Hi guys! And a happy Monday. It has been so nice taking a few days off from blogging and just chilling out around the house with my little kitty scoundrels, who try to confuse me and ask for more treats almost every hour of the day. They have a strict meal and treat schedule, but they try to take advantage of me around daylight saving’s and I get a little lenient. Many places around the world are kicking off the holiday season and my only advice for all of you is to stay safe. I know the relationship between our lives and the lives of our loved ones is similar to me and my cats (and family’s, of course!) relationship. My parents used to teach me that busy locations are the most dangerous places because that’s where kids get lost or kidnapped and now an equally sad reality of “terrorism” looms in the minds of governing states and people alike. So take precautions and stay safe!
The Elf On The Shelf Scavenger Hunt Tradition
A Christmas tradition I learned quite late during my life in the United States is the “Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt”. I knew about the Easter Egg Hunt from my working days as a teenager at YMCA, but I didn’t learn about this Christmas tradition until I was teaching as an adult. I love the idea so much that I think I can incorporate Eid-ul-Fitr (See HERE) & Eid-ul-Adha (See HERE) scavenger hunts as a new tradition in the family when I have kids of my own. The tradition revolves around the premise that elves go on their last run around the house on Christmas Eve and then return to the North Pole and report to Santa who then rides on his sleigh that very night to deliver kids and adults their presents. Just like the elves who check each house to see if it is safe enough for Santa to come in and make sure the kids go to bed on time on Christmas Eve, kids go on a scavenger hunt of their own. (See HERE). A very fun tradition indeed!
Given how beloved this Christmas tradition is in the United States, there are numerous locations that you can do the “Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt” on a grander scale whether you are traveling to that city or want to go out for a day with family. One local place in the Bay Area is on Santana Row in San Jose, California. Starting November 13th, 2018 at 3 p.m. (not sure if it is a day event or a seasonal event) you and your kids can go on an “Elf Scavenger Hunt” (See HERE) and receive a holiday prize at the end!
Alice in the Wonderland’s Story Structure
Most of my readers know that as a child “Alice in the Wonderland” was a favorite Disney movie of mine. I didn’t know until later that it is actually a fairytale (See HERE, HERE, and HERE) not just a plot structure of a Disney movie. The reason Alice in the Wonderland as a movie/story is so perfect for today’s “scavenger hunt” writing lesson is that it perfectly encapsulates the structure of a “Hero’s Journey”. A hero’s journey (See HERE) is very structually archetypal that can be manipulated by including different characters and situations. Hopefully, you were able to do the reading lesson (Again, See HERE) I wrote out with your kids. As a reminder, a hero’s journey goes something like this:
- Introduce the setting of the story: Where is it taking place? When is it taking place? Introduce the protagonist.
- Call to Adventure: This is the place where the protagonist meets a problem in life/society/world.
- Overcoming the Problem: What are the obstacles he and she run into? What are the steps the protagonist takes to overcome the obstacles?
- The Win: What changes are made? The problem is solved.
Alice in the movie/story similarly goes on a “Hero’s Journey”. She is outside her home when she meets the White Rabbit and because she is curiosity is part of her personality, she follows him down the rabbit hole where she slips, and gets lost in a wonderland full of the most peculiar characters like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, a Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and finally the Queen of Hearts and the King. While on her personal hero’s journey, she gets lost, makes mistakes, scavenges for clues around her, but in the end, she wakes up from her dream and changed.
Writing A Holiday Scavenger Hunt Story
When writing your holiday story, it is imperative you plan out the plot beforehand. Remember in my eyes, a “scavenger hunt” is the same as a “hero’s journey” plotline so it is entirely up to you what you want to call it. Plotting the story should help with the brainstorming process and of course creating that archetypal structure. Some things to include:
- The Beginning: Who is the character of the story?
- Where and when is the story taking place?
- What is the problem the character run into?
- How did he get out of the problem?
- What is the second problem the character runs into?
- How did he get out of the problem?
- The End: How does the character change?
Some points to remember: Depending on your age or writing capabilities, you can add as many problems to the story as you would like. In the future, I will talk about characterization in Alice in the Wonderland so you could learn how to develop characters in your holiday story. For now, just work on the delineation of the events in your holiday story and next year, you can add character development in your writing forte. This will take time since everyone else has so much to do, so take your time and work on the story ONLY if you want to. Otherwise, I am sure reading my tips generally help your writing!
*When I am done with this lesson series, you may watch Disney’s Alice in the Wonderland.