In response to "Package Tactics" from The Escapist Forum: This feature made me smile and remember my own Christmas stories.
I've always been a Christmas present snoop and my Dad knew it. Years and years of presents with small rips in the corners the paper, scotch tape I had carefully (but obviously) reapplied after lifting the folds, and bows used to conceal precision cut stamp sized flaps in the wrapping.
The giving season had turned into a game of spy vs. spy.
My Dad was never one to back down from a challenge. Most of the gifts were usually clothes, with maybe a few cassette tapes or a Nintendo game. But each year, I would get one or maybe two "great" presents for Christmas. Those were the ones we battled over. Multiple layers of different colored wrapping paper. Boxes placed inside so many other boxes that they resembled russian nesting dolls. He came up with new strategies each year that I would usually defeat.
One year a wooden winebottle box containing an RC car had to be opened with a clawhammer. He found "someone" had drilled a hole in the side just large enough to shine a penlight. Suspicion fell on me when he found I had already built a ramp.
I remember Christmas 1989 when I was caught completely by surprise. Two large and extremely heavy boxes had been sitting under the tree for two weeks with my name on them. Each box was obviously a shell containing an actual present tucked inside. They were too heavy for the "lift and shake" method. Beneath the wrappings, each box had been fully encased in a layer of brown packing tape. Drilling expeditions had only returned shredded cardboard or newspaper-like pulp. I didn't dare drilling too far to risk damaging my unknown present. It drove me crazy.
On Christmas eve, I unwrapped a 50 lb up box of Duraflame fire logs with most of the logs still inside. Under the top layer of logs was my new Nintendo Powerglove. I think I fell asleep wearing it and dreamed I was the Wizard.
On Christmas morning, I unwrapped the second box. It was a three box affair. Inside the outer box was a second box surrounded by phone books (including one with a 2-inch deep hole newly drilled through it). Inside the second box, surrounded by newspapers, was my first Gameboy.
In response to "Digital Footprints" from The Escapist Forum: This was one of the most beautiful and thought provoking things I've ever read on the internet.