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12 Very Merry Christmas Scavenger Hunt Ideas

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Christmas scavenger hunt ideas. Mittens with a magnifying glass.

Christmas is truly one of my favorite times of the year.  Although exchanging gifts is fun, I love this holiday because it’s usually a full month dedicated to spending time together.

Our family loves to do things together.  And December is no different.  I plan Christmas activities, craft afternoons and games.  Lots and lots of different party games.

And one of our favorite Christmas party games of all is the Christmas Scavenger Hunt.  Each year, I brainstorm new Christmas scavenger hunt ideas and try to choose something that I think will stump them.  Although I’m rarely successful in the actual stumping part, there never seems to be a lack in variety.   

That’s what makes scavenger hunts such a great party game.  There are tons of different hunts to choose from.  And they fit all sorts of interests and ages.  It’s just a matter of the best scavenger hunt to fit your event.

Child reading scavenger hunt clue in his pajamas.

Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt

How to Plan your Christmas Scavenger Hunt

Although doing a Christmas scavenger hunt is fun, I also get a lot of joy in planning it.  It’s important to be organized and know exactly the type of scavenger hunt you plan to do before starting.

Pick a Time

Choose a specific time to host your scavenger hunt.  It can be day or night.  Snowy or sunny.  No matter the time or the weather, make sure you know when you want to do it.  

I always incorporate a Christmas scavenger hunt into our Advent calendar activities.  Or your Christmas elf could deliver a hunt from the North Pole.  Another idea is to host one on Christmas morning to find a special gift.

Whenever you host it, just make sure everyone knows when and where it will be located.  That way they can show up ready to play.

Dress for the Weather

Although many of these Christmas scavenger hunt ideas are indoors, you might choose a hunt idea that is outside.  And if you live in a colder climate that means it’s probably winter.  

So, be sure to bundle up before heading outdoors.  You don’t want to freeze in the middle of the scavenger hunt.  Then, no one will have fun.

Decide on a Prize

Usually a scavenger hunt is played with players looking for something.  Sometimes this is obvious.  Like candy canes, a special Christmas present or Christmas cookies.  But other times – such as the holiday photo hunt – you might want to include a prize.  This can be awarded to the person who finds the most items or solves all of the clues.

Or you can choose smaller prizes and give them out to all of the participants.  Some favorite Christmas scavenger hunt prizes include: (affiliates)

Organize the Supplies

Some of these Christmas scavenger hunt ideas use a variety of printables and other items.  Be sure to download, print and trim all of your supplies before you begin.  You might want to make extras (lists have a tendency to wander off), so no one misplaces them in the excitement of the hunt.

If you’re hosting a scavenger hunt with a list, make sure you have pens or other writing tools available.  We use these little clipboards (small or big – depending on the hunt) to keep our scavenger hunt lists organized and have a hard surface to write on during the hunt.  There’s even a pen attached so it doesn’t disappear as easily. (affiliate)

For clue based scavenger hunts, make sure that you put the cards in order and know where each one needs to go in advance.  Also, leave time to hide the cards before guests arrive.  You don’t want guests to find you at the clue location before they start the hunt.

Don’t Forget Refreshments

If you plan your Christmas scavenger hunt as an event, don’t forget to offer some Christmas themed refreshments.  Setting up a hot cocoa bar or serving Christmas cookies is simple and easy.  Make sure you also have water bottles available in case guests get thirsty.

Choose the Theme

There are lots of different kinds of Christmas scavenger hunt ideas.  When deciding on the best one for your family or guests, consider ages and location.  If you have younger kids participating, reading scavenger hunt clues and solving riddles might be too hard yet.  Choosing an easier version that is picture based might be better.

Favorite Christmas Scavenger Hunt Ideas

Two candy canes hanging in a tree. Perfect for a candy cane scavenger hunt.

Photo courtesy of Madara Moroza

Candy Cane Hunt

In this scavenger hunt, players search for candy canes that you’ve hidden in a specific location.  You can do this scavenger hunt inside or outdoors.  It helps to let players know how many candy canes they’re looking for.  I usually let participants keep their candy canes after finishing the hunt.  Or we use them to make a candy cane craft.


Christmas Lights Hunt

This is one of our family’s favorite Christmas scavenger hunts.  We bundle the kids up and go searching for Christmas lights in surrounding neighborhoods.  We are lucky to have lots of great lights displays in our area.  

Before planning this hunt, download and print your Free Printable Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt.  Then, scope out some areas in advance.  This scavenger hunt can be difficult if you spend more time driving and less time seeing lights.  

It’s also a great scavenger hunt to use during a walk around the neighborhood or on a holiday lights drive through show.  Just don’t forget the hot cocoa.

Ornaments Treasure Hunt

An ornaments treasure hunt is fun because it transforms your tree into a scavenger hunt.  It’s a favorite Christmas party game in our house and guests enjoy staring at our tree trying to find all of the treasures.

To play, hand out an Ornaments Treasure Hunt to each player.  Then, let them search the tree for as many ornaments as they can find.  The player who finds the most ornaments in the time limit wins.  Or you can give each participant a prize if they’ve found a certain number of ornaments.

For this scavenger hunt, I love giving little ornaments out to the winners (affiliate).

clues to an indoor Christmas scavenger hunt

Indoor Scavenger Hunt

This indoor Christmas scavenger hunt is a classic clues scavenger hunt.  You can set the clues up around your house.  Players read each riddle and solve it to find their next clue.  Usually, I include a fun treasure to discover at the end.  Check out both the Traditional Indoor Scavenger Hunt and more Difficult version here.


Treasure Hunt from the Elf

Do you have a Christmas elf that visits each season?  Ours is named Fritz and he is rarely not up to mischief.  But the kids love spending the holiday season with him, so we let him keep visiting.

Have your Christmas Elf deliver a treasure hunt this year.  This Free Printable Elf scavenger hunt invites your kids to search for candy canes, jingle bells and pine cones.  

Or you can have your Elf set up a more traditional Christmas scavenger hunt.  This cute Elf Treasure Hunt in our shop is complete with 16 original clues that could have been written by your Elf.

Searching for the Nativity

The last Christmas decoration we put up is the Nativity set.  If you have a Nativity with lots of pieces, you could hide them and invite the kids to search for them. 

If your Nativity set is fragile, though, this probably doesn’t seem like a good idea.  You could also send them on this paper version by Lily and Threads.  See how many different cards they can find and then read them together. (affiliate)

Photo Scavenger Hunt

This Christmas photo scavenger hunt is especially enjoyed by tweens, teens or even adults.  Print out the Christmas photo scavenger hunt cards and see if players can snap a photo of all of the items on the list using their mobile devices.  Each item is worth a different number of points.  At the end of the hunt, see which player or team earned the most points.  They’re the winner.

assortment of gingerbread cookies

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Weinkauf

Christmas Cookies Hunt

This scavenger hunt is a good one for any cookie lovers.  It would be a perfect activity at a cookie exchange party.

Purchase a variety of Christmas cookies and hide them.  Have guests hunt to see how many different cookies they can find.  (affiliate)

Build a Snowman Hunt

If you have snow during the winter holidays, have guests search for all of the things they will need to build a snowman.  Except the snow.  Have them find something to use for a hat, arms, scarf, eyes, nose and anything else you can think of.  

Once they have found all of the items listed, they can go outside and build a snowman.

Ugly Sweater Hunt

This is a great activity for an ugly sweater themed Christmas party.  The most important part is that all of the guests need to wear ugly sweaters at the party.

What I love the most about ugly sweaters is that fantastic patterns and prints that they come in.  This activity invites guests to search these prints and try to find a list of items.

Hand each guest a list of things to look for in the ugly sweaters.  Think Santa, snowman, ornaments, reindeer, etc.  During the party, guests check off the items that they find.  The person who finds the most things at the end of the party wins.

Christmas Sock Hunt

Our family has a love for Christmas socks.  So, much that we love to hunt for them each season.  During December, the kids will wake up to a Christmas sock hunt.  I have hidden two new pairs of Christmas socks around the house.  I label each pair of socks with a festive tag so they know if they belong to them.  

Then, everyone hunts for their Christmas socks (affiliate).  Once found, we enjoy wearing them for the day.

beautifully wrapped package in flamingo wrapping paper

Photo by Sandra Seitamaa

Christmas Gift Hunt

If you’re gifting something big this year, a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning might just be the way to deliver it.  Leave a clue under the tree and have the gift recipient have to solve it.  Or you can use multiple clues to make the hunt even harder. 

This Indoor Scavenger Hunt is a great way to set up a gift scavenger hunt.  Choose the clues you want to use and get to hunting.

Love Scavenger Hunts?

Scavenger hunts are one of our family’s favorite party games.  From this Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt to a Color Hunt, we love celebrating with a good scavenger hunt.  Here are a few more scavenger hunts that you can use all year long.

And if you need some tips for setting up your own treasure hunt, check our post for planning an amazing treasure hunt here.  

Enjoying these Christmas scavenger hunt ideas?  Be sure to pin this post for later.

12 festive Christmas scavenger hunt ideas

Happy Celebrating,




  1. Never heard of Christmas Scavenger Hunt. But the activities look like fun ideas for the family. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by! Christmas scavenger hunts are a really fun way to have family fun together this holiday season. Hope you find an idea to try. Thanks again!

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