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 Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt

The holiday season is upon us, which means neighborhoods across the country are lighting up with Christmas displays. It is tradition in many families to drive around the neighborhoods looking at all the fabulous Christmas decorations. To spread some holiday cheer and bring some friendly competition, try playing the Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt. Gather your friends and family to join in the hunt for the most creative and festive neighborhood light displays. 

Outdoor scene of neighborhood olights perfect for Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt.

Object of the Game

The objective of the Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt game is for teams to drive around neighborhoods looking for and photographing decorative holiday light displays that match items listed on their scavenger hunt list. The team that finds and photographs the most displays from their list within the time limit wins a prize.

Window scene of gingerbread family Christmas decorations.

How to Play:

  1. Form Teams- Split your group into teams of 3-4 people per car. Try to get teams with a mix of kids and adults. Make sure each car has a designated driver who is not playing so they can focus on driving safely.
  2. Make Scavenger Hunt Lists- Make a list of 20 possible Christmas decorations that teams could find displayed on houses. Print out a list for each team or print out the free download below.
  3. Go Over Rules- Ensure all players understand the rules before heading out. Teams will have 1 hour to take photos of as many items as possible from their scavenger hunt list. Team members cannot exit the vehicle for any reason while on the hunt, and drivers must obey all traffic laws. Any team breaking a rule will face automatic disqualification. The goal is to try spotting and photographing items solely from inside the vehicle while cruising neighborhoods. 
  4. Start Hunting- Teams take off searching for light displays that match items on their list. As they spot themed decor they can take a photo from the car as proof for judging later. Make sure images are clear and identifiable. Teams are aiming to be the first back to home base.
  5. Judging and Prizes- When teams return to home base, they must present their photos to be judged. A prize goes to the team who found and photographed the most correct items from the list. You may also want to award a secondary prize for the most creative or festive overall finds.
Lots of decorations for Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt.

Possible Items to Include on Your Lists

The Christmas lights to include on your list range from fairly basic (star, white lights, Santa, etc.) to pretty obscure (abominable snowman, Star Wars character, animal ice skating, etc.). It may be best to have a list of common Christmas lights with a few bonus items for fun. Click here for Free Download of the Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt game!

Tips and Hints for a Special Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt

  • Assign a point value for each item, with more difficult ones worth more points. The team with the highest total points wins. 
  • Make multiple scavenger list versions so teams don’t all search for the same items.
  • Allow decoration finds that aren’t already listed for 1 bonus point each to encourage creativity.
  • Provide clipboards and pens for teams to write down addresses of the best light displays to share with others later.
  • Set a photo number minimum if you don’t want judging to take too long. First team back to home base with at least 15 (or any set number) correct finds wins.
  • Give children their own mini scavenger list for backseat scavenger hunts so they stay engaged too.
House decorated with outdoor 
Christmas lights mostly white with red bows.

Variations of the Game

Themed Hunts- Spice up your scavenger hunt by giving it a theme. It could be a “Candy Cane Challenge” where all items on the list relate to candy canes or a “Santa’s Workshop” theme focusing on various elements of Santa’s world.

Neighborhood Nomad- Extend the hunt beyond your neighborhood. This variation challenges teams to venture into nearby towns or even countryside areas in search of festive lights, broadening the scope of your holiday adventure.

Charitable Twist- Combine holiday spirit with giving back by organizing a charitable scavenger hunt. Each team contributes a small donation as an entry fee, and the funds collected can be donated to a local charity or used to purchase gifts for a community in need.

Walking Scavenger Hunt- If driving does not work for your group, have teams walk through a single neighborhood.

Reverse Hunt- Instead of taking photos, reverse it – give each team a set of holiday photos and they must drive around trying to spot those exact displays. First to match all their photos wins.

Rainbow Hunt- Assign each team a color, and they can only take pictures of displays mainly featuring that color’s lights. Most colored finds wins!

Front of house with decor good for Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt incudes candles, trees and stars.

Prizes that Sparkle

  • Golden Garland Trophy- Craft a unique trophy using golden garlands, ribbon, and miniature holiday decorations. This trophy can be proudly displayed by the winning team until the next holiday season.
  • Festive Gift Baskets- Assemble gift baskets filled with holiday treats, hot cocoa mixes, scented candles, and cozy blankets. These baskets make for delightful rewards that keep the holiday spirit alive.
  • Customized Ornaments- Create personalized ornaments engraved with the winning team’s name and the year of their victory. These ornaments serve as timeless mementos of their triumph in the Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt.
  • Local Business Gift Cards- Support local businesses by offering gift cards to restaurants, cafes, or shops as prizes. It’s a win-win, spreading joy among your participants and supporting your community.
Decorated house with blue Christmas lights, Santa, snowman, 

This seasonal game makes for inexpensive holiday fun that brings out friendly competition and puts everyone in the holiday spirit. Just bundle up, grab some thermoses of hot chocolate, make your scavenger hunt lists, and deck the halls with creativity and cheer! The Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt is bound to become a cherished tradition, lighting up your holidays for years to come. May your season be filled with laughter, joy, and the warm glow of festive lights! Happy hunting! 


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