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How to keep gifts secret and hidden

Surprising loved ones and friends with gifts is part of the excitement of the holiday season. It can be just as exhilarating for gift-givers to witness the gifts being opened as for the recipients who are tearing into the paper to reveal their gifts. But in order for presents to be the ultimate surprises, it is essential for items purchased to remain a secret. 

Whether shopping online or in-store, gift buyers can do their best to hide gifts from others.

Online shopping
The popularity of online shopping has now made it possible for just about anything to be purchased from the comfort of home or while on-the-go. This same convenience has created a new obstacle pertaining to keeping gifts a secret, especially from a spouse or children living in the same house. Gift-givers have to essentially be package ninjas, intercepting parcels from delivery people and burying the digital trail leading back to the purchase. Here are some tips for success.

• Clear your web search history and computer cache frequently on shared devices. This way you avoid loved ones stumbling across past searches for gifts as well as seeing all of those advertisements that seemingly pop up magically in accordance with your search history.

• Use your work email for receipts and purchase correspondence. This helps when spouses share one email account.

• Investigate if online retailers have private shopping modes, which may mask purchases from others.

• Create a family account to mask orders. Retailers like Amazon enable you to set up family sharing. This way each family member can have a unique log in, which will then separate order history logs among relatives. This helps relieve the stress of wondering if the kids saw your long history list of past purchases.

• Turn off push notifications of purchases or when the items will ship. This is key for those who share digital devices and accounts. You'll avoid the message of "Name item has just shipped" from being shared with others.

• Opt to have items shipped to the store for in-store pickup, or arrange for an alternate delivery address.

In-store purchases
Shoppers who do the bulk of their shopping at brick-and-mortar shops may have an easier job of keeping purchases a secret.

• Invest in a nondescript, opaque shopping tote that will not draw attention to where you have shopped. Retailers love to emblazon their shopping bags with names and logos, and that can cue savvy kids and adults as to where you shopped.

• Pay in cash as much as possible. Reduce the paper trail of purchases by purchasing the more secretive gifts with cash.

• Tuck receipts into a well-hidden place that others will not think to look.

• Consider shopping on lunch hour at work and hiding gifts in the office until they can be brought to the house when others are not home.

Regardless of how gifts are purchased, make sure to promptly wrap and hide presents so they are not discovered before the big day.

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