Important PSA: Update Gadget Gifts Before You Wrap Them

So you pulled out the big guns and you got your son (age 27 or otherwise) a console. You're justifiably excited about the Christmas morning surprise, but there's one thing you must absolutely remember to take care of before you wrap that gadget gift: Update the firmware. Trust us.

Here's the deal. If you don't download the latest update before you give it, your eager recipient won't be able to actually, you know, enjoy the gift until they go through the arduous updating process themselves. And that's an extra horrible chore on Christmas morning, when the networks are clogged up because everyone and their dog is trying to update something or other too. So if you're picking up a Playstation 4, the Xbox One, or even Wii U, open it up, plug it in, turn it on, and let the downloads begin. Updates can take up to an hour or two, even if you have you have a good internet connection, so be sure to give yourself ample time.

And don't just stop with the console. Games can have big patches as well. So if you're gifting anything from Destiny to Skylandersand you're absolutely positive little Billy won't want to return them—pop 'em in and update like a madman until you can get to gameplay. Set up your own secret account on the box if you have to; downloads should carry over. And if you're a real hero, hop into singleplayer and multiplayer. A smart gift-giver is a good gift-giver. And a kid who's not able to play their fancy new gaming system is a very unhappy kid.

This applies to more than just consoles; with any gadget gift, it's a good idea to take them out of the box and simply make sure they're working. No matter how good the gift is, it's a little disappointing if you can't use it right away. Giving a laptop, tablet, or phone? You'll want to make sure everything is running A-OK, and see if there are any updates to be had. And while you're at it, top off the charge.

If something goes wrong, there's still time to run back to Best Buy or Apple or what-have-you for an exchange or a refund. This is also a crucial opportunity, if you're anything like my dad, to set the phone up so you can pull a classic Dad Prank wherein you call the powered-up, still wrapped phone on Christmas morning, making the recipient scramble to find which box is ringing under the tree.

Updates and double- and triple-checks will certainly take some of your time, which of course is precious during these next five—yes, only five—days until Christmas, but ultimately it's worth it. You'll save your loved one some headache when he or she is ready to use the gift you spent time and money finding, and you'll secure your status as a savvy, thoughtful giver. And it's the thought that counts, isn't it?