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How to Give an Unwrapped Christmas Gift and Maintain the Surprise

Updated on October 29, 2012

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. The family normally comes together and you get to open those long awaited gifts that Santa brought you.

In my house we do things a little differently. Santa's gifts are always wrapped in special Santa wrapping paper but there are those most important items, the ones at the very top of the "I want" list that need to be the first ones to be seen.

Maintaining the surprise of a Christmas gift without it being wrapped is as easy as planning and following through.

*warning* This hub is full of pictures from our Christmas' past, my kids are super spoiled!

Do you give unwrapped Christmas gifts?

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Depending on what type of gift it is, it can easily be set underneath the tree without being wrapped.

For our kids, in 2006, we decided it would be best to unwrap and assemble the "fun" gifts. The tool sets, the kitchen with some of it's fun fixings, the push and ride on toys and the large stuffed animals were all unwrapped this year. We also put some of the stuffed animals and smaller toys in the tree unwrapped. We would ask the kids if they could find something, kind of like a scavenger hunt. It was a fun little game.

In 2007 we were living at my Mom's house because my husband was deployed for 15 months so we made sure to wrap everything but the toys big toys from Daddy (the ones they really really wanted). Granted this year they just wanted to stop there and play with those toys but we got the convinced that it was ok to wait to play until they were all unwrapped.

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2006 | Source
2007 | Source

For 2008 we left most of the gifts unwrapped. We were getting ready to move overseas and it was just easier this way. The kids each had a few to unwrap or take out of the bags but most of all it was all right in front. There was also special candy hidden in the tree branches that the kids got to find. Turns out I didn't like doing it this way that much. It was fun seeing their faces but opening the gifts should be part of the fun too.

2008 | Source

2010 was another year my husband was deployed. This year I made sure to wrap everything but the bikes and the pillow/blanket that we got for our youngest daughter. We hung an iPod in the tree for our oldest daughter and man was she upset the whole time she was opening her gifts because she didn't get the iPod she was looking for. All she had to do was look at the tree. Silly girl!

2011 was our first year back in the states and our first Christmas in our new house. That being said, we didn't have a ton of money. Our kids are, of course, getting older and asking for more expensive gifts so this year we cut down on the "how many" and went with the "how much". Leaving the guitar unwrapped (mainly because it was a weird shape) was completely worth it to see the look on my daughters face.

What kind of gifts to give unwrapped

  • The gifts with weird shapes - If you are like me, you want every corner to be perfect and the tags to fit just right. With weird shaped boxes (like the guitar box, or toys that don't have cardboard covering part of it) it's hard to get those perfect corners. These gifts you can either take out of the package, or leave it in the package, and set under the tree exposed or put them in a gift bag. Saves you the hassle of trying to make it work right.
  • Large gifts - Some gifts are so big you have to use a lot of wrapping paper and tape. One year when I was little there was a box almost as big as the tree. It was wrapped and it took almost a whole roll of wrapping paper. If your gift is so large you have to use two strips of paper, you might want to consider leaving it unwrapped.
  • Tiny gifts - Small gifts such as necklaces or iPods look great hanging on the Christmas tree. It also adds a little "fun" to Christmas morning if you have to look for your gift.

Giving an unwrapped Christmas gift can be fun and more rewarding then wrapping them. As long as you can maintain the surprise (keep your kids or spouse in the bedrooms until morning) then it will be a huge success!


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    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      lindacee - Giving some of those gifts without paper will save on money, time and wrapping! AND you can still keep the surprise :) Thanks for the comment!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Great ideas, CassyLu! I think wrapping gifts is fun, but it has become increasingly expensive to do so and I feel guilty about using up so much paper, just to throw it away.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      always exploring - Awe, I've always wanted to do the puppy in a box idea! Come to think of it, that would probably be the best way to give a puppy in case he's a chewer and decides to open the rest of the presents by himself LOL I'm glad you had great memories from reading this hub :) Thanks for the comment!

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      rfmoran - Love that you are a wrapper :) I'm not big on surprise gifts. With my husband being gone all the time I feel I need to be in control of the house and money so when he spends a ton of money and I don't know what it's on (espically if it's something for me) I tend to get a little upset LOL I do love surprises, just ones I know are coming LOL Thanks for the comment :)

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Emma - My son never really got into the unwrapping of gifts when he was younger either. He just didn't understand that under that paper was his present LOL My son is now 5 1/2 and LOVES the paper more then the gifts sometimes. Bikes and scooters are always easiest leaving unwrapped, with a bow or ribbon. I've known people who would just put it in the garage or the driveway that morning and walk the kids out too. That way they can ride right away (weather permitting of course). Thanks for checking stopping by and the comment :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This reminded me of the Christmas when i gave my son a doggie in a box. I was so afraid that he would suffocate. I could have just placed him under the tree. What a wonderful Christmas that was..Thank you..

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Cassy I think there has to be some kind of wrapping, even if it's just a gift bag with some tissue paper on top. I'm a lousy wrapper but I always do so. Voted up and interesting, even though I still think the bigger the surprise the better.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I had never thought of leaving gifts unwrapped. But that would have really worked for my son when he was little - he was never interested in unwrapping his presents! In fact he was like that until just a couple of years ago (he'll be 10 in December). The bikes and scooters I got him (er, I mean Santa got him!) could have saved me a lot of effort and wrapping paper!