper-Craft Cryptex!
(There were no hints on the code required to open it)
Christmas morning Harry and I woke up extra early (okay, I woke up extra early and promptly woke Harry) and waited patiently (meaning I didn't bang on their doors yelling "It's CHRISTMAS! WAKE UP!!" like I did the year before) for the kids to wake up so they could walk into our family room to see nothing but one simple box underneath the Christmas tree. We thought we were being so clever. They'd be so disappointed! They'd wonder what happened! What a funny joke when they opened up the box to discover they'd have to search for their gifts! That's what I had imagined, at any rate.
In reality, they walked into the family room, saw their box, looked at each other and then with a sigh said, "Oh. We're doing this again?" But once they opened up their spy kit, they were laughing and having fun trying to decipher all the codes and run around the house looking for their gifts. It took the better part of two hours. And when it was over, they had a great time. Katie even said it was the best Christmas ever!
You should also know that our kids, being a product of us, are into this kind of twisted holiday celebration. We don't necessarily recommend this "Let's Have Fun AND Learn!" holiday approach for everyone's kids. It has the high liklihood of going terribly wrong and then you end up with nothing but crying and future therapy bills. Also, "G.R.I.N.C.H." is ours. If you use it without our permission we will find you and do unpleasant things to you. Consider yourselves warned.
...unless, of course, a little cash were to be slipped our way...
I can't wait until next year. We're already plotting bigger & better ways to slowly drive our children crazy on Christmas morning. Yes, we are expecting our Parents of the Year award any day now.

Harry's Code #1:
A gift is only as good as the amount of work you put into it...both as the giver and the reciever.

*As of this post, our tree is still up. Partly due to the incredible chore it is to remove all the crap off the tree and store it and partly because I would seriously keep the tree up all year long if I didn't think it would burn out my precious bubble lights. Recently Katie turned the tree on again in a sutble attempt to remind us to put the tree away but all it did was make me smile and stare at the tree for the better part of an hour admiring its beauty. Maybe by the time Easter rolls around we'll have it put away. Either that or it will just become the Easter Tree. Ooooh I just got a great idea...

1 comment:

  1. Copyright this NOW, Harry Brawls! Best idea ever!
    Now I have to pull this up on my computer to use my phone's AT coffee reader. Damn you, Puzzle Man! LOL