Under the Tree

Under the Tree
Package Tactics

Andrew Eisen | 4 Dec 2007 08:15
Under the Tree - RSS 2.0

Buying a computer game? Well, if the fruit of your loins is still into action figures, stack one on top of the game box and wrap them together. You'll have a gift with a very odd shape. He'll never guess what it is. Unless he's the last son of Krypton, in which case he has X-ray vision and you're SOL no matter what you do.

The Infiltrator
The garment box.

All children know and fear the garment box. Its contents routinely bear something embarrassing, from underwear to a hideous sweater that would have been out of style in the '70s.

For this strategy, you're going to hide the game inside the garment. You know you can't resist buying clothes for your pride and joy, so don't try. Just make sure you fold the game inside the garment. That way, when Junior picks up the package to give it a good shake, all he'll hear is the familiar sound of a garment wrapped in tissue paper sliding back and forth.

If you're feeling particularly devious, combine this method with the Decoy. Wrap five or so empty DVD cases (with the index cards, of course) and stick them under the tree with the garment box. Junior will tear through all the empty DVD cases looking for his game before he gets around to the garment box. This is especially effective if you pulled the Decoy on him last year.

Eventually his game hunt will come up dry and he'll dejectedly reach for the garment box. He won't be expecting a game. His mind will be preoccupied with the inevitably embarrassing set of clothes he knows you expect him to parade around in. In fact, he may not even find the game until he's in his room trying on his snazzy new duds.

Just be aware that in his excitement he may run out half naked, so have the camera ready.

The Absconder
Don't wrap it.


That's right, this year it's not going under the tree. Instead, after Santa's done stuffing the stockings, have him sneak the game disc into Junior's console. Later that morning, after all the gifts have been opened, invite your disappointed-but-trying-not-to-show-it child to play a game he already has. Watch the expression on his face as he discovers what's already in his console. Haven't seen a smile that wide in a while, have you?


Warning! Know your gamer. To many, opening a game package is akin to a religious experience. Creative as he may find your gift-giving tactics, he may be a bit miffed that you opened his game. How would you like it if someone opened your Hickory Farms gift basket of meats and cheeses before presenting it as a Christmas gift?

Here's a rule of thumb: If the boy uses a razor to open his game packages and displays them on a shelf in alphabetical order, you should probably choose a different strategy.

The Mimic
This is an evil one. You'll love it.

Put the game inside a computer software box. Something Junior would never want or use. Say, Turbo Tax. Imagine the look on his face after he unwraps his new gift. Relish that confused look. Amuse at his feeble attempts to look grateful while trying to hide his thoughts of "Why the hell did they buy me this?"

Now enjoy his reaction as he pulls out the game he's always wanted. Hand in hand, skip merrily to the game room and play it together.

Miyamoto Bless Us, Every One!
And that's all there is to it! If you're looking for something other than the typical lackadaisical reception of your gaming gift, simply take my advice and enjoy the beaming smile it brings to your young one's face on Christmas morning.

Feels good to make the little bugger so happy, doesn't it? Enjoy it, you awesome parent you!

Now, what are you going to do next Christmas?

Comments on