A Christmas Quest: Solve the Riddles to Find Your Present

{Check out my book on my quest to complete 101 things in 1001 days: Timid No More.}


My teenage boys puzzled through with determination, trying to find their Christmas present, but I had unwittingly made one of the riddles extra hard.

The key riddle hinged upon the assumption that people put away their socks after they wear them. My boys do not make that assumption (ever!), so they wandered the house with flashlights, looking for assorted socks under couches and cushions.

(Video below)

A Christmas Quest

They solved the first riddle–straight from The Hobbit–quickly enough though.

Hobbit Riddle 1

“A box without hinges, key, or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid.”
–Bilbo, The Hobbit

(Answer: an egg)


After finding the second riddle in the egg carton in the refrigerator, they solved this Hobbit riddle quickly too.

“This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.”
–Gollum, The Hobbit

P.S. Tell it, it does, since 1990.

(Answer: Time, our kitchen clock)


It took a little hunting to find the third riddle, an original, behind the kitchen clock. It was much harder to solve.


“This is a world, but turn it does not.
The craft of war goes on a lot.
Neither a lightdwarf, nor a middaytroll
Is the creature to visit to meet your goal.
This contains letters, but has no words.
But when you open it, you’ll move towards…
the thing that’s not the past,
‘cause it’s your present!”

(Answer: mailbox of a Night Elf, one of their Warcraft characters)

They puzzled out that it was related to a mailbox in the video game World of Warcraft. They eventually found the final riddle in the mailbox of a Night Elf.


“This gal’s dad
Was Grandpa Brad–.
If you’re in this of hers, you’re not ‘out,’
But there may be assorted socks about,
Or there just may be a Christmas present!”

Can you guess the answer? (It’s below.)

This final riddle, another original, took a long, long time to solve.


As I said, part of the confusion was their assumption that a place where assorted socks would be found must be the couch, the final resting spot of many of their abandoned socks.

They didn’t even consider a closet as a place to find socks. For over an hour!


They looked in and under couches instead for quite a long time.

They eventually turned to Dictionary.com to review 48 meanings of the word “out” — and none of them were the right one. (They missed part of the list.)


Urban Dictionary eventually helped them unlock the puzzle (“out” as in “out of the closet”), and they found their lonely Christmas present.

Solving the Christmas Quest

(Answer: Mom’s closet)

Computer Christmas present

Merry Christmas!

A video recap:
Video link

See also:

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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48 Responses to A Christmas Quest: Solve the Riddles to Find Your Present

  1. Rahmath says:

    Wow! what a wonderful time you all must have had. Awesome.

    Belated christmas wishes….
    And wishing you a very Happy New Year.

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  3. That’s too funny about the socks, my son wouldn’t have clued in on that either. Hoping you and yours had a wonderful day together to celebrate the meaning of Christmas ~ faith, family and friends. Thanks for coming by to share on Christmas Cheer #1!

  4. I would NOT be able to wait that long for them to figure out the clue. That is awesome – the clues and the way you did it!

    • Marcy says:

      We did start to get a touch impatient when they kept checking under the couches over and over again :). I was trying to steer them in the right direction (very subtly), but my husband didn’t want them to have any help.

  5. What an awesome way to mess with your kids! Love it!! I know that my son can be so lazy that this may perk his attention. Thanks Marcy for the inspiration.

  6. xmasdollyx says:

    This has to be the best video ever with pics and all not to mention the great hunt the boys went on. Just look at all the fun they had. Too cool & thanks for sharing. I subscribed to your You Tube. I’m new here so pardon my vlog if you happen to go see it. 🙁

  7. I’m glad I didn’t have to solve your puzzles, but what fun for your boys! We put a note in a small box that would tell the person where to look next for a gift too large to wrap – – in the basement it was a bike. Thank you for sharing at “Tell Me a Story.”

  8. What a clever way to put the fun back in Christmas! I have found it so blah since mine got past toys and into electronics.

    • Marcy says:

      It was really fun, but the novelty of it was what made it work, so I think it will just be a one-year thing. For next year, who knows?

  9. iasoupmama says:

    What fun! I’m keeping this in mind for when my kids get older. I don’t know if WOW will still be a thing, though…

  10. Tomekha says:

    Wow … that sounds like fun. …it woulda probably taken me a couple of days to figure out those riddles.

    But I think I’ll try it some time if I ever have children of my own. 🙂

  11. Bee says:

    That’s a really clever idea! I hope my husband never thinks of doing that for me. =P

  12. TriGirl says:

    Love this! It was so creative, and how fun to play on the fact that they didn’t ever consider the closet!!

  13. Mayor Gia says:

    Haha what a cool idea! I’m glad they finally figured it out!

  14. Jen says:

    A Christmas treasure hunt! That is such a great idea and it looked like a ton of fun.

  15. This is such a cool idea!

  16. Kristin says:

    Well done, mom! Way to make them work for it…haha.

  17. Michelle Longo says:

    What a neat idea!!

  18. That is so fun! Impressive creativity.

  19. Looks like such a fun idea!

  20. Kianwi says:

    That was so great! And hysterical that they got stuck on where socks go 🙂 I’m so glad you brought us along for the ride!

  21. Wow! What a wonderful and creative way to celebrate! Mine was quite similar. I told the girls – where do you think the gifts are? And, because they are brilliant at 5 and 2 – they immediately looked under the tree because I’m FAR too lazy to actually do anything more creative with them. 😉

  22. WOW, that’s impressive! What a fun idea! 🙂

  23. I wish I read your post before Christmas. My kids love the hobbit and so do I would have love to do something like this. Keep it in mind for next year. Wonderful.

  24. Cassandra says:

    how fun! my parents hid my easter basket when i was a kid, but there were never riddles to solve. that took some serious planning! i hope the boys appreciated it. 🙂

    • Marcy says:

      Thanks, we always had our Easter baskets hid too, so I used to do that with the boys. They had fun searching on Christmas 🙂

  25. What a great idea! I might need to steal this next year. Now that my kiddo is getting older, the number of presents he gets is dwindling because they are all getting more expensive. This would be a fun way to stretch out the anticipation!

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  27. 21stcenturyhousewife says:

    I really enjoyed this post! The part about where the socks go really did make me smile! What a great quest 🙂 I love the idea of a treasure hunt with riddles to find a present!

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