Since my family lives away from relatives and we pledged as a very young family to not travel at Christmas, we've been absent from many traditions others enjoy--going to grandparents' houses to exchange gifts with cousins, attending Christmas Eve service with extended family members in tow and the usual celebrations that come with large groups of people.
But we've carved our own traditions--building a gingerbread house, watching Elf, attending church for the candlelight service and having all three kids sleep in one room on Christmas Eve. (Even though they are 19, 17 and 8 years of age, they bunked together not only that night but last night as well so they could enjoy a Harry Potter movie marathon.)
One of their favorite traditions is a Christmas morning scavenger hunt that started the year we fashioned the space beneath our basement stairs into an art studio for our oldest two, complete with a fold-down desk, supplies, a bulletin board and working light. The only way to get the boys into the space was to send them on an adventure.
Yesterday, our girl spotted the first clue next to the nativity and plate of Santa cookies. "Look! The first clue!" she shouted.
The middle child turned to me and said, "I didn't think you'd remember to do it."
"Did you forget about it?" I asked.
"No, I just knew you were tired last night and I didn't want to remind you to write clues if you were wanting to go to bed," he said.
I smiled. "I wouldn't forget that." And off they went, racing through the house to find clue after clue until they arrived at the last destination--most of the clues cryptic enough that you'd have to be One of Us to understand their meanings.
The final clue read: If you were Mom's feet, this would be your view most days of the year. Of course, they all raced into my office to find, under my desk, a pile of presents--one apiece and the last gifts of Christmas.
A week from now, we'll be gearing up for school again, and my feet will return to their spot under my desk. But after I sign off here, I will head to the kitchen to make lunch, do some laundry, play a round of Boggle with my son, read Oogy with my daughter, and just enjoy my family. (For the story of Oogy, watch below.)
I hope the holidays found you surrounded by loved ones and ready to embark on whatever adventures the New Year brings.