Some of the best Christmases I can remember were centered around a big gift that my parents got for the whole family. A new TV was always a welcome addition to our living room, but the family gifts didn’t always have to be material. Some years, the gift was the gift of togetherness, when my parents surprised us all with plans for a big family road trip. It might sound cheesy, but making memories together as a family is much more enjoyable in the long run than a new toy or a new gadget. And of course, giving a “whole family” gift is a great way to ensure you’ll spend quality time with the people you love the most. One big family gift can also be an economical way to add that “wow factor” to Christmas morning, even on a tight holiday budget. Here are some great family gift ideas for Christmas 2016. Whether you’re looking for something to share with your immediate family, or a bigger gift that your extended family can also enjoy, this gift guide is packed with creative gift ideas that will make your whole clan very happy.
1. Xbox One S 500GB Console Minecraft Bundle
A video game console is a great way to spend quality time with the whole family. Depending on the games you pick up, you can engage in cooperative or versus play. The Xbox One S also supports 4K media and Netflix, making it a great family entertainment hub for the living room. This bundle includes the Xbox One S 500GB Console, full game downloads of the family-friendly game Minecraft for both Xbox One and Windows 10, one Xbox Wireless Controller, one HDMI cable (4K capable), a power cable, and a 14-day Xbox Live Gold Trial. Pick up a few extra controllers and some additional family-friendly game titles, and you’ll be ready to enjoy games with the whole family.
Not sure if this bundle is the right choice for your family? Another hot option this holiday season is the new Sony PlayStation 4 Pro.
2. Sharp LC-55N7000U 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
A new 4K TV is a great gift for the whole family, particularly if you enjoy watching movies or playing games together. This 55-inch set from Sharp is well-reviewed, and affordable for a family on a budget. Here’s a list of all the inputs on this set: one built-in tuner, four HDMI ports, three USB ports, one digital audio output, one earphone audio output, one RCA component input, and one RCA composite input. 43-inch, 50-inch, 60-inch, and 65-inch versions of this TV are also available. You can browse all the size options and price points here. All size TVs in this range boast built-in apps for Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Pandora, and Facebook. If your family’s main TV is small, or has a bad picture, 2016 may be the right time to invest in an affordable 4K set.
Want to browse more TVs before you make a final decision? Check out more sets from Vizio here, or browse more 4K TVs on sale here. You can also get detailed recommendations from our guide to the best 4K TVs.
3. Family Dinner Box Of Questions
Sometimes parents struggle to find common ground with their kids, and conversations around the dinner table can be a little forced. This fun, family-friendly gift is a great way to start a dialogue with your kids, and make dinner time more fun. The box contains 82 conversation starters, each printed on durable cardboard (so they’ll clean up just fine if there’s a spill at the table). These fun cards are designed to be used by families with kids aged six and up. Sample questions include:
-“If you could have any wild animal as a pet what would it be?”
-“What is your favorite dessert?”
-“What superhero power do you wish you possessed?
There are also so blank cards so you can write your own questions, allowing you to customize the experience to suit your unique family dynamic. Looking for an alternative gift in the same vein? The hilarious Game for Fame is a great option for families with older kids or teens. Ticket to Ride is another great family board game to consider.
Looking for more small gift ideas? Get inspired by our list of the best small gifts for Christmas.
Price: $8.99 (10 percent off MSRP)
4. BeGenuine Signature Bracelet With Actual Handwriting
Custom bracelets are a cool gift, but these bracelets take customization to another level. Unlike other companies that just print custom text in a typical font, these handmade bracelets offer you the ability to have your unique handwriting transferred to the band. Simply write your chosen phrase clearly on a white background, and photograph or scan the phrase. Send the file on to this artisan, and you will have a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. Each bracelet is made with high quality European genuine leather that’s 10mm wide. The bracelets are secured with a strong magnetic clasp that’s also hypoallergenic.
We suggest getting matching bracelets for your whole family. You can customize the bracelets with your family motto, a favorite quote, or just “[Family Name] Pride”. These would also be a great favor for a family reunion, especially if you had the handwriting done by the oldest person in the family (or even the youngest). The use of real handwriting makes these bracelets a gift that they will cherish. The length, band color, and clasp color are all customizable. You also have the choice of placing the engraving on the exterior of the band, or hiding it on the inside of the band.
Want to see more gifts like this? Browse more pieces from this craftsman here, including non-custom pieces that can ship quickly. You might also be interested in our post about the most unusual gifts for Christmas 2016.
Price: $39.99 each
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5. The Vortex Commercial Quality Cotton Candy Machine
Bring home the fun of the fairgrounds with this at-home cotton candy machine. This will be lots of fun to play with on Christmas morning, and it may even turn into a tradition at your house. It is easy to operate, and can make a cone in about 30 seconds. This machine looks a little complex, but kids should be able to operate it on their own (with adult supervision, of course). To make this family gift complete, we recommend picking up some paper cones and some special cotton candy sugar. You may also want to pick up a bubble shield to minimize sticky messes, and help keep the fun contained.
If your family’s tastebuds run more towards salty and savory snacks, consider a popcorn machine from Great Northern Popcorn Company, instead of the cotton candy maker. You might also be interested in something from our guide to the best chocolate gifts.
Price: $232.34 for the countertop model
6. Hawk4k Folding Drone With 4k Camera & Watch Controller
Drones are a great family-friendly hobby. Drone flying encourages families to spend time outdoors, and explore the world around them. Drones are also a great way to capture footage of winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling. The footage captured by these types of drones can be saved, and cherished in the same way that families used to keep VHS tapes of their home movies for later viewing.
There are a lot of drones to choose from in 2016, and finding the perfect one for your family can be tricky. We’re recommending the Hawk4k folding drone for families, as it offers a robust set of features. The nicest part of this drone is the camera quality. This camera captures 4K video at 15 FPS, 2.7K-quality video at 30 FPS, and 1080p (Full HD quality video) at 60 FPS. You can control the drone from a special watch controller, but there is also a companion app for iOS and Android devices. The drone’s “follow me” function means you can have it automatically follow you while you keep your hands free for steering. A folding design and real-time video streaming capabilities round out a rich set of high-end drone features.
Drones also have business applications in fields like construction, real estate, and farming, so parents can get as much use out of a drone as their kids. Of course, many adults also love drone flying as a hobby, so don’t be surprised if you end up wanting to pick up another drone in a few month’s time. And with two drones, you can start drone racing against other family members. If you want to weigh your drone options before making a final selection, you may want to browse our guides to the best drones for beginners, the best camera drones, and the best auto-follow drones.
7. Smithsonian Magazine
This educational magazine is sophisticated enough for adults, but still approachable for kids and teens. Issues of this magazine will appeal to people who are passionate about history, sociological, politics, or geography. The first issue will arrive within six to 10 weeks of when you place your order. If you want to make sure there’s something to open on Xmas day, grab a Christmas card and write the details of your gift inside, or pick up a couple of back issues to whet their appetite.
Price: $12 for a one-year subscription (89 percent off MSRP)
8. Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Level 1-5 Set
Learning a second language is an important life skill. It’s useful in school, and for business. Learning a new language also helps boost confidence for kids and adults. Spanish is a great second language choice for people who live in the United States. This Rosetta Stone set includes five levels of Spanish competency, with a focus on how the language is spoken in Latin America. The set offers access for up to five family members, so you can all learn at your own pace, and on your own schedule. Special speech recognition technology analyzes your voice, and helps to correct your accent. When you purchase the software, you also get free access to the mobile app for a three month period, as well as a three month trial period where you can engage in live, online tutoring sessions with a native speaker.
Rosetta Stone software is great for helping to prepare for a family trip abroad, or to learn language skills to keep in touch with family members who don’t speak English well. If Spanish isn’t your language of choice, browse all of Rosetta Stone’s language packs here. Rosetta Stone products are available for the following operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows XP, Mac OS X, and Windows 8.
Price: $199 (20 percent off MSRP)
9. Roku 4 Streaming Media Player
This 4K-ready streaming box is great for families who are getting their first set top box, or for families looking to upgrade this holiday season. The Roku 4 will automatically adapt to your TV and deliver the best possible picture quality your TV can display. It offers up-scaling of 720p for HD TVs, and 1080p HD streams to 4K Ultra HD on 4K TVs. The Roku 4 boasts over 2,500 different streaming channels. The remote is special, too, with voice search capabilities and a built-in headphone jack for private listening. And one final feature is great for families: the top of the Roku 4 has a button on top of the device that will help you find a lost remote control. The next time the kids lose the remote, it won’t be a crisis.
Not sure if this Roku is the right model for your needs? You can browse more Roku devices on sale here.
Price: $107.95 (17 percent off MSRP)
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10. HDK Box 2.0 Smart Karaoke Machine
A karaoke machine is a great way to bond with the family. You can spend Christmas morning belting out some holiday classics, or bust it out every Saturday night for a little family time. It’s also a fun gadget to bust out for birthdays or other special occasions.
This karaoke machine has a companion app for iOS and Android devices, making it easy to control the selection of your favorite songs. A total of 15,000 songs are available in the karaoke library. Songs are updated weekly via automatic Wi-Fi updates. There’s also a recording feature, for those who want to share their karaoke chops on social media.
Want to see some kid-friendly alternatives? You should read our guide to the best kid’s karaoke machines.
11. Triumph Sports 48-Inch 4-in-1 Swivel Table
This game room table is a nice addition to your den, beach house, or family room. The swivel technology in the table allows you to quickly swap out different tabletops, so you can enjoy your choice of four different games with ease. This table supports air powered hockey, billiards, table tennis, and flip it football.
Not sure if this gift is right for your family? Browse more game room game tables here.
Price: $134.99 (16 percent off MSRP)
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12. Hotels.com Gift Card
Good things come in small packages. When your family unwraps this gift on Christmas morning, you can tell them that the card will be used to pay for a family trip. The card is redeemable on bookings at over 150,000 hotels in 200 countries worldwide. These gift cards are redeemable online only, and not at the hotels themselves, so keep that in mind when making your travel arrangements. You can have a firm plan in mind on Christmas morning and give everyone the details then, or you can have a conversation with your family and make a decision about where to go together. Either way, this gift card will ensure you have a nice hotel to stay at during the duration of your trip.
Planning a family trip to a destination that’s too far away to visit by car? Grab some Southwest Airlines gift cards to round out your gift.
13. Pizzacraft Pizzeria Pronto Stovetop Pizza Oven
Friday pizza night is a great family tradition. Everyone gets to make their own pie, and it’s a lot of fun for kids who want to use their toppings to make funny shapes. You can always cook pizza in your home oven, but sometimes the results aren’t as good as pizza from a really hot, professional oven. There are a couple of ways for families to up their pizza game at home. Outdoor pizza ovens are great, but they can cost an arm and a leg, and a kettle pizza cooker requires a certain type of charcoal grill. For ease of use and affordability, we like this stovetop pizza oven from Pizzacraft.
This special stovetop oven is great for busy families, because it only takes 10 minutes to preheat. Even though it’s powered by your gas stove, this stovetop cooker gets up to 600 degrees F, ensuring that you get a nice, crispy crust. A pizza will cook in just six minutes, so nobody will have to wait for long to get their first bite. Please note that this cooker is designed to work with gas ranges. Electric or induction cooktops are not compatible. Pizzacraft recommends using their stovetop oven with their folding pizza peel for best results.
Want to make pizza night even better? Try your hand at making your own mozzarella cheese, and make your pie taste even better. This cheesemaking kit is a fun and easy way to make your own mozzarella at home.
Price: $149.95 (21 percent off MSRP)
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14. The ONE Smart Piano
Having a piano in your home is a wonderful way to foster creativity. Playing a piano or other musical instrument can help a child’s self-esteem, and has even been linked to improved math performance. Most homes don’t have room for a full size grand piano, but you can get a very similar sound from a digital grand. A digital grand takes up less space, and arguably costs less to maintain than a traditional piano.
If nobody in your family plays the piano, but you’ve always wanted to learn, the ONE piano is a great option for both kids and adult beginners. What makes this piano special are the LED keys, which light up to show you what notes to hit next. ONE offers three ways to learn: traditional sheet music, video lessons, and iOS/Android app content. There are over 2000 free sheet music songs available to users, as well piano video tutorials. The keys are weighted, which offers a better playing experience for beginners and established players alike. This piano is available in both black and white finishes.
Looking for a digital grand piano that’s more suited to intermediate and proficient players? You could also consider the Suzuki MDG-300 micro digital grand piano.
15. ‘The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set’
Every family has their own Christmas movie tradition. In my family, we watch White Christmas every Christmas Eve. For other families, it’s the classic TV Christmas specials of the 60s and 70s. This box set includes four classic Christmas favorites: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Frosty the Snowman, and Frosty Returns. These kid-friendly classics are great viewing when snow is falling and everyone has a mug of hot cocoa.
Already own these Christmas movies? Browse more Christmas movies on sale here, and find something your whole family will love.
If you're sick of dealing with tangled strings of lights, consider out list of the top ten best pre-list and pre-decorated Christmas trees.Click here to read more
16. GoPro HERO4 Silver
Active families love GoPro cameras. They’re a great way to capture action-packed video of your family ski vacations, or other outdoorsy adventures. The GoPro HERO4 Silver camera has a lot of family-friendly features. We like the built-in touch display, which makes controlling the camera easy for everyone. Improved camera control and built-in video trimming features let you edit right on the touchscreen. The camera quality is also very good, with the ability to shoot both 1080p60 and 720p120 video. If you and your family spend a lot of time outdoors, this camera can help capture memories that will last a lifetime.
Want to get the most out of your GoPro experience? We recommend picking up a few key accessories to enhance your experience, and get the most versatility out of your action cam. The first must-have accessory is the chest harness mount, which lets you capture first person video as you move. It’s a great way to keep recording, but keep your hands free at the same time. The other must-have accessory is the GoPro tripod arm, aka the GoPro selfie stick.
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17. Coolest Cooler
Is your family famous for backyard BBQs and crazy parties? The Coolest Cooler is a great gadget to enhance your next shindig. It’s a cooler, obviously, but it also has a built-in blender for making frozen drinks, along with a built-in cutting board for cutting fruit garnishes. A bottle opener, built-in USB charger, a Bluetooth speaker mean you can keep the party going for hours. The cooler is well-insulated, making it possible to keep ice frozen for up to five days. A telescoping handle and rugged wheels also make it easy to roll the cooler to a campsite, or down to the beach. We like the Margarita Green version of this cooler pictured above, but orange and blue versions are also available.
Price: $174.95 (61 percent off MSRP)
18. iRobot Braava Jet 240 Mopping Robot
Kids hate doing chores, and parents are often too tired after work to keep the house as spotless as they’d like. A robot vacuum may not be as exciting to kids as a new toy, but it’s definitely a time-saving gift that the whole family will appreciate. This robot is designed to mop floors in your kitchen, bathroom, or on hardwood floors. It’s also designed to tackle hard to reach areas, such as under and around toilets, tight corners, and spaces beneath cabinets. This mopping robot offers three types of cleaning pads: Wet Mopping, Damp Sweeping, and Dry Sweeping.
Not sure if this robot is right for your home? Get more family gift ideas from our guides to the best robot vacuums, the best home robots, and the best robot vacuum cleaners for pet hair. You can also browse more iRobot cleaning devices here.
Price: $169.99 (15 percent off MSRP)
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19. Indoor Snowball Fight
Does your family live in a part of the country where it’s too hot to snow on Christmas? This indoor snowball fight kit brings the fun of cold climates into your house, no matter where you live. These fake snowballs are made from a soft material that feels like snow, but without the mess and slush. These soft snowballs are machine washable, and cane be gently fluffed on your dryer’s “gentle” cycle. Each snowball is about three inches in diameter. Consider picking up an indoor “snow fort” as well, to make your Christmas snowball fight even more fun.
20. CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming Desktop & Oculus Rift Headset Bundle
Without question, VR headsets are the hottest gift this holiday season. Kids can enjoy fun, immersive adventures, while adults who are into survival horror games can take their frights to a new level. This bundle includes an Oculus Rift headset, along with a computer that has the proper specs to offer a smooth VR experience. The VR game Lucky’s Tale is included. Your family members will have to take turns playing with the Oculus headset, but that will only add to their anticipation. Not sure if the Oculus is the right VR headset for your family? Check out our guide to the best VR headsets for Christmas 2016.
Need more help finding great holiday gifts for the whole family? Visit our Gifts page to find more of our thoughtfully curated gift guides, or check out our Toys page for gift ideas for your kids. You may also be interested in our mega gift guides where we recommend over 100 great gifts for women and gifts for men.