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 2012 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 2012
The Kindle Fire
Amazon’s addition to the tablet market last year created quite a buzz last year! 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 Angry Birds. You can also use the Fire for surfing the internet and checking email.
This year Amazon has released the Kindle Fire HD, a visual improvement on the original Kindle Fire. There will also be a larger Kindle Fire HD available at the beginning of December which will compete more directly with Apple’s iPad. 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 HD is a great device and I predict it will be THE hottest Christmas gift this year. If you are interested in the Fire 8.9″ and want it in time for Christmas I would suggest you pre-order now as it will be ship out on a first come, first serve basis.
The Kindle Paperwhite
Along with the release of the Kindle Fire HD, Amazon has also released a new version of the Kindle called the Kindle Paperwhite. 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 original Kindle eReaders.
But another benefit of the additions to the Kindle family is a new low-priced version of the Kindle at just $69. The Kindle has always been considered to be the best eReader available for general eBook reading but now it is available at a much better price. Many people who maybe couldn’t justify the cost of a dedicated eReader will be likely to buy. The new price also makes it a relatively affordable gift option. All that combined makes these two Kindles a hot gift for the year.
The Logitech Webcam
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 $75. 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 360 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 2 which allows easy streaming of movies from Netflix and Amazon and other media agents. With just a $100 price tag, this is a nice gift idea for the family who loves movies or has multiple TVs.
The Apple iPad
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 iPad Mini.
The iPad 3 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 2012.
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 2012
The LeapPad2 Learning Tablet
The newest educational toy from LeapFrog is the LeapPad2 Explorer Tablet, just released this 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 second version of a very popular new toy from last year, many parents will be anxious to get their hands on it.
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.
Angry Birds Toys
The popularity of the app game Angry Birds has now moved into general merchandising. Apparently I’m not the only parent who lets my kids play games on my iTouch (or iPhone) as Angry Birds toys and board games have already hit Amazon’s bestselling toy list.
For kids who love the app, a plush Angry Bird is a simple and fun gift idea. The board game looks fun for both fans and non-fans of the app. There are also shirts, keychains, and other miscellaneous items that could make great stocking stuffers.
Let’s Rock 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 with a rock star quality. He comes with drums and a microphone and interacts with children to make beautiful music 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 there newer releases of various themes like Stars Wars and Harry Potter have expanded their market. They are no longer just building blocks for preschoolers, the more complicate sets are targeted to ages 8 and up.
This year the Star Wars sets and the Ninjago Sets seem to be the bestselling. 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 another new toy item this year from Hasbrol targeted at ages 6 years and up. They are interactive toys that each develop there own personality based on how they are stimulated. The Furbys come in a variety of color choices including blue,yellow and black.
The reviews of this toy so far are pretty good. Most kids and (and even their parents) are delighted with their new friend. Either way, I think the novelty of these toys will make them a hot toy this year. At least, that is what I expect based on the marketing I have seen.
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.
More Gift Ideas
Sony Dash Viewer
I’m not sure how to describe the Sony Dash. It’s kind of like a tablet PC crossed with an alarm clock. You could use it in your bedroom or anywhere in the house really. The 7 inch LCD screen can be used to watch movies, check your email, check the weather, listen to music, etc. It’s a multifunctional device.
Now, it isn’t a tablet or a computer so you probably wouldn’t want to use it for all your online needs, but it is nice for remote access. I would think that a teenager or college student would be delighted with the Dash over a standard alarm clock. In general, it’s just a neat product for the price and a unique gift idea.
Red Cross Weather Radio
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 $30, this radio is a great gift for just about anyone.
The Keurig B60 Single-Serve Brewer
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.
iTunes Gift Card
An iTunes gift card is another great choice for teens and college-aged students. You can just never have enough music on your iPod, or at least that is what I have been told.
These can actually be purchased at many different retail stores so they work in a pinch also. Also a nice stocking stuffer.
Budget Gift Ideas (less than $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. See it HERE.
Cuisinart Hand Blender
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.
Oster Wine Bottle Opener
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 gifts 2012 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 Best Christmas Gifts 2012.
Hopefully you can get your shopping done early and find some great deals!