During the holiday season, you might end up stuck at home on a weekend due to a massive snowstorm, or just choose to stay in because of bone-chilling temperatures and strong winds. There are lots of great, fun gifts for the family that are perfect for getting everyone together on a cold winter’s night.
Maybe you just want to relax with the family and have a fun day and/or night at home wrapping presents, listening to music, and enjoying one another’s company. But what else can you do together to make the day or evening extra fun?
Every family should have a board game night at least once a week or month. And board games are a great family activity for a cold winter night, or on the weekend.
There are tons of options from which to choose that are suitable for everyone from young kids to teenagers and adults. Choose something fun and interactive like Beasts of Balance that requires players to build a balancing tower using the included pieces, then explore further using a mobile app. Or, opt for something more traditional, like Monopoly or Scrabble. You can change things up with a special themed edition of a favourite classic board game, like a World of Harry Potter version of Scrabble or a Game of Thrones edition of RISK.
Party games like What Do You Meme? can be great for family fun, too, where everyone has to create funny memes by pairing caption cards with a shared photo card in each round. You might find your teen or tween (who rolls their eyes at having to play a board game) enjoying this one, given the social media tie-in.
Video Game and Entertainment Consoles
A video game and entertainment console is a great gift the entire family can enjoy with family-friendly games like sports, car racing, Super Mario titles, and interactive games like Just Dance that encourage you to get up and move.
A console like the Xbox One S is especially great for families with games like NHL 20 (perfect for families that love hockey), Forza Horizon 4 (for racing hot cars through castles, lakes, and valleys), and fun kid-friendly titles like Plants vs. Zombies.
Or go retro with a cool gift like the Atari Flashback 9 gold console, so parents can introduce kids to some of the simple but super-fun games they used to play back in the day, like Millipede, Centipede, and Space Invaders.
One of my family’s favourite party video games is The Jackbox Party Pack, which includes five different trivia games. Boot it up on your television, then use your smartphones and tablets to log on and enter your answers, which will be displayed on the TV. It’s tons of fun.
Musical Instruments & Karaoke
Have a family night jam session with some musical instruments like a keyboard, guitar, and drums.
Or, rock out for a fun karaoke night with a karaoke machine like the Singsation Classic All-in-One Karaoke System, which comes with a wireless speaker and two microphones. It also includes lights, sounds, and voice FX so you can really get a full family party vibe going. Before you know it, everyone in the family will be fighting for the mic to sing next, and the kids will be planning out some duets. Go all out and get in full costume to make it even more fun.
The Karaoke USA GF846 Karaoke Machine takes it a step further with a 7” TFT colour screen, so you don’t need to use your smartphone or tablet to see the song lyrics: just insert a compatible DVD or CD, and sing away.
4K TV, Streaming Stick or Media Player, Blu-ray Player
Get an awesome home theatre system set up with speakers, subwoofer, and, of course, a gorgeous large-screened flat-panel 4K TV. With a smart TV, you can easily binge-watch television series and movies, play games and apps, watch YouTube videos, and more—from the built-in apps, as well as subscriptions to your favourite streaming services. With the 65” TCL 4-Series UHD HRD LED Roku OS Smart TV, for example, you can instantly access streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube, and easily access connected set-top boxes (for cable or satellite TV) if you have it as well, along with gaming consoles.
Grab some Blu-ray movies as well to add to your collection, and binge-watch together. You can watch a new title like Spider-Man: Far From Home (in 4K Blu-ray, of course) or introduce the kids to classic films like It’s A Wonderful Life. To watch, you’ll also need a great Blu-ray player.
If you prefer streaming, a great gift is the Google Chromecast Ultra, which can be used with any TV that has an HDMI input, allowing you to stream content up to 4K UHD quality from a mobile device to the big screen (if you don’t yet have a smart TV).
STEM Tech Toys
STEM-based tech toys are designed for kids, but really, they can provide fun for the whole family. Once a child has put the toy together (if that’s part of the process), learned the basics of coding, and added some coded movements or instructions, everyone can have fun playing with the toy—or adding their own coding instructions.
With the Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid, for example, which will likely be popular this season thanks to the upcoming new Star Wars film, everyone can take turns coding the droid and making it do different things, and make different sounds.
There are also tons of cool build and play robots from UBTECH that the whole family can work on together, building and then coding for fun play. Consider these to be the modern-day three-dimensional puzzles that you can actually play with when you’re done putting them together.
Another really cool STEM toy is the Sphero Specdrums Ring, which lets you turn colours into music by associating a specific sound with a specific colour, then tapping everyday household items of that colour with the ring. You could make a green Granny Smith apple, for example, sound like a percussion drum, or a red sweater sound like a high piano key. It’s easy to see how the whole family can have tons of fun with this, creating their own songs, and maybe even shooting video or recording the audio to play back later, or post on social media. I tried these out at a trade show, and it was tons of fun.
Gifts for a Cooking or Baking Party
Have a family cooking and baking party with tons of great gifts for the kitchen, like a mixer for whipping up big batches of cookie dough, kneading dough for homemade bread, or stirring batter for cakes and other pastries.
The KitchenAid Custom Stand Mixer can fit 4.5 quarts worth of ingredients (enough for up to six-dozen cookies) and comes with a flat beater, dough hook, and 6-wire whip. Get really adventurous with other attachments like the ice cream maker (for making homemade frozen desserts—experiment with different flavours and chopped fillings) or the Pasta Roller attachment (for making fresh pasta).
Having a night at home with the family doesn’t have to mean everyone does their own thing on their own electronic device (where’s the fun in that?). There are lots of tech gifts for the family that can bring everyone closer together and be tons of fun for everyone, from young kids to teens and tweens, parents, and grandparents.