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Five-ish years ago, some cousins told us about this Christmas Eve tradition. And life has never been the same.
So, if you’re looking for a crazy-fun-and-totally-epic-holiday-tradition, you’re in the right place.
Rewind. Let me tell you a little bit about Christmas Eve around here, or at least what it’s changed and grown into as the years have passed. We always start with a Christmas devotional and a recounting of the Christmas story. Usually fully (and ridiculously) dressed up. The shepherds are in bath robes and the angel has a slip on her head. It’s getting even more fun now that there are little ones around to be sheep.
All joking aside, it’s this part of the night when my soul feels Christmas all the way through.
Then, while the grandkiddies are still awake, we put them in their Christmas jammies and take them outside to throw peanuts on the roof for the reindeer. Does anyone under four feet tall ever hit the roof? No, but that’s not the point, ha!
The itty-bitty ones go to bed, and then the fun begins.
Basic idea: There are 3 wrapped gifts for each who is playing. These gifts are not serious gifts. They are Q-tips, and hairspray, and Justin Bieber dollar store puzzles. Mom collects them through the year. Then, at Christmas time she goes out and gets two gift cards and a $50 bill. These three things are hidden (separately) in the gifts before they are wrapped. We pass out numbers (there are currently 8 adults, 3 gifts each, so numbers 1-24) on little slips of paper. The numbers determine the order of picking and opening the gifts. So, in the appointed order (from 1 to 24), we go around the room and people start selecting (shaking) and opening (carefully!) the gifts.
Each gift can be stolen 3 times. So, if the person who draws #1 picks up a gift and opens it, and then person who draws #2 wants that gift, he or she can steal it. After the steal, the person who was stolen from goes back to the pile and picks out another gift. Then you start where you left off in the number order. But after a gift has been stolen 3 times, it’s dead. It can’t be taken again.
We also have a rule that you have to show people what you open, but you don’t have to take out and show the whole thing. You can be sneaky…. make people think you have something special so they steal it and you get to try again! (But, that can backfire if you have a masterful gift card/cash hider.)
How to get ready for the game:
1. Start collecting gifts as far in advance as possible. Anything goes. There’s the free stuff my dad gets at conferences, dollar store finds, and mostly a bunch of practical everyday-use kinds of items that are inexpensive but useful.
2. Hide the gift cards (restaurants, movie tickets, etc.) in the items. Mom is getting CRAZY good at this. Often, the person who has the gift card or the cash doesn’t even know it. One year, she made a tiny slit in the Q-tips container and slid the $50 bill in. No one could see it. No one could find it. So: make sure you write down where you’ve hid the goods. With a couple dozen wrapped gifts, it’s easy to forget.
3. Give yourself a good chunk of time to wrap the gifts. We used just over 2 rolls of wrapping paper for this year’s game (so if you want it all to match-it doesn’t have to-be sure to pick up a few rolls). Find a great audio book and enjoy wrapping!
It’s a fantastic Christmas tradition for older kids-you know, once they’re too big or too cool to sit on Santa’s lap or other younger family traditions. It’d also make an awesome Christmas party for an office or group of friends or any other group of human beings who love a good time. We hope you love it!
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