Christmas can be an extremely stressful time of year. The travel, the cooking, the forced family functions; not to mention the truckload of money you fork over to get everyone the perfect gift, only to unwrap your own treasure trove of compression socks and oversized Looney Tunes t-shirts from your Great Aunt Jackie. So why not give someone a gift you’d actually want to play with all day once they unwrap it? So we’ve compiled a list of the best, most-wanted, no-fail, joy-inducing Christmas wish list items of 2016 – and with all of them under $100, they won’t break the bank, either.
Mini NES Classic Edition, $59.99+
Every year there is one Christmas gift that is as in-demand as it is hard to find (did anyone else have a kid in their life that wanted nothing besides a Tickle Me Elmo doll a few years back? It was pure chaos for any store that carried them.) This year’s must-have gift can barely make its way to shelves before it’s sold out again, and even if you find one through a third-party online, you could spend upwards of ten times the retail cost to get your hands on one. It’s a throwback of epic nostalgic proportions, the tech toy of the year, and even comes pre-loaded with 30 of your favorite childhood games. Whether you’re buying a kid in your life their first gaming system or simply hoping to take that lucky someone in your life back to their own childhood, this is THE Christmas gift of 2016.
Amazon Echo Dot, $39.99
Amazon’s handy little assistant Alexa made our list of the best tech gifts in 2015, and now there is a smaller, equally as useful little cousin, the Echo Dot. Much like Alexa, the Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music and control smart home devices, but it does so by taking up one-third of the space and for less than half the cost. It can answer questions, complete simple tasks, tell you about the weather, and set alarms and timers through your calendar as well as control smart lights and thermostats. If there is a smart-home-obsessed multi-tasker in your life, the Amazon Echo Dot can help simplify their world.
Google Daydream, $79.00
Virtual reality is a technology in a constant state of flux, but as a general rule, you can’t go wrong with a gadget from Google. The Gear VR from Samsung is obviously up there as far as insanely cool tech toys go, but it only works with certain Samsung devices, making Google’s Daydream a better bet. Their website describes it as “simple, high quality virtual reality”, meaning that nearly anyone will be able to use and enjoy it. The headset is made of lightweight fabric, so users can comfortably play for hours. So far in their newly added apps, explorers can visit faraway lands and museums, travel through space to another planet, or even play virtual games with the included intuitive controller. Plus, several streaming TV companies are now onboard so you can watch your favorite Netflix or HBO shows, sporting events, or even concerts from a more immersive standpoint than ever before.
The Kymera Wand, $79.99
Is there a Harry Potter fan in your life that has become more difficult to shop for now that they own the entire Harry Potter book, DVD, and Blu-ray collection? Why not give them the gift of “the world’s first real magic wand” – “the perfect blend of advanced technology and authentic wizardry.” The Kymera Wand is actually a gesture-based universal remote control compatible with nearly every brand of home entertainment equipment worldwide. Pair it with your TV, iPod dock, or Blu-ray player, and then flick, swish, and magically tap your way through functions and controls. At last check, ThinkGeek.com was selling this flashy, intuitive little bit of movie magic for $79.99 (which is arguably a little steep for a universal remote control), but can you really put a price on the cool factor of feeling like a wizard in your own home?
Moga Pro Power Controller, $39.99
The Moga Pro Power Controller is one of the hottest gift ideas for gamers this year. It’s a full-sized console-style gaming controller that allows anyone to comfortably play games from their smartphone – no need to lug around the home PC or hulking gaming laptop. Simply click your phone into the adjustable screen holder, and the controller will even charge it while it runs on its own rechargeable 2200 mAh battery. It works with most Android devices and is a game-changer when it comes to taking play on the go. For any kids or adults in your life that don’t do great on road trips, plane rides, in the grocery store or at public functions in general, this small, portable gaming add-on could be the best gift you ever gave them.
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