Santa has his workshop where he can keep his gifts until the big day. But for smart Santas in the real world who start their holiday shopping early, we’re left with the question of where to hide the gifts so that our secrets aren’t inadvertently revealed.

SpareFoot conducted a survey that found 47 percent of parents said that their children search around for hidden presents before Christmas. That’s one way to make the naughty list!

Top Hiding Places for Christmas Presents:

So where do parents hide Christmas presents anyway? SpareFoot also asked parents to give up their preferred hiding spots, and these are the most popular results:

  • 34.7 percent of parents hide presents in the closet
  • 18.1 percent in random spaces throughout the house
  • 12.5 percent  in the garage
  • 9.6 percent in the car
  • 9.2 percent under the bed
  • 8.8 percent at a friend of family member’s home
  • 3.5 percent in a self-storage unit
  • 3.5 percent in some other place

As it turns out, some of the most popular places to hide gifts are probably where your sneaky kiddos will look first. We turned to some expert sources—not, not the elves, but pretty darn close—for some Santa-approved tips for cleverly hiding and storing your gifts detection free.

Think Like a Snoop.

Where would you look for presents if you were being nosy? The top shelf in your bedroom? In a closet behind some boxes? Under the bed? If these are the first places you think of, they are surely the first places your kids will think of too. Mark these obvious spots off your list and move on to some more creative ways for hiding presents.

Use a Decoy Box.

As a mom of three boys who range in age from three to twelve, Gina Kirk, founder of Mom Life Must Haves, has a creative trick: hide toys in plastic bins or cardboard boxes that are labeled something the kids would have no interest in, such as “extra towels” or “placemats.” Then she can just stick them in any old closet or shelf in the garage, and no one even thinks to look.

Use Storage that’s Typically Used for Something Else.

Here are a few tricky places that don’t involve much subterfuge on your part.

  • Luggage. If you’re not planning to travel, old suitcases can do the trick, suggests Chantay Bridges of Los Angeles.
  • Old purses. Unless you have a fashionista who loves to play dress up, your “out-of-season” handbags can be repurposed as hiding places. Use them to stash your stocking stuffers so they won’t be found by snooping children.
  • File cabinets. Kids want nothing to do with the boring papers you keep in your home office. You can set the files on the bottom of the shelf rather than hanging them vertically to create room or relocate them to another spot temporarily.
  • Underwear drawer. Even if your kids suspect you might be hiding the latest video game in your underwear drawer, they’ll be too grossed out to dig through it.

Hide Them in Plain Sight.

That’s right; with some crafty wrapping tricks, you can leave the gifts out in the open, and they can guess all they want. (They’ll be wrong.)

  • A huge box for a tiny gift. This is a classic for a reason. We all know that good things come in little packages—but they’re not always much fun to open. But since these little gifts are typically on the spendy side (think electronics or jewelry), it can seem anticlimactic to tear paper off one box and be done.
  • A big gift in a small box. You can level up that trick by doing the opposite—using a tiny box for a huge gift. How? By printing a picture of the real gift (either one you take yourself or a photo online) and putting that in the box you wrap.
  • Wrap a present inside of another present. “My mom gave me some house-warming gifts one holiday, and she wrapped a new knife and scissors in dish towels that were also gifts to use in my apartment,” says Stacy Caprio of Chicago. “It made it extra fun to unwrap a present inside a present and saved on wrapping paper and environmental costs”

Take Them Offsite.

If you have kids (or a partner!) who loves the hunt, they are going to worry they’ve been bad boys or girls when they tear the house apart and find nothing. The only full-proof method of hiding Christmas presents is to store them offsite in a self-storage unit.

That’s why you sometimes see self-storage facilities cover up an “S” on their sign so that they can become “Elf Storage” for a month or too.

About Cathie Ericson

Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer specializing in business, health and lifestyle topics. Read more of her work at CathieEricsonWriter.com. Search for storage:

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Cathie Ericson