Your kid might have a very specific holiday gift wish list, but you still want to keep an element of surprise. You really don’t want them to know for sure they’re getting what they’ve asked for until they tear off the gift wrap. But kids are clever — and impatient. They want to find those gifts. Yes, the little monsters want to foil your plans.
This means moms — as if they don’t have enough to think about during the holiday season — have to be smart about holiday gifts. Good hiding places are essential. (And getting one over on your eagle-eyed offspring is kinda satisfying, too.)
Sometimes, finding the perfect hiding place involves trial and error. “My original hiding spot was a box that was hidden in the back of a closet in my master bathroom,” says Sarah N. from New Orleans. “It had been there for years. I often shop throughout the year for birthdays and holiday gifts so I don’t have such a huge financial hit all at once. One year, I bought my son a couple of Jurassic World Lego sets and hid them in the usual place. One day I was downstairs and he comes downstairs super excited about dinosaurs. Then he shows me what he has — the dinosaurs from his hidden presents. I ran upstairs and found the box ripped open. I took everything away from him, taped the ripped box back together and made him wait and open it at the right time — a few months later.”
To help you keep those holiday gifts hidden, here are tips from seven moms.
1. Zip ‘Em Up in Luggage
After Sarah N.’s dino-themed disaster, she gave the new hiding place some serious thought. “I had recently bought a new large suitcase but still had the old one,” she says. “So I decided to put all his gifts in the old suitcase in my bedroom closet. We travel a lot, so I knew suitcases were not interesting at all to him. It has worked out perfectly. It’s easy to pull the suitcase out and add things or take stock of what I already have. It’s roomy. And he walks by the open closet within full view of the gift suitcase several times a day and has no clue.”
2. Try an ‘Obvious’ Place
Sometimes, it’s those predictable places that kids don’t even consider. Lots of moms tell us that they rely on the top shelf of their closet to hide their holiday gifts. (Make sure you stash them way at the back, behind something large, just to be on the safe side.) “I keep fragile gifts in a cabinet in our master bathroom behind other stuff,” says Suzanne B. from Austin, TX. “This has been my hiding place for about seven years now, and the kids just walk right by.”
3. Stowe Them in the Back of Your Car
It’s worth thinking beyond the house for the best holiday-gift hiding spot. Lucy W. from Boston swears by stashing gifts in the trunk of her car. The bigger cargo space you have, the more gifts you can hide. “My son and daughter have no interest in what’s in the trunk of the car,” says Lucy. “I know the gifts are safe in the locked trunk until I’m ready to wrap them. Plus, I get a kick out of driving my kids around, knowing they’re completely oblivious to the fact that their holiday gifts are mere inches from their hands!”
A vehicle with ample cargo space like the Honda CR-V is ideal for hiding gifts. Combine this sneaky hiding spot with advice from other moms by stashing gifts tucked away in suitcases or trash bags to keep them out of sight of curious kiddos.
4. Hide Them at Grandma’s House
If your hiding places have been discovered too many times, you might have to go further afield. Ask a family member who lives close by if you can hide your gifts at their house. “I live six blocks from my parents’ house,” says Kathy R. from East Northport, NY. “Each year I keep our holiday gifts there and then wrap them there. We’ve lived here for 17 years, but I didn’t start having the gifts delivered to my parents’ house until last year. Not sure why it took me so long to figure this out!”
5. Store Them in a Trash Bag in the Basement
For non-fragile gifts, you can’t beat sticking them in a trash bag in the basement or garage, something Liz M. from Philadelphia, has been doing for several years. “I’ll send the kids into the basement for something, and they don’t think twice about it,” she says. Plus, you have the perfect excuse to keep the basement messy all year long. That way, nobody notices an extra trash bag.
6. Hide Them in Plain Sight
What do you do about holiday gifts that get delivered when your kid is at home? It’s a problem Aileen W. from Stone Ridge, NY, often faces. Her solution may be surprising — but genius. “If it’s around the holidays, my child always wants to know what’s in the box,” she says. “Luckily, my husband gets a lot of deliveries for work, so I keep the boxes in plain sight and say they are for Dad. I just pick it up, look at it, and say, ‘Oh, it’s just a work thing for Dad, so boring,’ and leave it in the hallway, where we keep all packages for my husband. Then when my husband comes home, he will walk by it a couple of times like it’s no big thing.”
7. Keep Them at a Neighbors’ House
Courtney J. from Erie, CO, has hidden gifts at her neighbors’ house — and returned the favor — but she warns that this only works if the item is something your neighbor’s kids won’t be interested in. “We hid a bike in our neighbor’s garage for my daughter,” she says. “I think they put a tarp over it, but my neighbor knew her boys would have no interest in it anyway since it was pink. One time, we hid a play kitchen in our garage for them. It wasn’t an issue since my daughter already had one!”
Go for one of these stellar hiding spots, and your kids have no chance of getting a glimpse of their holiday gifts ahead of time. Just don’t forget where you’ve hidden them!
This post is sponsored by Honda.