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This year for Christmas I wanted to gift my kids an experience. I know that’s like the trendy thing right now. And for good reason. But also, trends aside, we’re just getting to that point in life where the playroom is full, the closets are jam packed, and I do not want any more stuff in my house. With the kids getting a bit older as well I can’t get away with a lego set for most of them anymore. And heaven knows we don’t need any more legos anyway. We decided on a cruise, after finding some good deals. I purchased the cruise tickets in October and then kicked my feet up very pleased that I was already done with all of my Christmas shopping.
When December rolled around I started to freak out a bit. Oh my goodness. My kids were going to have NOTHING to open on Christmas! I literally got them no other presents. And I told myself it was fine. But then I started to panic. I racked my brain (and resisted the urge to go out and buy panic presents) on a way to gift the cruise to the kids that would 1. Take some time so Christmas morning wouldn’t be over in 30 seconds and 2. Give them some gifts to open. Here is what I came up with (and it worked out pretty great):
Use a Custom Puzzle to Surprise your Kids with a Cruise
I ordered one of those custom puzzles from Shutterfly and designed it to say “we’re going on a cruise”. I also added some photos along the outside of the puzzle to make the puzzle harder to put together. We were going on a cruise with cousins and friends so I included photos of all the people going on the cruise with us. I put the letters just in the center of the puzzle. I made the words “were going on a …” big and then the word “cruise” even bigger. Then below it it said “with all of these people, open your last present to find out where we are going.”
I then ordered some “essential” cruise items like sea sickness bands, metal hooks (these were our most helpful purchase!), and cruise lanyards. You could also include any times they might need for the cruise, like a new swimsuit.
Next I separated the pieces of the puzzle into 16 ziplock baggies. I kept all the pieces that had words on them separated from the rest of the pieces in their own 4 baggies (because I have 4 children). I then created printable “clues” to be included in the gifts to help kind of explain what was going on.
Finally I wrapped 4 gifts per child, so 12 total. In the first gift was the clue printable, a bag of puzzle pieces and the metal hooks. In the second gift was the sea sickness bands, more puzzle pieces and another clue printable. Let me tell you at this point they were so confused. They had no idea what the metal hooks were for, of course. But they had started assembling the puzzle with the pieces they had so far.
In the third box was their lanyards, another clue printable and the final puzzle pieces with the words on them. And then in the last box were these cruise ticket printables I made so they could find out when and where we were going.
They worked on the puzzle for about 15 minutes after opening each gift so we were able to draw out the whole process for about an hour. Once they had the final puzzle pieces putting the whole puzzle together took awhile. I think the whole thing worked out pretty well, it really added to the suspense and it gave them presents to open on Christmas morning.
Also included in their last gift was another printable that told them they had $25 in arcade credit on the ship.
Free Cruise Gift Printables
I’m sharing the printables I made with you today so you can use them to surprise your kids! If you’d like these customized with the clues to say something different and the ticket filled in just email me email@example.com and I can do that for you ($10).
I’ve also included a blank one so that you can add any text you’d like. The one with “cruise squad” could be used in their final gift to inform them of any onboard credit they have (arcade, soda package, excursions, whatever).
To personalize these printables you’ll want to download them with the button below and then you can open the jpgs in any photo editing program (like canva) to add text. Then print on cardstock and you’re ready to go! Again if you’d like me to personalize a cruise clue package for you just shoot me an email! Partylikeacherry@gmail.com
Happy cruising friends! Would you like another post on cruising tips for families? I found it hard to know what to expect. Let me know!