Holiday Gamer Gift Guide

Posted by Lisa Galarneau on December 17, 2013 in Gaming Lifestyle -- Share:

The great thing about the holidays in 2013 is that there are now more options available than ever before, with new ones on the way all the time.  There are recent announcements about some great new technology, for instance, like a whole new crop of smart watches and other devices.

I’ve done some of the work for you: here is a round up of all the best holiday gifts for gamers and anyone interested in playful experiences.  I’ll cover gifts for kids and adults, and offer some ideas for great DIY gifts, as well.

Best Gifts For Kids

Drawing Tablets

If your kid is creative, this is a great way to replace cumbersome mice and laptop pointing devices with something a bit more natural.  Tablets from Wacom are good high-end options, but you can also find them in the $50 range.

Tablets

I don’t think there is a kid on the planet who isn’t fiending for one of these beauties, or perhaps just one of their own.  Learn how to choose the best tablet for your kid…

Clothing and Gear

Tons of options available for gamers and gamers-to-be.  Etsy is a great place to check for truly unique items, or you can try ThinkGeek, RedBubble or SplitReason.

Room Decor

Kids who are interested in games and play love it when their personal environments are transformed to suit their interests!  This PacMan glow lamp is one of my favorite items this year.  There is also a Minecraft Redstone Ore version.

Toys and Games

It’s always fun to see the latest crop of exciting toys and games each year.  I have a few favorites:  Snap Circuits Jr., LEGO Minecraft and Minecraft papercraft kits, Tekno robotic puppy, and the iPhone/iPad/iPod controlled helicopter.

Stocking Stuffers

Lots of fun options I like: Strap-on LED fingers, Neon Scratch Art set, and 3-D glasses for holiday lights.

Best Gifts For Adults

Gaming Gear

From gaming PCs to mobile devices, a new platform for gaming can be the perfect holiday gift.  You can consider desktops or laptops that will run your favorite games perfectly.  And don’t forget accessories like headphones and input devices.

Smart Watches

These are showing up everywhere this year.  Excellent options for the technophile as they integrate a small wearable device with larger smartphone functions.  Here’s a list of the top 5 to consider…

Fitness Gear

The Fitbit and other biometric tracking devices have been around for a while now, but companies like Nike continue to make improvements.

Bluetooth Speakers

I have a set of these and I adore them!  It’s really great to be able to control great sound from any reasonable distance.  Bose Soundlink II are perfect high-end options, or you can also find more affordable ones that work nearly as well.  Here is a CNET review featuring the best speakers

Clothing and Gear

Always great options for gifts, clothing and gear can express a huge range of interests.  Don’t forget jewelry!

Small Gifts and Stocking Stuffers

I’d suggest Etsy as a first stop for unique small gifts.

DIY Gift Ideas

Not all perfect holiday gifts have to be purchased.  There are plenty of options for things you can create yourself.

Ornaments

You can make them with paper, crochet them, or modify found items.  If you’re short on time, try a service like Zazzle to create custom ornaments.  Or, try this concept for a DIY advent calendar using a muffin tin!

Baked Goods and Apothecary

What a wonderful way to show your love!  Cookie cutters are available for game classics like Tetris, or you can make circle or square shapes and decorate with icing. Or try these video game controller cookies!

 

I love bottles, especially small apothecary bottles, and they are easy to transform into cool game-related items (mana!) by printing your own labels.

Clothing and Gear

Iron-on transfers are a quick and easy way to transform any article of clothing into something your favorite gamer would love.  You can also customize shirts and other clothing on sites like Zazzle.com. There are also plenty of options for crocheting and knitting hats, sweaters and scarves with game themes.  Here’s a game inspired crochet tutorial:

 

Home Decor

Again the sewing and knitting skills come in handy.  Quick projects include pot holders or cross-stitch, or you can take it to a whole new level with wall hangings or other decor.  Photo and illustration prints you make on your inkjet printer are also excellent gifts – you can find frames at your local thrift or dollar store.  I like buying frames that I can take apart and spray paint, then recombine with art I print.

Here is a beautiful fused glass art plate, if glass-working is your thing.  Speaking of glass, you can also etch your own designs onto glass or glassware like wine or pint glasses:

 

I recently upgraded my kid’s room by printing her favorite images onto photo and iron-on transfer paper.  I then transferred the iron-ons onto a blank bedspread and hung the photos all over the room.  You can also try quilting your own bedspread or comforter.

Construction Projects

If you’re handy, there are some fantastic projects that involve upcycling any mundane item into something spectacular.  Controller tables are one option, or some unique shelving options.  A bit difficult to wrap, but the reveal will make your efforts worth it!

Another cool project is to create your own giant Jenga game using 2x4s or other scrap wood:

 

Or buy one pre-made and decoupage or paint to your heart’s content.

Stocking Stuffers

Recyling game gift cards into guitar picks might be the cleverest DIY project I’ve seen. Or, if you’re good with wood and have appropriate tools, these game coasters might be a project for you.

These cute Etsy earrings gave me the idea to do versions with favorite video game art or even game box covers.  Here is a tutorial with lots of similar ideas.  I would use keyboard keys or even game pieces.

 
Need more ideas? Here’s a Pinterest board I created full of great gift and DIY options…
Do you have other great holiday gift ideas?  Let us know!

Written by

Dr. Lisa Galarneau is a socio-cultural anthropologist, futurist and games researcher. She's been playing video games since 1981 (Pong!) and loves adventure-style games, RPGs, online games, simulations and anything novel. Her love for games has been passed onto her gamer kid, and she spends a lot of time observing and pondering the future of games.

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