Christmas Tradition: $anta $ack Treasure Hunt

in #family5 months ago

It all started with Grandaddy a long time ago in good ol' Mississippi: The ultimate Christmas treasure hunt tradition of Christmas $acks.


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When my husband was a wee lad, his Granddaddy would put together brown grocery sacks and fill them with penny candies, fruits and nuts. Granddaddy did this for all the grandkids, which was about 10 kids. He also did this for his own adult children, their wives, and his own wife as well. The exciting thing about this was that they weren't just sacks of nuts, fruits and candies. He had taken the time to hide money inside random pieces in everyone's bags. You had to open everything up to find the money. It was like a real life treasure hunt.


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Over time, he would add more and more items because he needed new places to hide things. He would add items like you would find from the Dollar Store. He also added chocolate bars like a Hershey bar. Nothing was fancy, but it is part of the magic of find the value in the mundane.
One year, Nanny Sophie (grandaddy's wife) didn't find any money. Granddaddy wouldn't let her throw things away. About springtime, she went to bite into her chocolate bar and nearly chipped a tooth on a diamond ring that Grandaddy had hidden inside. He had melted down the chocolate bar, put in the ring, and froze it again into the chocolate bar shape. When she bit into it, he just laughed and laughed.

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My husband doesn't remember how it started, but it has continued to this day. It has evolved into a competition shared amongst the family. My father-in-law, also known as Grandaddy after his father passed, continued this tradition. He would hide money in the sacks.

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The sacks still contain random trinkets that are not really of any value, and also candy of all sorts. At this point, a lot of times we buy the Halloween candy that goes on sale to put in the sacks to cut down on $ack costs because there are around 40 sacks made at this point yearly.

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This year my father-in-law, whom we also called Grandaddy, passed, so my husband and brother-in-law took over duties. They had assisted my father-in-law the past few years.

A couple of the sons and also an older grandson have helped as well. We plan to keep it going. In my family, we do stockings because I grew up with that tradition, and we also do $acks because of my husband's childhood tradition.


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The hidden money is really well hidden at this point. It takes grit and determination, and attention to detail to find it. There have been many times that even adults have given up and gasp asked for help. Every year they let us know how many pieces of money we need to find.

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Some years it is hidden in $5, $2, or $10 bills. There are usually 5 or 6 bills to find. It has now become a competition for who can find all their money first.

There are a few rules:

  1. You can't throw anything away until you have found all your money.
  2. Everyone starts at the same time
  3. Everyone is told the denominations of the bills and how many
  4. First person to find all their money wins Bragging Rights
  5. No sore losers or whining

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In the past we have seen it in toothpaste, nuts, nesting dolls, suckers, tootsie rolls, gum, and all different types of toys and a wide variety of candies.
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So much of what we do is to build up those family bonds and create memories. It does make quite the mess, and usually most of the candy is thrown away (because you tore it apart trying to find your money), but it is one of the most beloved traditions that we have. Thank you Grandaddy.

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That’s a really cool tradition! My family has a tradition. We kids usually are assigned a sibling to find a gift for. Then we all go to the store, buddy up with a person(not the person you’re giving too), and find a gift for them. Then we try to going through the store with out your person seeing your gift. Sometimes we might run into each other and try to go the opposite ways. We’re like gift ninjas.🥷🏽

This is awesome. You are a ninja even when you aren't shopping. Lol

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What a fun tradition! The Granddaddy that started it seems like a very clever and creative individual and it's a great tribute to him that you are carrying forward with it! 😃

He was a good man. I am so glad that we are still doing it to this day. Everyone has such a good time. It is the last thing we do on Christmas.

I love this so much! I remember when your hubby made them for us. I'd never seen it done before, so I didn't know what to expect. It would be fun to try it again now that I know what to expect...

Aaaaah. Maybe that could be arranged.

I love family Christmas traditions and treasure hunts! Granddaddy started something precious and cool with the Christmas $acks.
What a fun tradition. I enjoyed reading your post and the pictures are just lovely!
Thanks for sharing and merry Christmas. 🙂🎄

Thank you! I always wondered how he came up with the idea, but I am glad he did. It has been going on for over 30 years now. I saw you tagged me in @crossculture. I am excited to check out that community also.

Hehe, 30 years is a longtime and his legacy lives on!
We look forward to welcoming you at the Crossculture community and our discord. 😊

Cool one! Albeit I think the diamond ring in a chocolate bar can be a little bit dangerous.

We have traditionally hidden the gifts and made a trail of hints and clues hidden in puzzles, to make it more interesting for the kids. (Edit: the clues usually come in a message from "one of Santa's helpers") I guess it was originally my father who started it. I'm trying to follow in his footsteps, with a varying degree of success. It used to work best when they were under 10 years though.

I'm hoping my kids will in turn follow suit when they have kids of their own.

Yes, especially if she had actually chipped her tooth! It makes for good memories now though. I can't tell you hoe many times that story has been told. I like the treasure hunt aspect that you have going on also . It just makes for such good memories!

What a lovely tradition! I'd really love to get involved it sounds like fun, fun all the way. Wow. I love the fact that it's being passed on from generation to generation and that so lovely. With money involved no matter how little, I'd wanna go on that hunt. Lol. Lovely post indeed

Thank you! WE just did it again tonight for this year's festivities. It was a lot of fun. It is fun to see who can find their money the fastest. This year we searched for 4 moneys hidden in the candy. Next year, there will be even more of us. I love it, and can't wait for my kids to be old enough to help with the sacks.

It's really an amazing tradition which I'd love to experience. Don't worry in no time you'll see how rapid your kids would grow you'd even be surprised. Lol kids are growing way too fast these days and yours won't be an exception. Thanks for your reply.

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What a fun tradition! 🎄💸

Thank you! I am so glad that you like it. I love to hear about other people's traditions, so wanted to share ours also .