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The Ultimate Secret Santa

I love Secret Santa. It's an American office tradition that our school embraces. It's fun. It's sweet. It builds camaraderie. As a school music teacher, you're running around like a newly decapitated chicken in December. Here are some fun and easy ways to be the best Secret Santa EVER!

Portable North Pole (PNP)

Go to this site, fill out the information, and have your personalized message delivered from Santa to your co-worker. It's free! 

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are great fun when your intended audience is up for it. There are a couple ways to proceed with the clues: multiple choice answers, where the wrong answer is a dead end but the right answer is the next clue and random clues and places, in which fun facts are followed by the location of the next clue. I usually do the multiple-choice version, but this can be quite annoying for your quarry. I suggest the fun facts.


My first secret santa give-ee was Elaine. I like the name so I did a scavenger hunt about famous Elaines. Here are some clues.
1. What was Lady Elaine's surname in the Mister Rogers television show? Look under the pumpkin outside LE1 to find out!

2. Lady Elaine Fairchilde!
What famous Elaine trained with Marlon Brando before she became a Tony Award winning actress? Here's a hint. She sang "The Ladies Who Lunch." Look under the entryway rug to find out!

3. Elaine Stritch!
With a 49.95 Price fix menu for Thanksgiving dinner and an almost guaranteed celebrity sighting at every meal, this restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is a must-see attraction for the gourmand.  The d├ęcor is “nothing special” and “old-school Manhattan”, but the food is good and the service is quirky.  Ask the secretary and she'll give you the name of the restaurant. 

4. Elaine's! Can't believe you didn't know that.
What's happening here? Look in your mailbox for the answer. Have a great day, Elaine!

5. It's a depiction of the death of Elaine, Lancelot's mother. Here's another fun factoid about a great Elaine. 
Elaine Winslow-Remond danced with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes for 11 years.  She sustained an injury toward the middle of that time and developed a keen interest in sports medicine as a result.  Elaine studied sports physiology at Columbia when she was a Rockette in the Christmas Spectacular in New York, and earned certification as an athletic trainer.  She opened a studio in Radio City Music Hall for performers on the show and is still their athletic trainer, heading a 3-person seasonal staff.  

Scorpion (prize: a scorpion in an isomalt lollipop)
I like to tailor my hunts to the prize at their end. For instance, questions about kissing with a giant Hershey's kiss at the end. Here are some hunts I wrote along this vein.  Answers are bold and details are in red.

S&*** Wood, your very name evokes a log in the forest with something scary hiding underneath. Your first treat is scary and sweet, but you’ll have to work for it. Wanna play?  J
If you can answer my questions three,
You shall have a sweet stinging treat!

Question 1: What kind of spaces do scorpions like to be in?
1.    In the sun, camouflaged by sand (check Boo’s cage in CH2)
2.    In tight spaces like inside a shoe (under the pumpkin by LE1)
3.    In the roots of cactuses (behind Girl with Pearl Earring in the staff room)

Question 2: How big are scorpions?
1.    3-8 inches (under the scale in the staff room)
2.    1-3 inches (under a seat cushion on the couch in the grand hallway)
3.    6-10 inches (in the branches of a plant in the assistant principal's office)

Question 3: What do female scorpions do after mating?
1.    Write a poem (under a paperweight in your office)
2.    Mate again (in the skeleton in Middle School)
3.    Eat the male (in the skull of Mr. Bones in LE3)

Kissing (Prize: a giant Hershey's kiss)
O by gosh by golly! It’s time for mistletoe and holly. Mistletoe is known for kissing, and kissing is the subject of today’s scavenger hunt. So apply your Blistex and read on…

Question 1: What was a “salvolium” in ancient Rome?
a.       A deep kiss                 (look under the bulbs in &*$%’s office)
b.      A kiss on the cheek     (look under the centerpiece in CH4’s table)
c.       A kiss on the foot       (in the candy dish behind *&^%'s desk)

Question 2: Where did the idea of “sealing it with a kiss” come from?
a.       Ancient Egypt             (under A&^% K’s keyboard)
b.      Ancient Sparta                        (behind the Andrew Wyeth painting in the staff room)
c.       Ancient Rome             (taped near the AED)
Question 3: Those Romans were really into kissing, weren’t they?
Well, this clue is by the AED, but the heart isn’t the most used muscle in kissing (well maybe in a really good kiss, but that’s another scavenger hunt.) What muscle does the basic kiss rely on most?
a.       The zygomaticus minor           (in the plant behind N&&^% K@#$%’s desk)
b.      The masseter                           (taped to the UEL closet door)
c.       The orbicularis oris                  (in the plant in S&*'s office)

Question 4: I know, I know, you thought this would be the prize, but I found so much cool stuff, I had to lengthen the quiz. How much time does a person spend kissing during a lifetime?
a.       Two days                    (under the pumpkin outside LE1)
b.      Two weeks                  (taped to a window in overnoon)
c.       Two months                (pinned to Mrs. Gigi’s cubicle)

Question 5: You’re almost there. This is the last question. Ready?
Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones has some very famous lips. An imprint of his lips sold for how much?
a.       $160                (R&^%’s desk)
b.      $1600              (UER teacher’s desk)
c.       $2800              (CH1’s teacher desk)

All the questions and answers for today’s scavenger hunt were stolen by “Stuff you should know”. They rock! J Have a lovely week, my dear.
—S. Claus

Saint Nicholas (prize: a chocolate Santa)
For December 5th or 6th
Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

You’ve been such a good girl. You need to set out your wooden shoes so Saint Nicholas can fill them with chocolate. What? You don’t do that? Well today is Saint. Nicholas Day in Holland. Let’s learn a little more about “Sinter Klaus” and find some yummy chocolate, shall we?
Question 1: Saint Nicholas was bishop of Myra. Where is Myra?
a.       Asia Minor      (R^%’s candy dish)
b.      Ireland             (T$#%’s desk)
c.       Germany         (Mrs. G's desk)

Question 2: Saint Nicholas gave money to a poor man by throwing it through his open window at night. Why did the man need the money?
a.       He was about to lose his house           (taped under the staff room table)
b.      He faced debtor’s prison                    (taped under one of the LE2 tables)
c.       His daughters would have to be sold into prostitution if he didn’t raise a dowry (under the entryway rug)

Question 3: Bishop Nicholas of Myra was almost stripped of his episcopate. Why?
a.       He fathered children, violating his vow of celibacy.              (magneted to the Middle School white board)
b.      He smoked crack cocaine then held a very explicit press conference. (magneted to the LE 1 white board)
c.       He suffered from Tourett’s syndrome and was prone to cursing jags. (magneted to Mrs. G’s white board)
d.      He punched out a heretic        (Magneted to the UER white board)
Your chocolate is in a potted plant in CH2. Enjoy!

Happy Saint Nicholas Day! Hope you don’t mind the nuts.


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