My family’s Christmas Eve tradition - Treasure Hunt
I believe the first time was when I was 7. My dad designed a safari scavenger hunt. My brother and I got our toy guns, as he walked us through an imaginative story through our backyard, seeing different animals and shooting off lions. He had hidden clues that we had to solve to find the next clue. The final clue was a treasure map which led to some gifts and candy. We were allowed to open one present each on Christmas Eve night, instead of waiting to open all of them Christmas morning.
It was so fun, it caught on as a yearly occurrence. I wanted to get in on the action, so I started writing my own clues and drawing treasure maps for my brother. When he got older, he did the same for me. We would find and open gifts from each other on Christmas Eve.
My treasure hunts evolved each year, both technologically as well as their puzzles. One of the final clues would need something from all previously found clues, like an attached number, or the first letter each sentence. I would use QR codes for some clues. They would be linked to webpages that I coded where the correct answer had to be input to get the next clue. Some of the clues were viewed in AR: by looking at a paper with a special image through the phone camera, a 3D virtual image popped up on top of it. I designed treasure maps in photoshop, and one time modeled our house in 3D using Blender, with a red X marking the treasure spot.
The year I moved to Japan broke the tradition, as we were no longer together. But this year, I decided to do it again. I had a big gift to give my family: a virtual reality headset. I did the clues, coded a little something on my website, which made it so all 3 of my family members had to work together to solve the clues. This was the first time doing it in a 3-story house, which made more fun making them go up and down the stairs chasing after the clues. The treasure came in 2 parts: the headset itself, and then the accessories. The first to be found was the box of accessories, and made it out like they would have to buy the VR headset on their own. But going to the link led to a bonus map to the true treasure.
Examples of clues I wrote this year (click on triangle to reveal answer):
Look at me and I'll show you. Behind me is your next clue.
Give me energy and keep me supplied. I'll create a constant winter inside.
I'm a box of cardboard. On my top there's a slot. Putting stuff in is hard. What's it used for? It's not.
(It’s snot.) Tissue box
I write but without a pen. I draw but not on a pad. I always want some color, For without, my work is bad.
People garbed come around once a year. You hand me out to prevent more fear.
Halloween candy in the pantry (I ran this treasure hunt in October, because I wanted to give them the VR headset sooner without waiting all the way to Christmas)