Are you ready for Christmas? How about shopping?
To help you with choosing gifts for your family and friends, I have composed a list of the hottest Christmas gifts for 2016 below. I am really just focusing on two categories here, electronics for adults (and teens) and toys for kids. These two categories are always hot Christmas sellers and there is always new stuff coming out, so this will cover the majority of bestsellers for the year.
After the list of hottest gifts I have also provided some other general gift ideas as well as some affordable gift ideas. Let’s get started!
Hottest Electronic Gifts 2016
The Amazon Echo
This is my vote for the hottest and coolest electronic gift for 2016. The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated speaker that can not only play music but also read audio books and report the weather. All you have to do is ask! Echo is also a smart device that can control things like turning your lights on and off.
All you need to run this device is WiFi. It’s like a audio-based iPad almost. Just ask it a question or ask it to do something and it is done. This is a cool gift idea for so many people, especially those people who have everything and are so hard to buy for. Great even for older parents and grandparents, although you may have to help with set up.
Check out the Amazon Echo here.
Amazon’s addition to the tablet market created quite a buzz a few years ago! The Kindle Fire is a 7 inch tablet that was designed primarily for media consumption – books, videos, etc. But since it runs off an Android operating system it can also be used with popular Android apps like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans. You can also use the Fire for surfing the internet and checking email.
Each year Amazon makes some improvements to the Kindle Fire and yet the prices continue to come down. The basic Kindle Fire is now only $50 making it a perfect choice for those looking for Christmas gifts under 50. There are also a larger sizes (6, 8, and 10 inch screens) available which compete more directly with Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini. Now, the Kindle Fire is very different than the iPad and the iPad will still be the tablet of choice for many people, but at such an affordable price and with the tie in to all of Amazon’s media goodies, the Kindle Fire is a great device and I predict it will be THE hottest Christmas gift again this year.
The Kindle Paperwhite
Along with the updates to the Kindle Fire, Amazon is also releasing an updated version of it’s Kindle line which will now include the basic Kindle, the Paperwhite and the Voyage. The Kindle Paperwhite comes with a whiter screen that most people will find easier to read from as the contrast is much higher than with the basic Kindle eReader. The Voyage has improved text resolution, PagePress and an adaptive light sensor. The basic Kindle will now have a touchscreen making it easier to use.
But another benefit of the additions to the Kindle family is the variety of price points with the basic Kindle costing just $79. The Kindle has always been considered to be the best eReader available for general eBook reading but now it is available with various features and at various prices. Many people who maybe couldn’t justify the cost of a dedicated eReader will be likely to buy. The low price option also makes it a relatively affordable gift option. All that combined makes these three Kindles a hot gift for the year.
Click for more info on the Kindle Paperwhite
If you want to post a video on Youtube or talk with friends or family on Skype, a webcam comes in very handy. For the younger generation of adults a webcam is second nature, but even older generations can see the value of seeing and hearing their kids or grandkids that live miles away.
The best webcam by Logitech provides HD quality shots and costs around $70. You can also find cheaper models but the quality won’t be quite as good. As everyone moves more into online social avenues I expect webcams to eventually be found in every home with a computer. That makes them a great gift idea this year.
The Roku Streaming Player
Most people are now getting their video rentals through online subscriptions with Netflix, Amazon and others. Not only is it easier to just pick a movie without leaving your house, it’s also cheaper if you rent enough movies. Online movie rentals have become so popular that most video rental stores have closed down, at least in my area.
While a newer television, blu-ray player, or even Xbox One can stream videos to your television, not everyone has a compatible device or the streaming may not be optimal. The better for solution for many people is using a dedicated streaming player like the Roku 3 or the new Amazon Fire TV (released in 2014) which allows easy streaming of movies from Netflix and Amazon and other media agents. With just under a $100 price tag, this is a nice gift idea for the family who loves movies or has multiple TVs.
I did predict that the Kindle Fire will be a popular, low cost tablet choice but Apple’s iPad is far from losing it’s reign in the market. The iPad has continued to be the bestselling tablet and I don’t see that ending anytime soon. Especially now with the release of the updated iPad Mini.
The iPad Air has more overall functionality that it’s Android tablet competitors and has the innovation of Apple behind it. The high price tag may put it out of the gift budget for some people, but it is still a hot item for 2015.
See the Apple iPad Air with Wi-Fi
The Garmin GPS
While some people like myself still manage to drive around without a GPS system I will be honest, I do sometimes get lost. And I wouldn’t mind just plugging my destination into a GPS and going rather than printing out directions for
Google Maps. Plus, you can sync your bluetooth-enabled phone with this device and talk hands-free.
If there is anyone at all who drives a car on your list, this is a great gift to consider. Even better for the frequent travelers or long commuters. These GPS systems have been bestsellers for the last year or two and the features just keep getting better.
Hottest Toy Gifts 2016
The newest educational toy from LeapFrog is the LeapPad Ultra Learning Tablet, just released last year. LeapFrog is well-known and respected for their educational products for kids so their products always sell well at Christmas time. But since this product is the third version of a very popular new toy from last year, many parents will be anxious to get their hands on it. And for the child who already owns one, consider a leappad gift card for buying more apps.
The LeapFrog tablet actually looks like a tablet PC which is a very smart design. Kids usually respond well to having a toy version of adult product. But what is also neat about this kids tablet is that in functions much like an adult tablet with the stories and games run off apps purchased through the LeapFrog store. The downfall is that these app purchases aren’t cheap. Overall though, this is a hot toy buy for ages 4 to 8.
The popularity of the computer game Minecraft has now moved into general merchandising in a big way. This game is very popular with a variety of ages (including adults) but boys age 10 and up seem particularly intrigued.
For kids who love the game, the articulated animal set is a simple and fun gift idea. The Minecraft plush creeper is also cute and quite inexpensive. There are also shirts, foam toys, lego sets and other miscellaneous items that could make great stocking stuffers.
Let’s Imagine Elmo
Can you have a list of hottest Christmas toys without including Elmo? I don’t think so. Let’s not forget the frantic rush years ago to buy a Tickle Me Elmo doll for every toddler and preschooler living.
Well, Elmo is back this year and ready to play a few different roles, from prince to cowboy. He will also talk and sing to your child or they can just learn to count together. This Elmo toy is getting great reviews already from his fans and is sure to be a big hit with the younger crowd at Christmas time.
Legos have been around for decades and have always been fairly popular. But their newer releases of various themes like Stars Wars and Harry Potter have expanded their market. Legos are no longer just building blocks for preschoolers, the more complicated sets are targeted to ages 8 and up. For girls be sure to check out the “Friend” sets.
This year the Minecraft sets seem to be the bestselling following the popularity of this game among school-age kids. But there is no shortage of themes, that is for sure. And for toddlers the basic Lego building set is a top seller every year. Lego sets are once again a hot gift idea for kids ranging from 2 years old up to 10 years old.
The Furby is not a new toy item this year but continues to be popular This interactive toy from Hasbro is targeted at ages 6 years and up. Furbys each develop there own personality based on how they are stimulated. The Furbys come in a variety of color choices including blue,yellow, black and multi-colors.
The reviews of this toy so far are pretty good. Most kids and (and even their parents) are delighted with their new friend. There is also a Furby app available that can can be used although it is optional.
Lalaloopsy dolls are plastic like a Barbie, but with the look of a rag doll – big eyes, pink hair, etc. They are just cute and fill in a gap in the doll market between baby dolls and Barbies. They even come with clothing sets.
If you haven’t seen these dolls in the store, be warned, the online pictures are a bit deceptive. These are actually full-sized dolls and not the size of a Barbie or Monster High doll. The manufacturer recommended age range is 6 to 12, but I would stick with the lower part of that range considering the look and size of these dolls. Playsets are also available for purchase.
For the People Who Have Everything
The Grace Digital Mondo is a bestselling WiFi Music Player that can be used as a portable radio or alarm clock. Using WiFi and apps you can listen to thousands of free radio stations, news, podcasts and more. There is also a customizable alarm clock feature built in.
This internet radio device also allows you to stream music from your computer, iPhone or Android phone. Use it in your bedroom as a radio alarm clock or use it around the house utilizing the rechargeable battery pack. This is a great gift idea for the music lover or for a college student.
Emergency supplies like this radio are one of those things you may not buy for yourself but are happy to have if someone buys it for you. There have been so many weather-related issues across the country the last few years that I think everyone sees the value in being prepared for the worst. It’s also great for campers and the outdoorsy types.
The benefit of these emergency radios is that they can be used when there is no power. This model comes with both a solar panel and hand crank for use without electricity. There is also a flashlight and a USB charger for charging your cell phone which could be critical in an emergency. At only around $50, this radio is a great gift for just about anyone.
I am sure that the Keurig isn’t new to you. It’s been around for a few years and has quite a following. Of the various single-serve coffee makers on the market, Keurig is still generally recognized as the best. And the reason that the Keurig makes such a good gift is because there are many people who just wouldn’t buy such an expensive coffee maker for themselves, yet they would be happy to own one.
One thing to keep in mind though is the cost of the K-cups that must be used with this system. If the gift recipient can’t afford the additional cost of coffee or tea that occurs with this system then you may want to rethink this idea. There is a reusable filter that can be purchased separately but reviews are mixed. Still, this is a great coffee maker and perfect for people who entertain a lot.
This is a neat little gadget that allows you to use your cellphone in the car hands free. Just attach the speakerphone to your visor and sync up your cellphone and you can now make and answer phone calls without touching your phone.
There are a few models of in-car speakerphones available and each has their pros and cons. The speakerphones made by Motorola and Jabra seem to be the best rated with prices ranging anywhere from $35 to $120. If you know someone who talks on their cellphone a lot and doesn’t have a new car with this feature already included, this is a great gift idea.
Easy Gift ideas
Amazon Gift Card
Since Amazon sells just about every item under the sun, an Amazon gift card is a great choice for anybody. Some people think giving gift cards as a gift is tacky but I think that depends on the recipient. I prefer to give a gift card to a teenager or young adult and just let them get what they want. I’m willing to admit I’m not as young or hip as I used to be.
Amazon gift cards also make a great last-minute gift when you have forgotten to buy for someone on December 24th. You can have the gift card emailed directly to the recipient or print it out yourself.
Movie Gift Card
A Movie gift card is another great choice for teens and college-aged students. You can purchase either a Regal Cinema or AMC gift card.
These can actually be purchased at many different retail stores so they work in a pinch also. Also a nice stocking stuffer.
Inexpensive Ideas (gifts under $50)
If money is tight or you just need some low budget gift ideas for acquaintances, here are a few ideas.
Nowadays there are many devices competing for USB ports like your camera, iPad, iPod, etc. This hub makes connecting and recharging multiple items much easier. A great affordable gift for the gadget lover. See it HERE.
Zippo Hand Warmer
If you have someone on your lists who spends a lot of time outdoors in the winter, this is a neat gift. Great for sporting events, for the sports fanatic or for the great outdoorsman. See it HERE.
Okay, this is probably most appealing for women but it’s one of those things you can use but may not buy unless you cook a lot. Great for making soups. See it HERE.
Many people drink wine and this electric bottle opener is a nice accessory. Bundle it with a bottle of wine for an even nicer gift. See it HERE.
There really are some great products out this year for Christmas and this list of best Xmas gifts 2016 is a great start. I have also now added some additional gift ideas for specific people like gifts for men or gifts for women to the blog. See what I came up with on the post entitled Most Popular Christmas Gifts 2016.
Hopefully you can get your shopping done early and find some great deals!