How to Keep Your Gift Purchases Secret on Amazon

By Tracey Dowdy

Trying to guess what’s under the tree is an underrated holiday sport. I have a friend who used to shake, weigh, feel, and even sniff every gift in order to figure out what’s under the wrapping paper. One year, my mother-in-law randomly assigned a number to each gift instead of name tags to prevent my husband and his siblings from guessing. It was a perfect plan – until she lost the list. It’s a great memory for the family, as every gift was a surprise – even for her.

These days, with so much of our shopping done online, it’s arguably easier than ever to “peek” at your gifts. With shared access to tablets, smartphones, and family computers, it’s just a matter of a click or two, and voilà! – there’s your order history in full view.

Amazon Prime is Santa at my house and, even in a house full of adults, I have to be careful to keep my orders secret. I share a Prime account with my daughter and it’s just a matter of clicking Menu>Your Orders and a complete order history appears. Even if you’re not snooping but just checking the status of an order, it’s impossible to miss.

One way to avoid this is to clear your browsing history. Under the search box on the homepage, click on Browsing History, then click Remove next to any item you want to delete from the list. To clear it all at once, go to Browsing History>Manage History>Remove all items.

You can also choose to toggle off your Browsing history and re-activate it after the holidays.

Another option is to create an Amazon Household homepage. Amazon allows one additional adult plus up to four teens and four children. You don’t need to be a Prime member but Prime members can share benefits within the household. (This doesn’t apply to Amazon Student Prime members).

Through Amazon Household, you can create an additional profile to use for holiday or birthday shopping and keep your order history private on your primary account.

Finally, I suggest turning off Recommendations, since Amazon will make suggestions on related products based on your browsing history. There’s not much point in clearing your browsing history when all those related products will be there in full view. Go to Browsing History >Improve Your Recommendations> Don’t use for recommendations, or This was a gift.  Now, Amazon disregards the purchase when formulating your recommendations.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


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