My birthday is on Christmas Day, so it is sometimes difficult to celebrate it separately during the hectic holiday season. We often go out to dinner after the holidays instead of trying to cram it into other festivities.

This year a friend asked me, “What would you like to do to celebrate your birthday?” Usually I’m asked, “Where would you like to go to dinner?” So this was different and what popped into my head was that I’ve always wanted to go on a scavenger hunt, but I’ve never done that. I love puzzles and solving problems, and have always been intrigued by the phone tours in NYC that are really quasi-scavenger hunts.

So I started thinking about “out to dinner” differently. I decided I’d like to go to three different places we enjoy and have just appetizers at each one—no dinner… and maybe to a fourth for dessert.

And in the meantime, our friend got busy and created a “game” for me to work on while we were out gallivanting! I got points for accomplishing tasks, and I could trade those points in for prizes.

So imagine having to take a selfie with your server, or exchanging business cards with your server, or buying a drink for a stranger, or sharing a secret with your dining companions. My favorite, though, was to find out the name of our server’s mother!

I love people, and I love learning more about them. Our server’s name was Nash! So I asked if he was named after a car…and he wasn’t. He was named after a musician. And his brother’s middle name is Crosby. He didn’t have to tell us his parents were hippies, but he did. So I asked about his mother—did she have an interesting name, too? Turns out, her name is Jeorgina or something like that. Named after her father or grandfather George, but spelled with a J instead of a G.

So now I’ve been on an actual scavenger hunt of sorts, and I didn’t have to tromp through the woods or go geo-caching or Pokemon-ing. I loved it, and intend to go through the list again and again!