To prepare for the retail sales season, it’s good to have some idea of what’s hot and still affordable this year. Finding the perfect holiday gifts for your friends and loved ones doesn’t have to be a hassle: to help out, I’ve rounded up some popular gift ideas for the holiday season.
If you’ve spent any time in a toy aisle or store lately, you probably noticed Bakugan toys and games, based on a popular Japanese anime. Kids aged four and up might enjoy playing with the Bakugan Starter Pack. Players can battle their warriors for less than $16; additional battle packs and toys are also available.
Kids who are 3 to 5 years old can try out their writing skills with the LeapFrog Scribble and Write, which has a suggested price of around $22. Another holiday favorite returns this season with the Fisher Price Elmo Live Encore. The suggested price is $69.99, but you should be able to find this toy at a discount.
Board games are another favorite holiday gift idea because the whole family can spend time together. A classic game like Sorry can let your family’s competitive streak shine. Another choice can be a DVD game like Scene It? Deluxe Disney, which retails for less than $40.
Video game consoles are still popular choices for the holidays, and the price cuts some manufacturers have made can help our holiday budgets. The new version of the PlayStation 3 features a 250 GB hard drive, and you can play Blu-ray DVDs as well as games on it. It’s available for $299.99. Games that have earned great reviews include Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Or you may be more interested in the Blu-Ray DVD player.
If you’re shopping for Xbox 360 fans, there’s a new 250 GB Elite Modern Warfare 2 console for $399.99. Pick up an Xbox Live Subscription Gold Card and you’ll be able to have fun long after the holidays.
For the Nintendo Wii, you can get ready to run with New Super Mario Brothers Wii, coming out soon. There’s also Wii Fit Plus, in case you need to burn off any holiday dinners.
There are also new versions of favorite handhelds out. The PSPgo ($249.99 list price) is lighter than its predecessors, has 16GB of flash memory, and lets you buy downloadable games from the PlayStation Network store.
The Nintendo DSi (suggested price $169.99) features two cameras and downloads via the DSi shop. Popular DS games include Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story ($34.99 list price) and Scribblenauts ($29.99 list price).
If you prefer a camera, Canon’s PowerShot A1100IS ($249.99 list) has 12.1 megapixels and an optical image stabilizer to assist you with terrific shots. For camcorder fans, there’s the Flip MinoHD ($229.99 list), which captures up to 120 minutes in HD and makes it easy to upload videos to popular sites.
Those who want to hand out ebook readers this year have a few choices, such as the Kindle DX ($489) or the Sony E-Reader ($199.99 at some retailers). Expected for the end of November is the Barnes & Noble nook, which has already earned rave reviews. It’s offered for $259.
Now that Windows 7 is out, look for it on netbooks like the Asus Eee PC that lists for $399. Your favorite gift recipient will be able to read your emails, admire your pictures, and shop for the best deals all the time on his or her netbook.
If you have anybody on your list who’s hard to shop for, find out where they like to buy ice cream or dinner and load them up with a gift card. Other gift card ideas include book stores, clothing stores, or iTunes for music, videos, and more.
A lot of us have cut back on trips to the coffee shop, but there’s no need to feel deprived if you give an AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker. Listed at just $30, it’s a good value compared to a month of Starbucks visits.
For me, the holidays tend to find me stocking up on different things at the local drugstore or wholesale shopping club. If it’s the last minute and I need a gift ASAP, I can pick up a nice box of candy, a set of candles, or even something more extravagant like a leopard-print Snuggie.
Before you start your holiday shopping, make a list of recipients and gift ideas, set a budget, and check prices online. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday season with time left over for yourself!