Delivering spoiler alerts: How online shopping can ruin the holidays

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CHICAGO (WGN-TV) -- This is a season that can be full of surprises.

Have you ever worried that one of yours could be spoiled before a special gift for a special someone even makes it through your front door?

According to analytics firm ComScore, shoppers now make 51% of their purchases online, up 4% from 2014.

Options may be better and security may be tighter, but shopping and shipping does come with some risk. We're not talking about theft this time. We're talking about getting outed as the secret gift giver in your household.

It’s not uncommon for boxes to be delivered to houses with the contents clearly spelled out on the outside with pictures, word or both.

WGN’s Julie Unruh spoke to some area parents whose holidays were spoiled – or nearly spoiled – because of what the delivery box had on the outside.

She also spoke to delivery drivers who say they try to do their part not to spoil any surprises.

And what do retailers have to say?

Kmart tells WGN

Kmart warehouses and stores use good judgment and overbox orders whenever possible to conceal the containments of the inside of the box, especially during the holiday season for items that could be a gift like toys and small kitchen appliances.

Kmart suggests if Santa’s elves want to keep their secret quiet this season, they should mark their items as gifts and have them gift wrapped or bagged before they submit their order.

Amazon also offers gift bags and had this to add:

 “Customers have several delivery options when ordering from Amazon. On the product information page, customers can see if the item they would like to buy will be shipped in its own container to reduce the environmental footprint of their order.  In those cases, customers can request the item be placed in an Amazon box for delivery as part of our concealment program to ensure holiday surprises."