Christmas Camouflage

Hacking the Holidays


Our 1970′s Lincoln Mark V had white leather seats, a big V8 and a huge carpeted trunk.  Bags and bags of Christmas treasures were locked in that trunk, safe from prying little hands.  My hands, however, were connected to a brain that remembered the remote trunk release.

My younger brother and I had enough time to retrieve our gifts, unwrap them, play with them and rewrap them before our parents returned. The cardboard packaging was easily defeated, without today’s seventy twist-ties, ten tiny screws and hot glued seams. Ahh,  the plastic multicolored gravity car track.  little cars placed at the top zip down and around until they bump against the end stop.  The smirk is still on my face, the scam seemed perfect.

I’m going to say my brother cracked under pressure and spilled the beans, but I don’t remember how the deal really went sour. I do remember that unwrapping the gifts the second time beneath our flocked tree and the betrayed eyes of our parents was not a happy time.

Think then, of the tips I’m about to offer on Christmas Camouflage, not as cruel tricks to fool and deceive your delightful children, but as medicine to prevent Christmas sorrow after sleuthing out their presents ahead of time. They’ll thank you one day.

The Barren Tree Keep presents out of sight until the time arrives to open them.  Blame it on Santa’s delivery service and store them at a friends house or in a trunk with no remote release. They can’t shake what they can’t see.

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Santa’s New Clothes  Lego, I love ya, but your products are so easily discovered under a tree.  Kids can nudge the box, hear the rattle of minifigs and know instantly.    Tear open those Lego boxes and add a little tape around the bags of Lego to muffle the clink.  Add some strategic weight to the box, a little creative redirection and your kid might think he’s getting a Barbie this year. Bionicle boxes are a unique shape and size. Rebox in the standard department store clothes box with a pile of socks and underwear on top for a little extra Christmas morning fun.

Enigma Effect  If they don’t know which present belongs to them, they won’t be able to tell which ones are worth shaking.  Code the tags on each present and only release the key in time to open.  Wrap all the presents for each person in the same paper, but don’t reveal the pattern.   

It’s Alive!  Insert a Bristlebot into one of their packages. A flexible conductor attached to the motor lead should  create a randomly sensitive switch and cause it to buzz inside the box.  This is probably the one they will open first, whether Christmas has arrived or not.

My kids are angels at Christmas, they take after me.  Ask your parents how good you were as a child at Christmas.  After they finish laughing, ask them about your worst Christmas criminal caper and post your story in the comments. 

Parenthacks and their readers had some great ideas for Christmas Camouflage too.

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