You have good reason to feel pleased with yourself if you’ve already made the list, checked it twice, and started running around to purchase gifts for your children. Of course, even if you’re this far ahead of the game, it isn’t easy to be an agent of holiday magic; there are complications, mostly in the form of curious little brains, and fingers quite capable of rooting through the most well-concealed packages.
You need to hide those purchases and hide them well, because all children, whether or not they can count or tie their shoes or make a sandwich, turn into sophisticated, pint-sized Sherlocks this time of year. It’s like these little sleuths are determined to not be surprised! They’ve got their tiny eyes on us this month and they are not blinking. So here are some hiding places that are worth trying, although when it comes to outfoxing children around holiday time, there are no guarantees.
Under the Bed: If there’s any space left under there, i.e., if you haven’t already crammed all your summer clothes in that small space (most of which you’ve “outgrown”), then this is an option. Just make sure no one suggests a game of hide-and-seek, because this is a perfect place for a small child to hide and also suddenly seek that new transformer he requested.
Trunk of the car: Just toss the purchases in the back and secretly chauffeur them around all month. This works best if you have a trunk that fully closes and locks. It doesn’t work as well if you have a hatchback or an SUV with free access all the way back and an acrobatic child who has to do a few rounds of full-car parkour before finally settling into his car seat.
Clothes dryer: What’s nice about the dryer is that you can use it as an excuse to take a break from laundry all month–i.e. Oh, well <sigh> the dryer is out of commission right now. While there is absolutely no chance your child will open that door in order to help you with household chores, he might go on a mission to find his beloved Superman T-shirt (still dirty, at the bottom of the hamper) and discover the passionately-requested Airplane LEGO kit you were trying to stow in there instead.
High Cabinets: If you have space. Of course, that’s unlikely thanks to those dusty margarita glasses you haven’t used in seven years. The other requirement is that you have a child who is afraid of heights. Most other kids seem to be born with invisible ladders: they bust them out and climb them so quickly when we’re not looking.
Storage Space: Consider renting out a secure storage space a few miles away. Even though this is not cost effective and certainly cancels out all the deals you got on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is the perfect keep-away. Just don’t lose the key or forget the pass-code, or you’ll have to start the shopping process all over again, like your own holiday re-make of Groundhog Day.
Under the Tree: Go ahead and just wrap up the presents and place them under the tree, based on the perfectly reasonable idea that wrapping paper is a disguise and deterrent. Then, ask your child politely to please not rip them open. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
The Store: The absolute best way to make sure your child is surprised is to just leave all those gifts in the stores. In other words, run out on Christmas Eve or on each day of Hanukkah and pick up gifts at the very last minute. Yes, this diminishes the chances that you’ll find exactly what was requested, but, to be honest, the spelling and penmanship in that letter was a little unclear anyway… besides, a different, un-requested gift could be the biggest surprise of all.