Protect the Surprise: 5 Ways to Hide Holiday Boxes

gifts on steps

We're fast approaching a bountiful season, a festive season. The HOLIDAY season. For those of us who will shop until we drop on Black Friday — or scroll for miles on Cyber Monday — the deals will be plentiful and our purchases many: Box after box of gifts for loved ones, all arriving safely to our homes, well protected in paper-based packaging.

But what to do with all those boxes? As gift-givers, we're faced with the challenge of keeping a gift a secret because much of the delight in exchanging gifts comes from actually unboxing a gift. When we give a gift, we’re charged with protecting the recipient’s joyful suspense — just as the box protects the treasure that’s inside. It’s a big responsibility, so to help you keep the gift-giving season merry and bright, here are five ways to hide your boxes from prying eyes.

1) Gift Swap This is a time-tested, box-hiding method with a twist. Partner with neighbors and friends, and arrange to have your gifts shipped to their houses — and offer to return the favor. You can store each other’s gifts until it’s time for wrapping. If you want to add an extra layer of security, you can also wrap each other's gifts.

Pro tip: If you agree to wrap each other’s gifts, double check which boxes should be addressed to which recipients. (After all, you wouldn’t want Grandma to receive the special romantic gift that you bought for Hubby.)

2) Hide Away in a Hideaway If your family is just too nosy or if you lack storage space in your home, don’t despair. Take your box-wrapping operation off site. You can rent a small storage space for $50 or less and house your goodies there for the season. You can even save on the rental cost by partnering with the nice neighbor who’s taking your deliveries.

Pro tip: Store scissors, tape and wrapping supplies such as Kraft paper and raffia ribbon, and wrap your gifts in the secrecy of the storage unit.

3) ‘This is Not a Present for You — Really’ When is the perfect gift not a perfect gift? When the box it comes in is cleverly disguised as something much less exciting.

Camouflaging a box is easy:

  1. Open the box and re-tape to close. Use a different kind of tape, like duct tape or painter's tape. Be sure to cover any telltale branding.
  2. Use a marker to label the box something innocuous like, "summer clothes" or "old bank statements.”
  3.  Place in basement or attic until time to wrap.

Pro tip: Label the box “tax documents” — because no one wants to open a box labeled “tax documents.” Also, it should go without saying that you should NOT mark the box "holiday ornaments." (Yes, we said it anyway, just to be safe.)

4) Deck the Halls — at the Office Work smarter — not harder! — when you hide your gifts. Take deliveries and stow your gifts at your office. You can also store a stash of wrapping supplies, and when you're off the clock, you can wrap them there, too.

Pro tip: Do NOT make gift wrapping a team-building exercise. It’s a very personal experience; do it yourself.

5) Amateur Hour: ‘No One Will Ever Think to Look Here’ If the gift boxes are small, and the recipients aren’t overly curious types, you can try some of the more timeless gift-hiding tactics, like putting a box in your sock drawer. Or better yet: Take the boxes on the road — in the car trunk. (You know who else drives around with gifts? Hint: His name rhymes with “Fanta.”)

Almost-pro tip: Stashing boxes under the bed can also work — but only if you're the only one who ever cleans under the bed.