What’s Hot for Christmas?
Looking for cool stuff to give your kids, husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend this Christmas? With changing technology and trends, it can be tough to know what’s hot and what’s not when giving gifts this holiday season. Luckily for you, I’ve done my research to come up with gift ideas so you’ll have an easier time finding just the right gift for your loved one.
If you go for Android, you’ll love the Samsung Galaxy S7, either through a carrier or unlocked. It’s available in three flavors. All three are fast, have great screens and have a terrific camera that performs well in low-light conditions. All three are water-resistent.
- The other hip phone is the iPhone 7. It’s just out and also sports a great camera. It’s a matter of taste whether you like the Galaxy camera or the iPhone 7 camera. It’s also reasonably water resistent, fast and has a decent screen. However, unlike the Galaxy line, the screen nor the design was improved in this iteration.
Trends: No Longer Trendy?
Remember the Cabbage Patch craze? The Beanie Babies? People got tired of fads like that really quickly and do not fall for it much anymore. Obviously, you can pay attention to what is advertised as a hot gift but the best determination is the response of actual consumers. Listen to what people are saying when you are out and about shopping. Most importantly, pay attention to the interests and desires of the people for whom you are actually buying gifts. A thoughtful, considerate gift is worth far more than an expensive, popular one.
Hot items for Christmas is a list of items that can be given as gifts this year. A short compilation of the hot items that men, women and children are all talking about as something they want as a gift. Some of the suggestions will be items that they really want but might not ever buy for themselves while others are following trends in the market place for being “hot items” that are creating quite the buzz in conversations.
Best Christmas Gadgets
Gadgets have always been one of the greatest and most versatile gifts. These days, with new computers, cameras, and tablets coming out all the time, the choices can get overwhelming. I’ve done my research and can recommend the best tablet, laptop, e-reader, and kids’ tablet available on the market today.
1. Best Tablet: The New iPad Air
I know, the iPad has been around for over 4 years now, does it really merit a listing here? The short answer: yes. It is still, without a doubt, the best tablet on the market. If your loved one doesn’t have an iPad yet, getting them the new iPad is definitely a gift they’ll appreciate. In fact, they’ll probably love the first generation iPad as well (I still love mine).
The latest generation is faster, lighter and has two built-in cameras; otherwise it’s the same as the original iPad. The Air (aka 5th generation) iPad has a screen with such a high resolution that you won’t notice the pixels. It’s great for creative types: the art they create on their iPad will come out with loads of detail and the images they edit won’t be shrunk down too much.
Conclusion: The iPad Air is faster, more user-friendly, lighter, and thinner and the screen is one of the best on the market.
Stuff to take into account when buying an iPad:
- Get one with at least 32GB memory. I got the 16GB memory version and while that’s still enough, OS updates have been shrinking the amount of memory available. Unlike many Android Tablets, you can’t expand the memory, so you’re stuck with whatever you got.
- Get a WIFI iPad: You will probably not be inconvenienced often and the monthly charge of a subscription just isn’t worth it. One smart device with 3G access is enough for most people – and it should be your phone.
Other Tablets: The Runners Up
- Best Value Tablet: The Kindle Fire
I use my iPad mostly as an e-reader and a browser, though I could not live without Evernote and Dropbox. If you think that’s how your giftee will primarily use their tablet, you don’t need to spend the money on an iPad. Any tablet will do just as well if your needs are small or you’re on a budget. The Kindle Fire, for instance, though marketed as an e-reader, is actually an Android tablet. It’s an incredibly good value for the price, and you can get all the same apps on it that you would for any other Android tablet.
Coolest Kids’ Gadget: The Kindle Fire Kids
THE hottest item for children between 4 and 9 is the Kindle Fire Kids Edition, which has replaced the LeapPad Explorer tablet as the best tablet for kids. It’s educational, it’s fun, and it’s child friendly. It’s got no moving parts or small pieces, and the interface is big, easy, and colorful. It’s just right for the child who’s not old enough to handle a full-grown iPad or tablet but who wants a trainer tablet that will make them feel like a grown-up. Because the Fire Kids Edition has all the kid-appropriate limitations already in place, a kid can use it completely independently without you having to worry about what they might come across on the Internet or if they will get confused with the interface. This independence is great for both kids and parents alike.
- Best Tablet for Artists: The Galaxy Note
Personally I’ve really come to love my Galaxy Note for its artistic options. Its drawing software is unprecedented and far superior to that of the iPad. It comes with a pressure sensitive stylus with the result that sketching has as much depth as it has on paper. You can draw with pixel precision, and the picture editing software is thorough and easy to use.
Coolest Laptop: Chromebook with TOUCH
It’s weird: everybody is getting on board with touchscreens on laptops these days, except Apple. And the Chromebook is actually affordable while doing so!
The Chromebook has been the best selling laptop on Amazon for over a year now. This makes sense: it does everything most people need (internet, office, mail, Facebook), it costs less than $300, and it works great.
It’s safe too: software updating, virus scanning and all the other familiar PC worries are over. Google just takes it off your hands. The touchscreen version has the extra ‘cool’ factor you need for a Christmas present. This laptop is fun, popular, and easy to use.
Whether or not you choose to give a laptop as a gift, don’t forget about all the accessories that are also available: laptop bags, cases, and even stickers for those who like to give their laptop a personal touch.
Books may seem like a boring Christmas gift, but there is such a huge variety of options that they can be incredibly thoughtful and personalized presents. I usually choose a book that I’ve read and loved (though of course, it has to be one that I think my friend or family member would also particularly enjoy) and write a little inscription in the front commemorating the occasion. Of course, another great gift for an avid reader is a gift certificate to a bookstore or Amazon.
Hottest Book: Any Murder Mystery by James Patterson
Murder mysteries have hit women’s reading clubs with full force over the past few years. This book by James Patterson fits the trend—and since he’s a best selling author, it’s no surprise this book hits the top 10. Murder mysteries, like a good procedural TV show, offer just the right balance of excitement and suspense while keeping a comforting setup. This book will suck you in completely and distract you from real life, but will still tie up all the loose ends so that you feel both challenged and satisfied with the reading experience.
James Patterson is my favorite mystery writer at the moment, but there are many excellent ones out there, from the old classics by Agatha Christie to some of the newer Scandinavian writers who have taken the scene by storm. My favorite way to read a mystery is to get a couple of friends in on it with me, so we can discuss all the plot twists as we go.
The Runners-Up: Popular Book Suggestions
I love reading books and have ever since I knew how to read. I mostly read fantasy, science fiction, religious, and spiritual books, but there are a lot of great books out there in every genre.
- Mindfulness Meditation Books
Mindfulness books make great gifts for anyone in your life who is having trouble with stress or enjoys reading about spirituality. They can be an excellent way to de-stress and find balance in your life. I recommend anything by Thich Nhat Hanh or Eckhart Tolle.
- Baking and Dessert Cookbooks
There is a huge selection of books out there to help your mom, dad, grandma or granddad cook deserts and bake tasty pies. If someone in your life loves baking, both you and they will benefit from some fun, new creative recipes. Find one with a specific theme that you know your loved one will enjoy, such as a cookbook exclusively for chocolate, cupcakes, or pies.
- Children’s Books
I loved being read to as a child. In fact, in our family my dad read to us till I was 13 (I was the oldest). It wasn’t all kids stuff either: the most memorable was him reading us The Lord of the Rings on our Sunday hiking trips. Children’s books make great gifts for children in your life: choose a book you loved as a child so that the two of you can talk about it together. Adults also appreciate children’s books, especially illustrated copies of a book they have loved since they were a kid, like Alice in Wonderland or Treasure Island. Don’t forget about all the wonderful children’s poetry books out there, too.
Video Games: Not Just for Kids, Not Just for Boys
Kids of all ages love video games, and many games are even popular with adults. When giving a game, you need to find out which game console they have so that you can give them the correct version of the game (Wii, Xbox, PC game, etc). Boys in particular love fighting and war games, but kids of all genders will enjoy a game they can play with friends, and many adults will appreciate fitness games for the Wii or Xbox Kinect.
Best New Video Game: Just Dance
There has actually been a nice mix of popular video games this year, from shooter games to intelligence training and dance. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Just Dance: This is the most popular game with my friends’ daughter and her friends! It is a really fun and active dance game that’s finally out for the most recent Playstation, Wii and Xbox consoles. This new version has more music and choreography options than ever.
This game is an great way to spend a rainy day in, either with friends or on your own, sharpening your dance skills and jamming to fun recent music. It’s particularly popular with the teenage girl set, but is appropriate for all ages and genders.
- If you have any more hardcore gamers in your life, I recommend either Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Dragon Age: Inquisition as the two most popular First Person Shooter and fantasy RPG games this year, respectively. They both have excellent combat game play, and the Bioware writers especially have outdone themselves creating new and engaging characters and story lines in the most recent Dragon Age installation.
- For the younger set, I recommend the most recent (and extremely popular) Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D as well as the new Super Smash Bros for Wii U, which has some fantastic new features including designing your own Wii Mii fighter.
There are so many toys out there. I walked into a Toys R Us the other day and almost had a panic attack at the options available. Be wary though: while many girls love the princess aisle, and many boys love their monster trucks and transformers, there are also a lot of kids who don’t want their gift choices to be defined by gender. Talk to the parents or pay attention to what a kid likes. If you’re stumped, stuffed animals and cool science or craft projects are pretty universally loved.
Coolest Toy: The Furby is Back!
Furby is a fun dancing doll with personality right out of the box, but it will develop more of a personality as you play with it. It responds to your voice, has its own language, will learn English, dances to music, likes to be tickled and is simply cool. It’s an especially good gift for a kid who wants a pet but isn’t ready to take care of one (or can’t have one for some other reason).
One word of caution though: the Furby has no OFF button, so you’ll want to remember to put it in the closet or some other dark space to shut it up. Your kids probably won’t mind, but you will thank me later.
Best Craft Project: Twistz Rainbow Loom
The Twistz Bandz Rainbow Loom came out of nowhere a couple of years ago. A dad created this system to create bracelets (and more, if you have the skill) out of rubber bands. He did it for his girls, so he could build more of a relationship with them. It became a massive hit, first in his neighborhood and now all over the world.
These looms are so successful because they build on a classic, beloved theme, the friendship bracelet while making it easier and more accessible to kids. In my experience, kids of both genders enjoy the Rainbow Loom (and it’s successor, the Rainbow Loom 2.0) because they get to work with rubber bands and make bracelets with all sorts of patterns without difficulty. It’s a great activity for birthday parties and really easy for kids to pick up.
Toy Runners-Up: Lego and Other Construction Toys
Construction toys like LEGO are hugely popular. They come in all imaginable themes—from Star Wars to the latest movies and comic books—and are well made and imaginative. Best of all, they encourage design and engineering skills from an early age. LEGOs and blocks are timeless and can be a wonderful toy for kids to play with together or on their own. As usual, check with the parents or the kid so you make sure to get a construction set that is appropriate for the child’s age and interests.
Music and Art: Gifts for the Creative Soul
They say music is the gift that keeps on giving, and there’s no better way to see that in action than giving a musical instrument or lessons to someone who will appreciate it. The same concept applies to art. If you know someone, especially a teen or young adult, who is particularly artistic, art supplies can be an excellent gift and a great way for them to develop and showcase their skills.
Best Musical Instrument: A Guitar
Unlike the previous categories of gift items, musical instruments really never go out of style. The most popular type of musical instrument is of course the guitar, but keyboards and drums make a good second and third. If you know a kid, teen, or even adult who wants to become a musician, an instrument is a classic and rewarding gift, but certainly not your only option. If you give someone an instrument, consider combining your gift with another relative and adding lessons to the mix so they can really learn how to play.
More Musical Gift Ideas
- Music notation software: Music notation software is a tool to save the notes of the music you are playing, which can later be edited and printed out in the form of professional sheet music. This is an excellent gift for musicians who have started or would like to start writing their own music.
- Guitar lesson software: The guitar is no doubt one of the most popular musical instruments. If personal lessons are too expensive or don’t appeal for some other reason, guitar lesson software can be a great alternative that allows the learner to move forward at their own pace. There are quite a lot of good programs out there; make sure to check reviews and find one that’s compatible with your loved one’s computer operating system or preferred gaming console.
- Sheet music: No matter what instrument your loved one plays, they might appreciate a book of music that’s within their skill level and musical interests. This is a great gift to give if you are familiar with a relative’s musical career. Don’t be afraid to branch out! Someone who plays primarily classical piano for example, especially if they are a teen or kid, might really appreciate a book featuring more popular songs they can play for their friends.
- A Flute
Best Amateur Art Gift: An Art Supply Set
If you know that someone paints exclusively in oils or is a dedicated sculptor, your best bet is probably to ask them what kind of art supplies they need. However, for anyone who makes art just for fun or is just starting to tap into their creative side, try getting a versatile, basic art supply set anywhere from your local art supply store to Target or Office Depot. Get one that includes markers, watercolors, pastels, colored pencils, and even crayons so that your artist can experiment with a whole variety of different mediums.
This is also an excellent gift to get someone who does a lot of crafts. Do you know a student or elementary school teacher who makes a lot of posters in school? What about an activist who needs supplies to make flyers and catchy signs? If you are the aunt or uncle to a group of siblings and usually give them a Christmas gift as a family, this gift is also perfect for sharing because it contains so many different supplies.
More Art Gift Ideas:
- Canvas and Frames: Canvas can be quite expensive for an artist to buy regularly, but doesn’t require as much knowledge to buy as paints or brushes. This can be a great, thoughtful gift for someone who paints seriously with watercolors, oils, or acrylics.
- Art and Design Books: It’s hard to go wrong with a good book on art or design. With this option you can go with something you know they like, or you can branch out and give them something featuring a cool story or an interesting chapter or take on art history. One of my favorites, for example, is The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art, which has a great feminist take on the Western Canon.
This is a gift that is always high on the list for most people and it does not matter whether they are an adult, a teen or a tween. They want a camera that is easy to operate and that takes a good picture. They want to be able to share those pictures with friends and family and be able to make short videos, too.
A new TV For The Family
A great gift for the entire family to enjoy is a new TV. Get one that has a nice size screen and one that has HD capabilities. Cable channels and movies are all in this format and are so much more fun to watch. The smart tv’s are the hottest ones that everyone wants right now. Having a television that everyone enjoys watching just might create more family time than you are experiencing right now.
Gift Cards Are Awesome
There was a time when I would have felt that getting a gift card for Christmas was so impersonal but that was then and this is now. Kids and teens love getting them! They are not stuck with some lame shirt that they would not wear to take the trash out in let alone in front of their friends. They are not disappointed with the cool video game when they open it only to find that it does not work on the system that they have. And they get to spend the money on something they really wanted.
The same goes for adults. We do not have to act like we just love that fuzzy robe that is the color of something we might find in a baby’s diaper. There is no mistake in the size or color of clothing or jewelry. It won’t be a book that we have already read or a movie that we have seen 100 times. We can get something that we pick out and will be happy with. Along with other gifts each family member gets a gift card in our family and we all love it.
More top picks from my site:
- What Do I Want For Christmas
- Best Christmas presents for teenage girls
- Best Digital Camera for Teenager Use
- Best Teen Boys Christmas Gifts: what they really want
- Best Tablet For Teenagers
- Top Electronic Toys For Kids Christmas
- Christmas Lego Set
- Cool Christmas Gifts For Guys
- Top 10 Cookbooks Bestsellers
- Best Tablets For Seniors
Is it hot on a list or just something your person wants?
We often see list after list of the most wanted gifts for the Christmas season of any give year. Some of them are spot on and have the items that the masses all seem to want but not always. It is a bit of a gamble and honestly is slightly biased by the people who make up the list. It might be things that are selected from an educated guess on their part but sometimes they are way off of the mark.
I think the best idea is to look of the gift suggestions and pick something that you are sure the person you plan to give the gift to will think it is really hot or choose something that might be the one thing they want more than anything but it is not necessarily on that most wanted list of other people. Those make the very best gifts! Something they really want but probably would not buy for themselves.