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Fun with a Green Screen

2014 Countdown to Christmas Finale - the Auction!

This year we decided to hunt clues only once a week but still managed to miss last week because of Finals. Rather than make up the missing week I promised the kids an "epic" finale to the Christmas Clues on Christmas Eve.

Today was the day!

I knew I wanted to end with a Survivor-style auction with a decadant amount of sweet treats. (We would, of course, impose consumption limits on the treats) I headed up to Kroger to buy 8 auction items. My thought was to start with something simple, like a single donut with red and green sprinkles and then work up to the final item which would be a mystery box filled with a mixture of every type of M&M's. I bought regular, peanut, mini, mega, pretzel, peanut butter and dark. They didn't have the mint ones and I skipped the almond because the kids don't like them.

I shut myself up in my office and sat on the floor mixing M&M's in a giant plastic bag. The rest of the items were still in shopping bags next to me. Suddenly the doorbell rang - a delivery that we had to sign for. The dogs, as is their custom, were barking and scratching at the front door, waiting for me to open it so they could either bolt out the door or lick the deliveryman. Rather than attempt to wrangle them I got the bright idea to just shove them in my office and close the door.


I know.

When I finished with the deliveryman I realized my mistake. I opened the door to find two happy dogs attempting to open a big bag of M&M's and a Nutella snack pack. The waxed paper was all that remained of the donut. 

"SH*T! SH*T! SH*T!" I yelled, in true Christmas spirit.

Luckily it was really only the donut that was lost. The M&M's and Nutella survived the attack.

I got everything arranged and hidden and then called the kids to start the hunt.


KARL: "Check the back of lime pie (key), What's the word for little g? The second word (pick up the pace) Is soft & fluffy and has a case"

EMMA: I think it must be your yogurt, Karl.

It's really MY yogurt, by the way. I love Key Lime Pie yogurt but once Karl discovered it he keeps eating all my yogurt. So much so that the Key Lime Pie yogurt is now referred to as "Karl's yogurt". Sheesh!

They went to the fridge and checked all the yogurt containers.

EMMA: I don't see anything on the bottom of these yogurts.

ME: The clue doesn't say to check the bottom.

EMMA: OK, so the back, but what's on the back?

KARL: I suppose the "little g" means grams. But grams of what?

EMMA: Oh! Karl, I think it means that the clue is something of Gram's! We have to figure out the second part. OK, so what's soft and fluffy and has a case? My instruments have cases but they aren't soft and fluffy!


Now you may be wondering "Why is Emma not figuring out that easy clue?" and to answer, I have to stop and tell a little story that happened Sunday, while John and Karl were picking up his mother ("Gram") to come stay with us for Christmas and Emma and I were cleaning the house.

EMMA: Mom, toss me the sheets from the dryer for the guest room bed.

We toss laundry up to the balcony. For more about this charming ritual you can read Clue 15 from the 2011 Countdown to Christmas hunt.

I tossed her the sheets and she went to make the bed and then returned to the balcony.

EMMA: Mom, there's only one pillow cover.

I looked around and saw that I had dropped one by the laundry room door.

ME: I found it. I'll toss it up. You know they're called pillowcases, right?

EMMA: What?

ME: You called it a "pillow cover" but they have a real name - they're called pillowcases.

EMMA: (shrugs) OK, whatever they're called.

It's amazing how you can discover something new about your teenagers, like appalling lapses in vocabulary.

Back to the hunt -

EMMA: Karl, can you think of anything soft and fluffy that has a case?

KARL: A pillow?

(Atta boy!)

EMMA: Oh! It's Gram's pillow! Come on!


EMMA: "Glittery orbs with twinkling lights, Mom tried something new, So much silver, So much white, Wait . . . is that one blue?" Karl, it's the Christmas tree.

The ran down the stairs.

KARL: How do you know it's the tree?

EMMA: Because Mom only put silver and white ornaments on this year. There must be a blue one somewhere on the tree.


EMMA: Got it! It's back here and it's a Tardis! WOW! This is a cool ornament - where'd it come from?

KARL: Stay focused.

EMMA: Right.

Both the kids are Dr. Who fans so I thought this would be a great new ornament for us. I had the clue attached to the bottom.


KARL: "My first word is a room in Clue, But which one? That's the goal, Perhaps if you knew the second word? OK . . . it's el arbol." What's that?

EMMA: Come on, Karl - you're taking Spanish right now!

KARL: You already took two years!

EMMA: I guess this is a job for Google Translate.

KARL: The word is tree? That's not a room.

EMMA: Oh wait - I think that's just the second word. Hmmm.... Oh! Hall Tree!

KARL: But "Hall" isn't a room in Clue.

EMMA: Yes it is!


The hall tree was sufficiently piled with stuff to make the hunt take a while. Finally they opened the big drawer and found two tins inside. They opened their tins to discover Monopoly money and another clue.


KARL: Meet me in the Breakfast Room, Bring your money, wits and wile, The first inaugural Christmas Eve . . . AUCTION! (Survivor style!)

He shouted the word "Auction" by the way. He's a very literal reader.


John took on the role of Jeff Probst, the host of the show Survivor, and used the wrapped box top (it had no bottom) to hide the items up for Auction. Just like on Survivor the kids were warned that the auction would end without warning. 

They were surprisingly polite about things, making deals and not bidding each other up. I expect that they may be more ruthless next year, now that they know the quality of goods available. Karl ended up with the box of mixed M&M's but Emma got the giant cupcake, so they were pleased with the split.


Everyone agreed it was a fun way to end the Countdown.

John was talking to his mother afterward.

JOHN: Did you hear the catastrophe that almost happened with the dogs? When Karen yelled?

GRAM: Oh, you mean the SH*T! SH*T! SH*T!? Yeah, I heard that.

Ah, Christmas!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!