Tinsel and trees are great, but much of Christmas is about the surprise. As the advent calendar winds down to December 25, suspense builds. What unexpected gift will emerge from those brightly wrapped boxes and stockings?
If you’re struggling this early in the game, I have your back. Tap or click here for some great tech gift ideas. One of the hottest sellers this season will be smartwatches. Tap or click here for the best smartwatch to buy this December.
Keeping your gifts a secret is harder than ever, because so much shopping is done online, and the digital paper-trail is extensive. Household computers are replete with receipts and notifications, and it’s easy to forget how many ways a shared account can blow your cover. Worse, you may not even realize how many clues you leave.
Since Amazon has become the global nucleus of online shopping, you’ll be relieved to know that the company provides several settings and safeguards – mostly designed with the holidays in mind. (Although it’s also handy for birthdays and anniversaries). Just follow these three straightforward steps to keep your Christmas gifts under wraps.
And if you’re looking for some extra cash this December, tap or click here for some seasonal gigs that can bring in big bucks.
1. Hide Christmas presents from your kids
First step: make sure you hide your Amazon purchases. The easiest tactic is an Amazon Household account. You can share your Amazon account and Amazon perks like free movies on Prime with your family — and there's no additional cost.
Amazon Household includes one adult. This person has access to your stored payment methods and Prime perks, like free shipping. You can also share it with up to four teenagers and four kids 12 and under. This way, teenagers and kids won't have access to everything you're doing on Amazon.
Related: Did you know that you have a public profile on Amazon? Tap or click here to check your privacy settings on Amazon.com.
How does this prevent others from ruining Christmas? Teenagers have their own login, and you will either receive a text to approve their purchases or you can put a spending limit on their accounts. Kids will have access to free, kid-appropriate digital content, like Amazon FreeTime.
Note: You still can't hide your purchase history from another adult with an Amazon Household account. But hopefully, that second adult isn't trying to find their Christmas presents. You might try to warn them with a "spoiler alert," so they don't go poking around the "purchases" list.
2. Hide presents in your archive
If you're a parent or guardian, you know that no Christmas gift is entirely safe from early detection. Somehow, there's always one or two gifts that don't elicit squeals of surprise.
Digitally, though, there are ways to make it tough for anyone to see what you've purchased, including your Amazon online purchases. One way to do that is to archive your order history.
Related: 5 ways to save money on Amazon.com
That's relatively easy to do, and it's tricky for anyone to find those archived orders (although not impossible). Here's what you do.
Go to your Amazon homepage. Click on Orders in the menu to the right of Account & Lists.
You'll see your orders. Click on Archive Order on the right side of each item.
Here's the point: It's a little challenging to find those archived purchases. To find yours, go to Orders, then click on the drop-down menu where it says Past 6 Months and select Archived Orders -- you'll be given the option to unarchive an order.
3. Remove your browsing history
Your kids are smart or tricky, or both. They know where to find your Amazon purchases, and the items you've been searching for on the site. They also know that a browser's history is a dead giveaway – especially when cookies and targeted ads announce everything you've been reviewing for the past few days.
Related: Want to an Amazon.com delivery business? Tap or click here to learn how you can get started today.
You still have some control, and you can make it tough for others to find anything there.
It's easy to clear your browsing history on Amazon, although it could take several minutes if you've ordered a lot of items. Start by opening your Amazon homepage.
You'll see Browsing History on the upper-left side of the homepage. Hover over the drop-down menu. You will see your most recent purchases along with the date you purchased them. Hover over that date, and you'll see an X and the word, "Remove."
You can also click on the Browsing History link the menu. You can remove one item at a time or click on Manage History in the upper-right side to remove all items or to turn off your browsing history.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.
The most secure ways you can get your Amazon purchases for the holidays
As Christmas gets closer and closer and we begin to buy our friends and family gifts, we will start to receive all those Amazon packages on our front doorstep. But, that leaves those packages vulnerable to what some are calling "Porch Pirates," people who steal packages off your doorstep. There is a solution for that. Amazon has many ways that you can receive your packages and maintain security. Tap or click here to find out how to secure your Amazon purchases.