I love sending out holiday cards and each year we try to come up with something new and different. I have to give credit to my husband for the idea for 2009. "We should do some kind of decoder - like in The Christmas Story." I knew exactly what he was talking about, Ralphie holed up in his bathroom with his secret decoder trying to figure out the message from Little Orpan Annie.
For our card we came up with a series of four statements for each person in our family, for example "Was Bee Captain Hook for Halloween?". (As always, I have changed my children's names to protect their privacy, my 5 year old son goes by "C" and my 3 year old daughter goes by "Bee") Some of the statements are true, and a few are false.
Each statement has a green number at the bottom of the box. If the statement is true, you grab your decoder and set the arrow on that number, and then write down the letter that appears in Bee's circle. (If the statement is false you won't see a number, but a red dot to let you know you have that answer wrong.) After decoding all the statements, you end up with 13 letters. The letters are in no particular order, so you still have to figure out the word jumble to figure out the four word message.
Figuring out the exact placement of the dots and how to perfectly place each letter of the alphabet was a feat in itself. Thankfully I have a very patient husband who worked out all the logistics of how this card worked, and then I just had to make it look good.
I really like the idea of making a holiday card more interactive, and it's just made it more fun to hear back from our friends as they solve the puzzle and email us to share the answer. John really wanted it to be difficult, he wanted people to have to take a little time to work it out. (Although several of our friends have told us that we made this a little TOO hard..) The puzzle is a bit of news about our family and what is to come in 2010, and we are still waiting patiently for several of our friends to solve it.
I'll share the answer with you in a few weeks, I don't want to give it away just yet!