In honor of the Twelve Days of Christmas, 12 boxes will be hidden throughout Grove City as part of a new course available at the Grove City Parks and Recreation Department.

In honor of the Twelve Days of Christmas, 12 boxes will be hidden throughout Grove City as part of a new course available at the Grove City Parks and Recreation Department.

Residents will be able to attend a free class on letterboxing, “The 12 days of Christmas Letterboxing 101,” from 10 to 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at the lower level of City Hall, 4035 Broadway.

Akin to geo-caching, letterboxing is a hobby that involves using a set of directions to hunt for a box hidden at a specific location.

“It’s something that everyone can do,” said Jennifer Uhrin, who will teach the class.

While geo-caching uses GPS coordinates to find trinkets to collect, letterboxing uses clues from a web site, Uhrin said.

Participants search for the letterboxes while carrying their own inkpads, logbooks and handmade stamps. Each letterbox has its own stamp and logbook. Once they find a letterbox, participants stamp their own logbooks with a stamp found inside the letterbox. They use their own personal stamps to leave their marks on the logbook inside the letterbox, and then hide the box again.

During the class, designed for first-timers, participants will receive literature outlining letterboxing’s history and some tips. Each family will be able to make one homemade stamp with onsite carving kits. Stamps are made by first tracing an image onto tracing paper and then rubbing the image onto a stamp. The image is then carved into the material, which is similar to a pencil eraser, but softer.

Participants can visit www.atlasquest.com to look for clues to the letterboxes’ locations, which are based on the geographical layout of the site. Uhrin said the 12 letterboxes will be hidden on outdoor public property.

Uhrin, new to letterboxing herself, recently tried her hand at searching for one. While it took her less than 10 minutes to find one, she said search times vary.

Letterboxes “can be very challenging to get, depending on how deep you want to get into it,” she said.

Uhrin said the Atlas Quest website shows 12 or so letterboxes currently hidden in Grove City. About 100 are hidden within a 30 mile radius of the city. Boxes date from 2008 to 2011.

According to the Atlas Quest website, letterboxing originated in 1854, when Victorian guide James Perrott hid a bottle in Dartmoor, Eng-land. Perrott left his calling card so those who found it could contact him and leave their calling cards.

The British hobby came to North America following a 1998 Smithsonian Magazine article.