Seven Strategies to Stop Snooping

Every family get hit with snooping from time to time.  When it happens to us, I just want to yell “STOP SNOOPING!”

Keeping all those gift wrapped presents a secret can be a challenge under normal circumstances.  But with a dedicated snooper… yikes.

It may be Aunt Mable shaking and listening, or maybe it’s Uncle Angus squeezing and sniffing, or cousin Petunia that can somehow cause enough “tape failures” to actually SEE what’s hidden under the wrapping paper.

The worst part about a snooper is when they loudly proclaim what’s in the box BEFORE they even open it.

Or maybe the worst part is the five minutes they spend playing detective while everyone else WAITS for them to open the gift.

Or maybe it’s the endless policing to keep cousin Petunia from being near the Christmas tree unattended.

Sigh.

seven snooper proof strategies to stop snooping

I have a family of snoopers.

My brother was the master of “tape failures.”  One year he had snooped out every gift for BOTH of us long before Christmas day.

My uncle is a shaker and a squeezer.

My father in law does it all.  He takes snooping to an entirely new level.

Challenge accepted.

(I’ve got a winning average.  More years than not, I defeat the snoopers.  All of them.)

Seven winning strategies to stop snooping

seven snooper proof strategies to stop snooping

  1.  Pick the right materials.  Shiny foil paper is EASY to un-tape.  It was my brother’s first target.  My mom might has well have just thrown things into gift bags.  You know what he couldn’t get into?  Tissue paper.  All those amazingly pretty patterns of tissue paper DESERVE to be seen.  You know what else works?  Using a GLUE GUN to seal the paper closed.  Evil, but it worked.

  2.  Hide the size.  I remember when people were given LP records as gifts (that’s the big black vinyl disc that looks like a jumbo DVD).  Those things were a dead give-away under the tree.  CD’s and DVD’s aren’t much better.   Sticking it in a big box isn’t enough.  The weight is wrong.   You need to go for deliberate mis-information.  Tuck a DVD into an empty canister of oatmeal and then wedge bags of popped popcorn on each side.   Slide a small gift into a shoe box and fill it with jingle bells.

  3.  Disguise the shape.  My favorite gifts come already boxed.  It makes it SO much easier to wrap them.  That same box can be a give-away to the dedicated snooper.  Trust me.  They KNOW what size box an iPad comes in.  Wrap the gift.  Then tape tea lights to the corners of one side and re-wrap.  The tea lights will feel like little furniture legs.  Your snooper will guess “jewelry box” or “humidor.”

  4.  Change the weight.  Nothing messes with a snooper like five dollars worth of pennies in the bottom of the box.  Particularly when the pennies aren’t evenly distributed.  The box will feel heavier on one side – like a motor for an electronic toy.

  5.  Change the sound.  Gifts like Legos and puzzles have a distinctive sound.  It’s hard NOT to know what it is.  A small plastic container filled with jingle bells helps.  Jingles on the outside of the packaging are not enough.  Your snooper will just hold those still  – trust me.  You can work wonders by tucking those noisy boxes into bigger boxes filled with cello wrap (the kind that makes crinkle noises).

  6.  Hide the smell.  Some gifts have a distinctive fragrance.  A few squirts of room freshener on the bow should TOTALLY take care of that.

  7.  Get tricky.  Some gifts just can’t be disguised.  No matter what you do they have such a unique size or shape that nothing will hide them.  Don’t even try.  Wrap PART of it instead.  Instead of wrapping the tell-tale shape of a new game system, just wrap up the controllers.  Hide the iPhone in an ornament on the tree and wrap up an old land-line phone.

Bonus tip:  Booby traps.   For a serious case of snooping, there’s nothing wrong with guerrilla tactics.  If your snooper is trying to figure everything out before Christmas day, there are ways to discourage them. Hide a joy buzzer under a bow.  Borrow the kid’s spy gear toys and rig a perimeter alarm.  Ask your dog loving neighbor for her zap-it mat. See if your geeky friend has an extra spy cam.

If any of these seem over the top, just remember that it’s for their own good.  Reformed snoopers have admitted that being surprised on Christmas is much more fun than snooping ever was!

Got a snooper?

If you need ideas on how to be sneaky, ask away! I’d love to help.

Are you a snooper?  Got a confession?  Need help to stop snooping?

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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Comments

  1. Hello Susan, what you think about snoop on your guy? I think some information about this. Let’s say you’re madly in love. Things are going great. But that little voice in your head tells you that this guy can’t possibly be as good as he seems. He must be hiding something. So you glance, casually at first, at the stack of mail on his countertop, or poke your fingers in between the cushions of his couch, while he’s pouring you a glass of wine. Then, while he runs out to pick up your pizza with extra cheese you conduct an intensive all-out search mission that could rival the CIA.

    • That’s a completely different topic. But I’ll give it a whirl.

      1. Trust your heart. I didn’t get married until I was 35 – that’s a LOT of dating. Every time that little voice in my head was talking, it ended up being right.
      2. If a relationship doesn’t have trust, it won’t last.
      3. BUT (and this is big) – don’t do anything stupid. For new relationships where trust hasn’t happened yet. If he really is that good and you’re just having a hard time with trust because of something stupid some other guy did, it may just need time. In that case, what worked for me was to TELL the guy I needed to snoop because I was having a hard time with the trust thing. His reaction told me all I needed to know. Guy#1 blew up and turned out to be a jerk. Guy#2 started opening drawers, pulling up email accounts, and helping me snoop. I’m still married to that one 14 years later.
      4. As in all things of the heart, you need someone you can trust. Random strangers on the internet (me) aren’t likely to give you as good of advice as a Godly mentor – a wiser and more experienced woman who can listen to your heart and help you find God’s best for your life. Sweetie, you should be at church this morning asking this question of your mentor. Drag the guy along with you. If he won’t darken the door of a church he isn’t good enough for you.

  2. Wow! Great job on the dating advice! Now, about gift snoopers, your list is awesome! Jingle bells packed with Legos? Of course! Tea lights to disguise the shape? Brilliant! I have a full day of wrapping ahead of me later this week and I’m going to implement some of these clever tricks. Because, although we don’t have any criminal snoopers, I absolutely hate when someone can easily figure out what is in a gift before they open it. Might as well skip even the gift bag and just leave the CDs in the Target bag under the tree!
    Mo recently posted..The Mall of MomMy Profile

    • I actually don’t give many CD’s. I hand out iTunes gift cards or equivalent. It’s just easier. But when I DO wrap a CD, I like to hide it in the middle of an ugly Christmas sweater. Just picture it. They open the box and thing “yuck!” – you make them try it on to model it for a photo and then they discover the REAL gift. As a bonus, you get a great blackmail photo of them in an ugly sweater.

      You can use a CD case to hide the gift card to iTunes. Grab some nasty CD from the dollar store (or your own collection) and tuck the gift card inside. Watch as your snooper is bummed out at the horribly bad choice in music and even more appalled that you want to play the CD right this second. Then BOOM – gift card goodness and all is forgiven.

      I view it as a giant game. My non-snooping relatives that can pretend to be shocked when they open a DVD sized package and find a DVD inside don’t get abused like this. But for the snoopers… game on.

  3. My confession: I was a snooper as a kid, so I deserve all I get really :). BTW I love the glue gun idea, I’m digging it out this year for gift wrapping!

  4. You can also mislabel the packages. Or leave labels off and use one kind of wrapping paper per kid. Or number the presents. I did that for several years and it drove my kids INSANE! I was ecstatic. It was SO much fun!!!

    Great ideas, Susan.
    Patty recently posted..Solving Laundry IssuesMy Profile

    • My mom stopped labeling packages shortly after the year my brother caused “tape failure” on all his gifts. I don’t think he slowed him down by much. It just doubled the number of gifts he had to snoop. Given how absent minded I can be, I’m afraid I’d forget what was in which package. 🙂

      But I admit. I LOVE driving my kids (and other gift recipients) insane with my gift wrapping.

      I have been known to wrap a few decoy boxes. I was too lazy to put all the Christmas decoration boxes back up in the attic so I just wrapped them instead. Pure bafflement.

  5. Sheer genius, Susan! I have a husband who can ALWAYS tell what his gift is, even when I try hard to disguise it. I love the tea candle idea, and will definitely use that this year!
    Lorinda – The Rowdy Baker recently posted..Brownie BombeMy Profile

  6. I laughed SO MUCH reading this! I was always the snooper in the family and now I’m the over-wrapper. No one else seems to care as much as I do.

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