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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Best Christmas Gifts 2011

Top Christmas Gifts 2011

I don’t know about you, but some years I know exactly what I want to buy for people and other years I am stumped. When I am having an “off” year, flipping through the Sunday circulars or checking gift lists online is usually a big help. Usually I will find a gadget or toy that looks cool that I wasn’t aware of or hadn’t thought of and can start to fill in my shopping list with specific items.

This year I am a little ahead of the game and have already been watching some bestsellers lists to figure out some of the top Christmas gifts 2011. I have to say, there are some pretty cool items available this year which makes my shopping easier.

I am going to highlight what I believe to be some of the best ideas for Christmas gifts this year here, but for a full list of ideas, please visit my Hottest Christmas Gifts 2011 list where I cover a couple of my top picks.

Let’s start with my favorite category – electronics. Here is my top pick for the best electronic gift for 2011.
We are not talking paper here, we are talking about computer tablets. The iPad and its many competitors are the one thing that everyone seems to have either recently bought or wants. If you have a big budget you can’t go wrong with buying someone an iPad. But for a smaller budget there are more affordable options.

The Kindle Fire is the newest and hottest tablet for 2011 although it hasn’t even shipped yet. But at $199 compared to the $499 starting price tag of iPad, it has generated a lot of interest. The Fire and the iPad are quite different, one being a 7 inch tablet and the other being about 10 inches, but I expect the Fire to sell very well.

Also, if you would like to get a 10 inch tablet but cannot afford the iPad, there are some alternatives. There are a few cheaper Android tablets that can found for under$300. Don’t expect the quality and functionality of an iPad, but there are many happy Android tablet users.

Let’s move now to the biggest seller at Christmas time – toys. It’s difficult to make a top pick as the best toys depend on the age (and gender) you are shopping for, but here is one popular choice.

For children ages 2 to 10 years old, Legos are popular and a good gift idea if you need something general. If you haven’t kept up with kids toys over the last few years, Lego has much more available than just a container full of building pieces. There are now many theme kits, like Star Wars, which are designed for older kids and are quite a hit especially with boys 7 to 11 years old. And the classic, basic Lego kits are still around and a bestseller for preschool age.

Now, Lego kits do seem to cater more to boys and themes like Star Wars or Ninjago may not appeal to many girls. There is however a pink tub of Legos that is perfect for little girls. There are also some more general themes in the Lego Creator series like houses and cottages that older girls may enjoy building.

Okay, one last top gift item that is a little boring but a great general gift for a lot of different people. Almost everyone can use it and it’s fairly inexpensive. Are you ready?

The Travel Mug
Let me tell you something, all travel mugs are not created equal. Some leak, some have awkward handle placements – if you just grab any mug from your local retailer’s shelf you will know what I am talking about. And even for people who have a good travel mug, two is better than one. No worries if you forgot to clean one out the night before (not that I would do that, of course).

And did you know that places like Starbucks will fill up your own mug? So even if your gift recipient likes to buy their hot beverage on the way to work, this gives them an environmentally friendly option.

Overall, Thermos tends to make the best travel mugs. You can get a nice mug from Thermos for between $20-25. Great for coffee and tea drinkers although for the serious tea drinker you should also check out a “tea tumbler” which has a built-in infuser for brewing loose tea. You can also easily upgrade this gift with a bag of coffee or tea from higher-end shop.

There we have it. Just three general gift ideas but certainly a good place to start. Many more Christmas gift ideas can be found in the link above where I have covered electronics, toys and budget gifts in more depth.

Enjoy your shopping!
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