My Frugal Holiday: Clue Gift

As a young dad, I inherently understood that holidays are all about making memories. Although my two daughters learned early that the celebration of Christ's birth is the true reason for Christmas, we did embrace Santa and the exchanging of gifts like most families.


While they were still quite young - maybe 6 or 7 years old - I began the annual tradition of giving each girl a "clue gift." Beginning 12 days before Christmas, they would wake up to a written clue about one specific gift that I had taped to the bathroom mirror. The clues were usually written in first person - "I'm bigger than a bread box"; "You'll need batteries to get me moving"; "I can help you shed light on any subject"; etc. While the gifts were rarely unique in nature - personalized ballpoint pen, portable stereo, director's chair - the excitement was in the guessing. Even their friends would call the house after school recessed for the holidays so they could find out the daily clue.

When they went off to college, they still expected the clue gift each year. Today, they are both in their 30s and we live in different cities. They are expecting a clue gift again this year. The clues aren't on the bathroom mirror anymore, but you can bet that my daughters check their email early on those 12 days before Christmas.

By James from Abilene, TX

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November 26, 20080 found this helpful

That is such a great tradition!

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November 27, 20080 found this helpful

Delightful idea. I love it.

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November 28, 20080 found this helpful

will be showing this to my wife, we have 4 adult children, 3 son in laws and 12 grandkids, what a novel idea to show excitement in the season. Like you, we always have stressed the true meaning of Christmas, not the hustle and bustle that the world has to give.

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November 28, 20080 found this helpful

That is a terrific idea! I tried it and my kids LOVED it!

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December 2, 20080 found this helpful

What a neat idea. I wish I had children that I could do this with, but I'm definitely gonna tell my girlfriends about it because their kids are great and I think they would love this. I know a couple of little sleuths that I'm sure are gonna really love this because every time I watch them for their parents, they always want to play a little game I call "Find The Monkey" where I take one of their "Beanie Babies" (a little monkey), hide it and give them clues until they find it. Winner gets to be the next one to hide it & give clues,etc. It keeps them entertained for a while, plus exercises their brain, and we have a blast! So again, GREAT idea! Thank-you & Merry Christmas.

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