Jen actually reminded me of this story last week, so I thought I’d retell it here…

It used to be that, every year, my dad would ask me for my Christmas list sometime around Thanksgiving.  And honestly, coming up with this list was something that I never cared much for doing.

It just seemed too close to, “HERE!  BUY ME THESE THINGS!” for my liking, you know?

That and I’ve always preferred decoding the thought process that goes into someone’s gift (even if I had zero interest in the item itself), over the short-lived gratification of getting Exactly What I Asked For™.

At some point, I became so disillusioned with creating these lists that I started asking for the most randomly awesome stuff I could think of.  Things like: yard gnomes; a theremin; a stuffed jackalope; an oversized mouse pad with a portrait of Rip Taylor on it; one of those plastic bird things from Alien that bobs down into a glass of water and then bounces back up…


and yes, shoehorns with teeth.

Sadly, the proliferation of the Internet eventually made finding these bizarre things as trivial as simply entering each of them into a search bar.

Thus, something had to change.

So I started building Xmas Scavenger Hunts.  These were massive, multi-threaded websites that required research into the history of various Christmas/winter solstice celebrations throughout the world in order to find the digital path to my actual list.  It had questions like:

What does “yule” actually mean?

a.) Wheel
b.) Phallic
c.) Chocolate
d.) Flammable


What is frankincense? 

a.) Gold doubloons
b.) A yummy noise
c.) Tree resin
d.) An analgesic

And if you guessed incorrectly you’d be confronted with disturbing images of Christmas gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Hey!  That looks an awful lot like the Stranger Things logo…  Clearly I was ahead of my time. 

In fact, one year I didn’t even upload the list in a readable text format.  I converted it to Wingdings then took a screenshot of it, so the whole thing would require manual, handwritten decoding.

Wow.  Okay, that one’s a little over the top, Dad.  Jeez…

It took me weeks of work to create these things, and in the end it just infuriated my dad to have to jump through all these stupid hoops to get something so simple as a Christmas list.

Although, secretly, I do think he kinda enjoyed it.

As I got older, and therefore busier, I started running out of time during the holidays to create all this stuff.  So I’ve since given in and gone back to just sending over a list of random things.  Like a book on for Cyber Forensics certification, glass blowing lessons, a beard brush from Texas Beard Co, indoor skydiving gift cards, an oversized mousepad with a portrait of Rip Taylor on it (haven’t given up on that one), or a t-shirt that says, “I Failed the Turing Test.”

You know, normal Xmas stuff.

But someday?  Someday I’m going to find the time again.  And on that day the Xmas Scavenger Hunt will be back with a red-nosed vengeance.

I’ve been itching to involve some real world geocaching elements into it…

“You’ll find the next clue somewhere near the “holy portal.”  [30.5061° N, 98.8201° W]


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