Advent Search header

A search for meaning, purpose, and joy. The annual quest for Christmas.

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Note: in order for this game to work properly, all email addresses assigned to players need to be both valid and unique. Otherwise the play is limited to the setup person's devices and email address, and many of the functions as to the mode of play and invitations to players will not work properly.

Note - Please view the above video that walks you through the functionality and fun features of this improved website,  and illustrates the necessary options in order to setup the game. Refer to the text below for further guidance, if necessary.

Instructions for Servant (Game Setup Person)

As a Servant, your role will be to set up the game (Search / Treasure Hunt) for the Searchers (players). Since you are already here reading this or watching the video, it is likely that you are already registered as a Servant. 

Note: If you are interested in actually playing the game instead of setting-up, use the menu option “Invite Servant” to send an email to another family member (preferably an adult) to have them do the setup. Then delete your registration (but not before deleting any players you may have entered [see immediately below]) by hovering your cursor over the “Instructions>Setup” main menu option and selecting “Game Setup”. Then delete your registration at the bottom of the page. You will then be re-directed to the homepage of Advent Search to confirm cancelation, and soon be provided a Searcher login and password by your new Servant.

(Further Note: Any Searchers you may have added under the “Instructions>Setup> Add Searchers” drop-down menu must be deleted before a registered Servant can delete their own role as a Servant.)

The remaining instructions apply only for the Setup Person.


Online Setup

1st Step

Go to the top menu on the homepage and hover your cursor on Instructions. Note: You're navigated to, and currently at the "Instructions" page. You will see a drop-down menu. There you'll see 2 options - Instructions & Setup. Hover over Setup with your cursor and 5 more options will appear to your right. Click on Setup Game.

On this page you will see 2 boxes that you can check: By Day or In Order. You can check just one, both, or leave it in the default state unchecked (meaning full access at anytime for Searchers, as is the mode for the Servant [you]). Below are the choices that describe the different modes of play -

“By Day” means that the Searchers can access the days' Treasure & Riddle by answering the previous day's riddle, on or around any December calendar day in question.

“In Order” means that the Searchers can access the days’ Treasure & Riddle at anytime during the year, but they must discover the answer to each day’s riddle in sequential order.

“By Day & In Order” means that the Searchers can access the days’ Treasure & Riddle, but they must discover the answer to each day’s riddle in sequential order only during  December (traditional mode). 

2nd Step

Go back again to the top menu on the homepage and hover your cursor on Instructions. Again you will see a drop-down menu with the 2 options as before. Hover over Setup and this time click on Add Searcher in the menu that appears to the right. On the Add Searcher page, add each player's name and email address, one player at a time. Make sure to click on the add button after each entry.

3rd Step

Again, go to the top menu on the homepage and hover your cursor on Instructions. You will see the same drop-down menu. Click on Invite Searcher. On that page you will see an empty field with a downward arrow on the right. Click on that arrow and all the Searchers that you entered in the 2nd Step will appear.

Select each Searcher, one at a time, and send them a greeting and invitation. Each Searcher will then receive your greeting, and an ID and password. Since they will be added already by you as a player, their play will be limited by however you setup the mode of play in the  1st Step.

Be sure to click-on the send button after entering the email greeting, then select the next searcher.

4th Step

In the 4th Step you will be providing answers and hints of the objects or subject for which your Searchers will be looking. The remaining two steps for setup, this one and the last, will follow the same selection method, as with the previous three steps.

Select Instructions>Setup>Answers & Hints from the drop-down menu. This page allows you to customize any alternant answers for the object or subject in question from the previous day's riddle. For example: one of the   objects in the game is “Picture”. You could enter an alternate answer, “Grandpa’s Picture”.

The Hints field is reserved for description of objects or a subject, such as color, location, or style without indicating what or whom it is. This is a great way to personalize the Search and add family heirlooms and history into the game. For example: the answer for a subject or person in the game is described as “family”. You could enter a hint of “Grandpa”. 

There are 24 answers and hints starting with Day 2. Note: each answer has default answers listed, and are answers for the previous day’s riddle. Enter any alternate answers and hints for day 2. Then save your work by clicking the save button at the bottom of the page and continue to Day 3, and so on.

After you are done with all 24 days, you can click on “Show Hints” at the bottom of the page, and view your entries.

5th Step

This final step for the Online Setup is for reviewing Searcher Details (Instructions>Setup>Searcher Details), each Searcher's game progress, the recent invitation sent, and the deletion of a Searcher.

Treasure Hunt Setup

Note: This is the physical part of the game. However, players can play this game while away from home (boarding & college students), without being physically present. They can simply enter the namesake of the card hidden in the home; in the field after each riddle.

1) An interactive the Advent Search treasure hunt can be played in your home, in conjunction with the online Advent Calendar. The following instructions in #1 & #2 are unnecessary if you have purchased your cards already (Skip to #3 below). 

The menu at the top has a menu item labeled “Clue Cards”. Click that button, which will take you to the Clue Cards page where you can print-out the cards. There are 3 buttons on that page, which correspond to 3 separate pages of cards. Since there are 10 cards per sheet, and card stock may be used, the printing commands per sheet are separated by individual buttons to avoid paper jams. 

Some people prefer to use more durable cards for the Treasure Hunt, so it is recommended that you use a lite card stock for your printer. You may find that the printing will work best if you remove your standard paper first. Check with your local office supply store for the correct type of card stock that will pass through your printer. However, regular paper will work as well.

2) When your are ready to print the cards, click on each print button, one at a time. If you use a card stock, you may want to load each card stock sheet into your printer, one at a time. Clicking on a print button will take you to another page on your browser, where you will see an example of the final printed page of cards. Look near the top right of the window for the printer icon and click on it. To return to the Advent Search Clue Cards page by clicking the back arrow, or selecting the Advent Search tab on the top of your browser window. Cut-out the cards that you have printed. The last five cards are extras that direct friends to play in their own home. 

3) Hide all, but “The Beginning” card near the appropriate objects or subject of the same namesake. Be aware that the “Family” card is intended for hiding on a family member, or even a family pet, not an object (unless it happens to be a family picture, or a picture of a living or deceased loved-one).

4) Now comes the fun part. On December 1st, in the traditional mode of play (By Day & In Order), Searchers can open the December 1st’s window on the calendar by clicking on the appropriate 

  • * Day 1 window,
  • * then, logged-in Searchers can also use the QR code scanner at the end of each Riddle, by using the future found cards with QR codes to open Day 2 and all future anticipated windows, on any mobile device or computer with a camera. Remember, this game play mode is By Day & In Order, and windows on future days will not open for Searchers until around midnight on the day in question.    


Once the window has opened to the December 1st Treasure Page, the Searchers will discover Scripture, links to videos, quotes and a riddle that will guide them in their Search for the next Clue Card for December 2nd

Additional Tips for a Treasure Hunt and Celebration

Tip 1) Servants should understand their family and audience. The riddles are written for adults and adolescents, but Advent Search is designed to be shared with your family. Do it as family activity and offer personal hints about the objects in your home, without giving away the answers. Read the riddles together, guess at the objects and send younger family members out into the home to search for the cards. Create a reward for redeeming the cards. 

Tip 2) This Advent Search Calendar and Treasure Hunt can also be played all at once at a Christmas Holiday party with family and friends. The game mode should be set to default right before your party, with no boxes checked on the page at Instructions>Setup>Game Setup. Gather all your invited guests’ email addresses, add them to your Searcher page (Instructions>Setup>Add Searcher), and send them invitations from the Advent Search website (Instructions>Setup>Invite Searcher)

In your greeting to each invited guest, remind them to use and save the provided ID and password to login to the Advent Search site at home and at your party. In your greeting, also ask them to respond with a RSVP to your provided email address, and not the Advent Search email address, , that automatically populates the “To” field when the guest clicks to reply.

If any guests cannot, or do not attend, remove them from the game (Instructions>Setup>Searcher Details) and send them an invitation to play in their own home (Invite Servant on the main menu). You can also send the same invitation to those who do attend after your party. However, remember that anybody listed on your game as a Searcher, will not be able to Setup their own game, until their name and email is removed from your game (Instructions>Setup>Searcher Details).

With any party Advent Search game, you can be very creative. For example, the Servant can use a computer with a TV monitor to display the calendar and conduct the mode of play, by providing each guest with one of 25 riddles. Once they find the hidden card by the object or subject described in the riddle, they can redeem the card for a Secret Santa gift.

Have fun, have a Merry Christmas, and keep the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in your heart all year long!


© 2022 Guy C. Monahan