Christmas has so much potential for creativity! This year, my brother and sister whipped out a gloriously creative Capo family tradition that goes way, way back: Christmas morning Scavenger Hunts!
Scavenger hunts for gifts serve a practical purpose: sometimes the size or shape of gifts, however well wrapped, will ruin the mystery. Imagine seeing the tree on Christmas morning: Oh, what could that bicycle-shaped thing be? A Bowling Ball? (This is a joke my Dad would make. In fact, each year he pretend-guesses something is a bowling ball. This year my siblings even put bets on what it would be). Our family has always been big on the anticipation and surprise in our gift giving, so the scavenger hunts have proven very useful over the years.
Our mother was the original master of this creative art. The gist of it was that she would hide an inconveniently-shaped present elsewhere in the house along with a series of goofy, often rhyming clues that led us this way and that until we finally arrived at our surprise. Over the years, my siblings and I have taken this art form to new heights. I once sent my sister on a scav hunt that involved kayaking across a small bay in the Hudson River. My brother once sent a friend of his on a Shawshank Redemption-themed scavenger hunt that ended with a box buried at the foot of a lone tree in the middle of a field. My masterpiece was a birthday scav hunt for Josh in downtown Chicago that involved his coworker, a florist, a barista, a friend dressed like a spy, Civil War history, Eddie Izzard jokes, a train ride, and fried chicken on a roof.
This year, my brother surprised us with a new TV. Because he knew I would know what it was as soon as it came through the door he didn’t bring it in. Instead, he and my sister concocted a much better reveal. As our gift-giving drew to a close, they handed me an envelope. Inside, I found this:
Looks like someone’s KRAMPING your style…
If you wish to have the Krampus curse reversed?
I’ll need a certain potion first:
The cow as white as Christmas,
The coat as red as poinsettias,
The hair as brown as chestnuts.
The sandal as pure as gold.
Bring me these before the chime of midnight,
and you shall have, I guarantee,
a present as perfect as present can be!
Ok, let me break this down for you:
A) This Christmas day, the movie version of Into the Woods hit theaters. My sister and I know every word of that musical, so she knew I would recognize the theme right away. These scav hunt instructions mirror lines from the play where the main characters are forced to find ingredients of a potion that will reverse a witch’s curse.
B) Krampus, apparently, is the evil counterpart to Santa Clause in German tradition. This devil-like creature punishes children who have misbehaved. (Apparently German children really do have to watch out!) My siblings and I only learned of Krampus this year, hence the reference.
C) The instructions indicate that there are four clues to find:
1) The Cow as White as Christmas. I didn’t get this one right away. Not until someone said, “Grab the Cow,” did I know to look under the milk jug. This referenced a ridiculous line Bing Crosby speaks in the movie White Christmas where instead of saying, “Bring the milk,” like a normal person, he says “Grab the Cow,” because he’s Bing frickin’ Crosby. (See video at 1:00)
2) The coat as Red as poinsettias. Easy. My sister’s coat pocket.
4) The sandal as pure as gold. Apparently, the nice conversation I had with my brother in the kitchen was just a ruse to distract me while my sister excavated my closet.
Each of these clues yielded different parts of the final clue:
1) Into the Woods…
2) We have to see…
3) What’s waiting in…
4) Your CR-V!
Sure enough, there was the enormous box in the back of my car. My dad was especially proud because apparently this whole thing took my siblings 20 minutes. My family rocks!