How to Hide Gifts and Keep Purchases a Secret

Posted on 11/26/2010

I don’t think I was more stealthy than other kids my age, but somehow by the time Christmas rolled around I always managed to figure out everything that was under the tree. I made it my December mission to hunt for clues, massage wrapped packages and even delicately peel back tape so I could take a peek. Coming from someone who has ruined countless surprises, here are tips for hiding gifts and keeping holiday purchases a secret.

Use Ribbon - Steady hands can easily pull back tape for small peeks at the packages underneath. Prevent present peeping by using ribbon to secure your package. This will make it even harder for a sneaky recipient to steal a glance.

Destroy Lists - I once found the list my mom made of everything she was buying my sister and me for Christmas, complete with check marks by most of the items she’d already purchased. While it was thrilling to uncover this blatant clue, it erased any sense of suspense for Christmas morning. If your goal is to keep your purchases a secret, destroy any list you make. Better yet, keep it on your phone or inside a password protected computer file.

Keep Gifts Off-Premise - My parents started to realize the only way to keep me from guessing my gifts was to keep some stashed at my dad’s office. They tried hiding them in the back of their bedroom closet, under their bed and even the dark scary part of the basement. But I found them. Try keeping gifts in a location that your recipient doesn’t have access to. They may wonder why there’s nothing good under the tree, but they’ll be surprised when it comes time to exchange presents.

Ship Gifts to Other Locations - Shipping gifts can be tricky. You may think you’ll be the one to get to the mail first that day, but if you’re not your whole surprise could be blown. Have gifts shipped to alternate locations—perhaps a neighbor, workplace or a relative’s home.

Pay with Cash - Your sister in Seattle may not have access to your online checking account statement, but your spouse probably does. Even though you may think they won’t notice the holiday purchase you made at Bob’s Bacon Warehouse don’t take that chance. Instead pay with cash and you’ll be much harder to track.

Put Boxes Inside of Boxes - CDs, DVDs, and Barbie dolls all have recognizable shapes. Even if you wrap them up, there’s a good chance that a nosy person will know right away what they’re getting. Throw them off by putting boxes inside of boxes, and adding random items to give the box extra weight, like cans of soup. They’ll have no idea what’s wrapped inside so besides giving them a lovely gift on Christmas morning, you’ll also be giving them a nice surprise.

By Alison Storm

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MJ Coan

Posted on 11.30.10 at 12:38 PM

Other hiding place...luggage! I didn't find them the year my parents hid them in the luggage!


Posted on 12.07.10 at 1:39 PM

Great idea MJ! As long as you're not planning on going anywhere for the holidays!

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