If you’re thinking of giving someone an Xbox, PlayStation, Wii U, 3DS, Vita, or iPad this Christmas, there’s something you can do to sweeten the deal even more for the recipient: download every update for the console first.

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Yes, this will require you to open the gift, take the console out, and then repack it—which sucks if you bought the console brand-new. If you keep the receipt and are careful, though, downloading updates shouldn’t be a big deal. Let me explain.

Nowadays, new video game consoles are a huge drag. No longer can you simply plug a console in and start playing it, like the good old days—chances are very good that you’ll have to sit through some long updates first. Depending on your internet connection, these updates can take hours, especially on a high-traffic day like Christmas. Take it from our pals at Deadspin, who recently chronicled the nightmare that is setting up a new console. It’s the worst. Even friggin’ controllers need updates in 2015. The tedium that comes with getting a new console up and running does not jive well with the relaxed joy of Christmas!

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While opening a new gift isn’t ideal, my gut tells me that the recipient might overlook this detail if it means they can just hop right in and start playing their new games. Hell, you might even get thanked for it. Obviously, it depends on who is getting the gift, too. This advice is easier to follow if you’re dealing with close family, like a son or a daughter, or perhaps a significant other.

If you know the gift recipient well, you might even feel comfortable downloading a few apps you know they’ll use in the future as a means of saving them even more time. Or, if the console comes packed with games, you might think about installing/updating those puppies before giving them out on Christmas, too. Installing/updating games might be trickier, though, since games are more casually gifted between friends. Anyone gifting a game might not necessarily have easy access to the console it will be played on. But if you can swing it, you should definitely consider downloading updates for video game gifts, too.

Anything you can do to cut the time between opening the gift and letting the user play it will be a godsend, trust me.

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Image by Sam Wolley and Tara Jacoby.


Contact the author at patricia@kotaku.com.