This is an old warning, but an important one, at least if you don’t want to ruin Christmas. Want to ruin Christmas? By all means, ignore this valuable piece of advice. But if you plan on gifting a video game console this year, whether that’s an Xbox Series X/S, a PS5, a Nintendo Switch, an Oculus Quest, a last-gen console or really anything, you’ll want to do some preparation in advance of Christmas morning.

On Christmas Eve or earlier, you’re going to want to open up that console, plug it in, and get it set up. Some of this will be obvious: you’ll turn on the console and it will likely download an update to bring it up to speed. If you want to get fancier, you can setup an account if your giftee doesn’t have one yet, even download some games if you’re giving some to go along with the gift. Trust me, it’s a good idea.

The reason for this is simple: a ton of people like to give consoles for Christmas, and not all of them are as smart as you are. That means that they are going to all open them at around the same time and absolutely slam those servers as soon as breakfast is over and it’s time to start playing. And since those servers just aren’t designed for that level of traffic, that means crashes or just incredibly slow movement. Same goes for other “first time” sorts of actions, like setting up accounts.

The last thing you want on Christmas morning is to spend a few hours staring at a download screen, waiting for an update to conclude. If you want to make the whole thing as seamless as possible, try to get the console to a point where you can successfully play a game. After that, feel free to put it back in the original packaging or get creative and disguise it as an ugly sweater or somesuch.

Then, you can just play your games and check twitter to see if anything is crashing and feel superior, because you’re already playing. If things crash really hard this might still be a problem, but you should still do your best to avoid it, if possible.

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