Keeping Christmas Present Hunters Guessing With QR Code Gift Tags


[Thadd Brooks] is a geeky dad of the highest degree. His kids are constantly trying to figure out what mom and dad bought them for Christmas, while he continues to think up ways to stymie their progress. He certainly could have put a few prank presents under the tree, but he opted to go a different route, confusing his smartphone-wielding kids with QR codes.

Each gift under the tree bears no name tag, rather they are adorned with a single QR code sticker which [Thadd] printed out. When scanned, the code brings his children to a page on his web server stating who the gift is for.

The catch? Well, the codes bring up a random page each time, attributing the gift to every member of the family along the way. There’s no chance that any of the kids will be able to correctly identify their gifts before Christmas Eve, when [Thadd] flips a switch on the server and reveals the actual gift recipients.

It’s certainly a clever, yet frustrating, way to keep his family on their toes, and we think it’s a pretty awesome idea.

If you’d like to see some of the pages he has created to confuse his kids, just click the “Search” button on the link above.

31 thoughts on “Keeping Christmas Present Hunters Guessing With QR Code Gift Tags

    1. The Random pages are only the end of a long hard journey the kids had to endure. I started the site months ago with a simple page stating you had to wait x number of days.

      The second phase required them to answer an impossible riddle.

      In all I had 9 different types of redirects on the urls that kept them coming back.

  1. You know… when I was a wee lad and wanted to know what presents were under the christmas tree I would just carefully open the presents and close them when I took a peek.

    Still a neat idea though.

  2. I like the idea. My family is behind the times so I think I will just print them off as the actual labels and not make it a screwy game. This will be a good way to introduce them to QR codes and force them to try it out.

  3. lol, that is pretty awesome. My dad was less tech savvy, but his trick one year was to take a mason jar fill it with a couple large pointy rocks (with a lid on it) put it inside a sealed metal box he had with a very small dab of epoxy on the bottom and he’d glue the jar to the bottom of the metal box. When we picked up the wrapped up box before christmas it would have weight and make a little sound as the weight of the rocks shifted it around, but if we shook it too hard (which I did) the weight inside the mason jar would shift and the epoxy bond would break tossing the jar inside the metal box and breaking it. Of course my dad recorded it all. The look on my face when I hear the breaking glass as I’m shaking the box… priceless.

  4. When my wife was young, her grandmother used to do something very similar in a low-tech way — she’d just number the packages, and had a secret list of what number went to who, which she wouldn’t reveal until time to open the packages.

    Then one year she lost the list….

  5. I also put QR codes on my tags this year – It was a convenient and fun feature of my label printer. I didn’t use them to obsfucate anything though. I just used them to give secret fun messages to my family members.

  6. Or you could put a chunk of thorium in each package, odd readings on a geiger counter are for one kid, even readings for the other.
    Or you could just use low tech like people successfully did for the last few centuries.
    I think I’m going to put QR tags on my toilet paper to find out which side is the butt side.

  7. I used QR code this year, since my wife wants to take a photography class, but her schedule is uncertain. So I put of a list of webpages for places giving classes, and put a QR code pointing to that page in an envelope for her.

  8. lame.

    Simply wrap each kids presents in a different wrapping paper.

    If you cant remember that little johnny has green paper and sally has red paper then as a parent you are an epic fail.

    And if you have 8 or more kids, Please learn about birth control.

  9. Know what you want and compare the package’s weight to’s shipping weight. My sister and I used to do this in 1986 with a Sears/JCP/Belks/Service Merchandise catalogs and our xmas wish list to grandmas. I had to update the method with amazon but most store websites also include shipping weight data in the descriptions. I’m sure this could be routed by throwing a brick in the package, but first rule of Present Weighing Club is you don’t talk about Present Weighing Club!

    /correctly predicted a Lobo2 and 3 rc cars, Metroplex, and a lego kit my mo…santa got me 4 years in a row lol.

    Everyone have a fun Holiday and hope the stockings are filled with blinky things for all :)

  10. I just scanned my first bar yesterday…I feel behind the times. Kids are scanning their gifts!!

    Kudos to Dad for being so Tech Savvy – and having that much time on his hands. My dad just wrapped rocks in shoeboxes until Christmas eve. Then the real gifts came out!

  11. Way to go with making your kids slaves to soon to be outdated technology.

    Does this same “dad” scan the implant in the kids hand, check it against the barcode on their forhead and then “allow” them “access” to the computer?

    I’d rather give the chemistry set, microscope and radio schlock 180 circuits kit to the kid and then go enjoy the whole day with them. Sounds like way too much work for a self absorbed dad.

  12. When i was a kid After the first time I found the presents she started keeping them in the trunk of her car well at least for 1 year didn’t take me long to get inside, After that she started keeping them at a relatives but she apparently didn’t think to dispose of or hide the receipts but I got good at not giving away the fact that i knew what i was getting. Always been very clever especial if i wasn’t supposed to find or get into something.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.