Looking for a creative way to gift an experience or a present that’s tricky to wrap? This printable Christmas gift treasure hunt is the perfect solution. Simply print the clues, hide them around the house, and let your kids follow the trail to a surprise at the end!
Have you ever found the perfect present, but you know there is no way it’s going to fit under the tree? Maybe it’s a basketball hoop, or a play kitchen, or a puppy!
Or maybe the gift is an experience, like a family vacation, and you’re looking for a way to build up excitement and really make it a BIG deal!
My go-to solution in these situations is to create a treasure hunt!
Why a Christmas gift treasure hunt?
I mean, what child doesn’t love a good treasure hunt? It’s a great way to build anticipation, draw out the fun, and make the gift giving process even more exciting.
During the notorious pandemic year, I was looking for a way to make my son’s birthday extra special. We couldn’t go out; most public places were still closed during May of 2020. We couldn’t have a birthday party, or do a lot of the things that my son loves.
In an effort to add a little more magic to his day, I created a simple treasure hunt. I wrote out a handful of rhyming clues that led him all over our house and ultimately ended with him finding his birthday present hiding in the bathtub!
He LOVED it! It was a simple, inexpensive thing that made him feel so loved. In fact, I didn’t realize how much it meant to him until a couple months later when he insisted that we create one for his younger brother’s birthday, too!
Since then, at my kids’ request, I’ve used this kind of treasure hunt to add a little extra excitement and fun to quite a few birthday and Christmas celebrations. Last Christmas, we gave our kids a trip to Disney World, and you better believe I made them go on a treasure hunt to find out the big news!
There’s something special about the thrill of the hunt that turns the simple act of opening a present into an unforgettable experience.
Want to create your own Christmas gift treasure hunt? Keep reading for a full tutorial on how to create a Christmas gift scavenger hunt, including printable clues to make it easy-peasy!
How to create your own Christmas gift treasure hunt
Step 1: Prepare the clues
First, you’ll need a set of clues to kickstart this adventure. If you’re feeling creative, you can write your own. Or…you can use the free set I created for you! Here’s what it includes:
- An introductory poem (standard 5×7 design so you can put it in a card envelope or in a wrapped box).
- 9 clue cards to be hidden around the house. They’re unnumbered, so you can take out any that you don’t want to use without messing up the order.
- 1 final celebration card to place on the gift itself and mark the end of the hunt.
To download the free printable treasure hunt, simply click the button below.
If you need even more clues or if you want to personalize the hunt, you can get a customizable template in my shop HERE. Here’s what’s included in the premium version:
1. A printable PDF with the following:
- 1 introduction poem/letter
- 9 ready-to print clue cards
- 20 additional rhyming clues that can be added to the hunt
- Numbered and non-numbered clue cards to choose from
- Final card to mark the end of the treasure hunt
2. Access to an editable Canva template so you can customize the scavenger hunt to be exacty what you want. Adapt for different locations and ages to make sure it will be perfect for your needs!
Choose the set that meets your needs, print and cut it out, and hide it away until Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed.
Step 2: Set up the hunt
Now comes the fun part—hiding the trail of clues! Choose which clues you want to include in your hunt, and decide what order you want them in. Place the Christmas scavenger hunt clues in the correct locations around the house, being careful to put them in the right order. I like to hide them in the order they’ll be found, walking though the scavenger hunt as I go to make sure they are correct. For younger kids, you can leave the clues visible. If you’re making a hunt for older kids, you could make them a little harder to find.
For example, one of the clues sends players to “look by the games.” For a younger child, I would just put the clue on the shelf next to the games, but when I used that clue with my son, I made him work for it! I hid the clue inside the box of one of his favorite games. It took him a few minutes of hunting through boxes to find the right one, but he loved the challenge!
Make sure you also prepare the first and last cards. The first card introduces the concept of the hunt and invites the recipient to play! You can put this first card in an envelope (it’s a standard 5×7 size), or you can put it in a wrapped box.
Last, tape the final card to your big surprise/gift, and hide it in your car. If you want to change the final location, you can easily do so in the editable template. We’ve ended our scavenger hunts in various places:
- Dad’s home office
- shed in the backyard
Once everything is hidden, you’re ready to play!
Step 3: Let the Hunt Begin!
When you’re ready to start the treasure hunt, give the first clue to the recipient(s). From here, you won’t have much to do! Sit back and enjoy watching your kids run around the house from clue to clue. Or, follow them around with your camera to document the excitement! If they get stuck, you can always give them a little help, but the clues I wrote are fairly simple to follow.
Once they reach the end of the treasure hunt, your child can enjoy their gift!
Have you done a Christmas gift scavenger hunt before? How has it worked for you? Share in the comments below!
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