Christmas Scavenger Hunts | The Best Clues and Ideas

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Kids excited for Christmas Scavenger Hunt

’Tis the season for holiday fun! One of the best ways to celebrate the season is to put together a holiday scavenger hunt that kids are sure to love.

Christmas scavenger hunts inspire togetherness, encourage problem solving, and create lifetime memories for families.

Here are some of our best ideas for kids’ Christmas scavenger hunt themes, clues, and snacks!

“Find the Elf” Christmas Treasure Hunt

Elf on the Shelf is one of those family holiday games that has grown to become a beloved tradition in many households. One of our favorite Christmas scavenger hunts is to start off elf season by having kids locate their elf upon their annual return from the North Pole.

Start out with a fun letter from their elf explaining that they’re hiding somewhere in the home. Instruct kids to follow a set of clues until they find their holiday friend who they haven’t seen since last Christmas. Here are some examples of scavenger hunt clues that can be used for an elf hunt:

  •  Clue #1: “Christmas is near…and so am I! Where do you bake an apple pie?”
  • Clue #2 taped to the oven: “You found the first clue and you’re on your way. When your mom buys presents, how does she pay?”
  • Clue #3 taped to mom’s wallet: “You found the next clue. How about that?! It’s cold outside. Don’t forget your hat!”
  • Clue #4 taped to a winter hat: “Don’t stop now. You’re on the trail. Go outside and check the mail.”
  • Clue #5, Elf hiding inside the mailbox: “Special delivery. I’m finally here! ’Tis the season for holiday cheer.”

Have the elf present your kid with a goodie bag or stocking to usher in the season with fun treats like candy canes and other Christmas snacks. Be sure to include Welch’s® Fruit Snacks, which are made with real fruit and are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C & E.

You can also use this holiday scavenger hunt idea for a regular “elf moving” night and not just for your elf’s annual return. 

Consider adding an elf hunt to your list of Christmas party game ideas for holiday classroom bashes. The elf can be surrounded by multiple goodie bags so that there’s one for every kid. Include gluten free, dairy free, or nut free Welch’s® Fruit Snacks for kids in the class who may require snacks that are allergen friendly.

“Merry in the Mall” Christmas Scavenger Hunts

Nothing says Christmastime like a trip to the mall, where you can visit Santa and shop for holiday bargains. Make the experience less stressful and more fun with a mall-based holiday scavenger hunt.

Christmas scavenger hunts at the mall are perfect for older kids and teens who have cell phones and can go off on their own. The main idea is to split kids into two groups and have them walk around the mall and take photos of certain items.

Set a time to meet at a designated spot, such as the food court, and see which team captured the most pictures. Some of the best scavenger hunt clues for the mall include:

  • Try on a Santa hat or reindeer antlers and take a picture.
  • Take a photo of the ugliest holiday sweater you can find.
  • Get one point for finding a clothing item featuring each of the following: A Christmas tree, a snowman, Santa Claus, an elf, a reindeer, a candy cane, etc.
  • Locate a store having the best holiday sale and photograph the percentage off sign.
  • Find a holiday display or store window with a wrapped present and snap a photo.

There are so many other good clues for a scavenger hunt at the mall, so get creative and make lasting memories that can’t be bought.

“Find the Presents” Santa Scavenger Hunt

Sure, you can stash presents under the tree, but it can also be fun to challenge kids to track down their presents with a gift scavenger hunt. Here are some ideas and tips for how to do a Christmas gift scavenger hunt in a way that’s easy and memorable.

  • Decide whether you want kids to find all their gifts or maybe just one big ticket item. If you go the route of one item, wait until they unwrap all their presents under the tree and then hand them a note from Santa saying there’s one more gift. Then set them off on their Santa scavenger hunt!
  • Similar to the elf hunt described above, ask kids to follow a series of rhyming clues from one destination to the next until they reach their hidden gift.
  • If it’s a large item like a bike or a sled, place it in the garage or put it out in the yard with a big red bow. For smaller items, there are so many possible hiding spots—like inside a cookie jar, behind a pillow, under the bed, inside a jacket pocket, and so on.
  • Enhance the experience by playing holiday music during the hunt, or have kids wear fun accessories like holiday PJs and a Santa hat. Be sure to capture pictures and videos so you can relive their joy in the future.
  • If you have multiple kids, consider having them hunt together in pursuit of a large group gift. This can also work for cousins or relatives who may be spending time together over the holidays. Group Christmas party games are always a hit.
  • Another idea is to do color-coded gifts so that each kid has a designated wrapping paper color (such as red for one kid, green for another, silver for another, etc,). This way if kids see a gift wrapped in a color that’s not theirs, they’ll know to leave it behind.

That wraps up our list of holiday scavenger hunt ideas! 

If you’re a family that already embraces scavenger hunt ideas year round, we hope we helped you answer the question: how can I make my scavenger hunt more interesting during the holiday season?

Or if you’re new to the scavenger hunt world, we hope these ideas for Christmas scavenger hunts helped inspire you to start a new family tradition.

Be sure to add a delicious twist to your Christmas scavenger hunts with Welch’s® Fruit Snacks!

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