The Best Gifts For Everyone In The Family In 2020
The best gifts for everyone in your family this pandemic year.
The Best Gifts for Everyone In the Family in 2020
It’s time to shop ‘till you drop for the Pandemic Holidays. This year the kids (and grown-ups) on your list deserve something a little extra. We rounded up the best of the best for families, kids who crave the hottest toys, what parents need to get them through the pandemic and the best books to lure kids away from screens.
Games make the best gifts for families who love to spend time together. They work equally well for families who may not like each other very much but are forced to spend night after night stuck with one another.
Classic With A Twist
Uno Showdown: Uno Showdown is Uno with a twist. Start by playing a traditional round of Uno but once the Showdown unit sends out the signal its time to watch cards go flying. Scramble to get them before the game resumes and everyone plans down their cards until the victorious player yells UNO!
Build A Masterpiece
Sagrada: In this gorgeous game players must complete a stained-glass window at the Sagrada Familia following the pattern created by a roll of the dice. This game can be played solo or up to four players. Best of all, it is usually completed in 30 minutes so it’s a great way to get in some family bonding even when time is short.
Strategize to End this Pandemic
Pandemic: Perhaps no gift is more 2020 than the game of Pandemic. Each player takes on a role including quarantine specialist, researcher, medic or dispatcher. Then, a team is formed to worked cooperatively to stop the spread of the virus. This game was developed well before COVID and we may all have been better off if more of us had played it before now – but it’s never too late to get a handle on exactly what is required to stop the worldwide spread of a deadly disease.
Solve the Crime
Cat Crimes: There is a naughty feline who committed a crime! Use critical thinking skills and the power of deduction to figure out which cat swallowed the fish and a host of other crimes. This is a great family game or kids who can read can play on their own.
Open the Cold Case
Jamie Banks Unsolved Case File: In the early 90s Jamie Banks was murdered and it’s up to you to solve the cold case. This game is the perfect family game night since kids and grown-ups can work together to piece the clues together to find Jamie’s killer. At each step, open a new envelope to reveal another piece of evidence and check the game’s website to see if you are on the right track – and to see if you found Jamie’s killer.
Solve the Mystery
Escape the Room: Actual escape rooms may be closed for now but you can bring the experience home with an Escape The Room game from think fun with themes ranging from The Cursed Dollhouse to Mystery Manor. Work as a family over the course of a few nights to solve the mystery and escape the room.
What better to way to ride out winter break than with crafts? From kits to make your paper (because face it, you have the time) to the materials to make bracelets for the BFF your child has not seen since March these crafts will keep your kids creating.
Make Your Own Basics
Paper Maker: Since crayons are lonely without paper Crayola wants to be sure kids have enough paper – or that they can make their own! Check out this paper making kit that comes with all the supplies you need to make 20 pages and teach kids about where their construction paper comes from. Pair with the Crayola Paint Maker to allow young artists to make an entire creation from start to finish including the raw materials!
Show Your Friendship
Pura Loom 3-in-1 Bracelet Maker: Use this bracelet maker to knot, twist or weave. This will keep some lucky child busy throughout the holiday break and they can even use it to make gifts from the heart for friends. It even folds up for easy storage or to take on the go.
Mash it Up
Mash-Up Art Pack: These all-inclusive art packs come in themes like Batik and Glitter. Each pack comes complete with everything your artist needs to get stated including a technique guide, an art pad and different types of media from watercolor to gel pens and pastels.
Create Again and Again
Chalk of the Town: These t-shirts and bags come with their own mini-chalkboards printed right on them. This means that you can decorate these again and again for as long as your chalk lasts. They are also great mediums for your budding artists to show off their masterpieces.
Keep Those Hands Busy
Bead Sets: Cara & Co. makes adorable bead sets in themes ranging from Christmas to classic. Kids can craft necklaces or chewy toys with these high-quality silicone and wooden beads. This is a great sensory activity for kids that will keep their hands busy away from screens. They can keep their creations for themselves or give them away as a post-holiday gift.
TWEENS AND TEENS
The hardest demographic to buy for doesn’t have to be impossible. From the hottest games to gift boxes created with them in mind, we found gifts they may actually thank you for.
A Rare Unicorn
Unstable Unicorns: This cult game won the People’s Choice Award for Best Toy last year. Unstable Unicorns has it all from mystical creatures to destruction. Your goal is to collect a stable of seven unicorns before your opponents complete their stable – or destroy you.
Doodle to Your Heart's Content
Kawaii Doodle World: You may have heard “I’m bored!” more than usual this year. Turn off the screens and up your child’s doodle game with this step-by-step guide to creating the most adorable Kawaii cartoons. Your child just may discover a new hobby to keep them busy for as long as the pandemic lasts - or at least for winter break.
Hit the Great Outdoors
Outdoor Gear: Spending more time outdoors means some more gear is a good idea. This foldable daypack from Sea to Summit is a great choice for those quick runs out to day hikes away from people. Great that can be used for years to come is a great gift that can one day be used for camping trips with friends.
For Teens Only
Teenology: These shampoos and conditioners are specially designed to help prevent breakouts. They come in a variety of teen-friendly colors and scents. The company also takes into account things that important to teens and have created cruelty-free products.
A Box of T(w)een Goodness
BeTween the Bookends: This gift box is curated by a thirteen-year-old girl who has her pulse on exactly what her peers want to read and what they want to do for fun. Each box contains a book vetted by the founder herself along with several hand-picked lifestyle or craft items. Get your tween one box or spring for a subscription for the year.
Cheeky Chickadee: Who isn’t spending more time in their comfiest clothes these days? Tweens will love these cheeky prints with everything from sloths to ostriches for their new leggings and sweatshirts. As a bonus, they come in toddler and grown-up sizes so the whole family can match.
Weighted Blanket: If there is a secret to a good night’s sleep a Magic Weighted Blanket just might be it. With stress levels at an all time high a weighted blanket can help a tween, tween or fully grown adult get the zzzzs they have been missing. Choose fabrics from cotton to chenille and watch the magic when a lucky recipient gets a hug back from their blanket.
Rummikub Premium Edition: This classic game comes with high-quality tiles and a stand for each player to prevent cheating. Since tweens will be stuck home more than usual this winter a new game that they can play with siblings or parents will be a hit – or at least a way to get them off their screens!
Skate it Up
Skate Ramp: Need to get your t(w)een out of the house but don’t want them to venture far? Bring the skatepark home. A Keen Ramps quarter pipe takes up just a few feet of space but will keep kids outside, dropping in and skating for hours. Post-COVID its sure to make your home a destination for neighborhood kids – which may or may not be a good thing depending on your perspective.
Chill in Style
Classic Sweatshirt: Chances are your child spends their days wearing the same, steadfast shirts day after pandemic day. Give them a new cozy favorite like this Since 1914 Wilson Sporting Goods pullover. This stylish sweatshirt will give a quick wardrobe refresh that your child will love all winter long.
Most kids are stuck at home for at least some of their school days. Make life a little easier for them (and their reluctant homeschool supervisor) with these gifts.
Write, Erase, Repeat
HABA Whiteboard and Chalkboard: Thanks to distance learning homes around the world have found the need for a whiteboard. This version created just for kids stands up, has a magnetic eraser so it never gets lost, and had a chalkboard on the reverse side. It’s also big enough for practice writing the whole alphabet.
Crazy Aarons Thinking Putty: Fidgeting is getting a lot of kids and grown-ups through sitting in front of computers for far longer than anyone should be expected to sit still. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is thicker than silly putty and makes a great fidget for when it’s necessary to occupy little hands to keep minds focused. It also makes a great stocking stuffer!
The Octopus who Gets It
The Grumpy Octopus: Has this year made your child grumpy? It must be 2020! The Grumpy Octopus may be the best stuffy of the year and it’s perfect for your kids to keep nearby when they are grumpy about not being able to go to school or see their friends.
Fire it Up
Amazon Fire HD Tablet: Sitting in front of a computer all day is a drag. A portable, and more affordable, Amazon Fire Tablet is a great solution for the kid who has to be online a lot but needs to move around or doesn’t have a dedicated spot for virtual school. With a winter with lax screen time rules looming a tablet for each child can also solve the problem of constant fighting over whose turn it is to choose a TV show.
Even with a global pandemic raging Santa will make the rounds to fill stockings around the globe. Make sure yours are filled with fun and fabulous finds.
Pop it Up!
Holiday Poppers: These adorable poppers in themes like Rudolph the Reindeer and an Elfin Pig are inexpensive little creatures with soft balls that are squeezed out of their noses for hours of indoor fun.
You Look Pretty, Oh so Pretty!
Looking Pretty: Beauty products make great stocking stuffers. Tori Belle has gorgeous pallets and magnetic lashes make a great stocking stuffer for anyone who likes to look pretty- even in a pandemic. Formula 10.0.6 products, like their mask set which will refresh anyone’s pandemic face, will be a welcome addition to any stocking for teens on up.
Stay on Track
On Track: This small, three-corner game makes a great stocking stuffer at under $10.00. It’s a race to see who can finish their railroad first while learning about real historical railroad stations and building STEM skills. This National Parenting Award winner is a small box with a big punch.
Test your Brainpower
Thinkfun Pocket Brainteasers: These small puzzles come in four different levels of difficulty and are designed to deliver an Aha! Moment. At about $7.00 these make great stocking stuffers. Give different puzzles to siblings so they can share and practice different skills.
Write it Down
Big Life Journal: Kids have lots of big feelings in a typical year. That goes triple for 2020. Big Life journals uses a scientifically-based approach to promoting a positive mindset through age-appropriate guided prompts that kids can complete independently or with a parent.
Big Laughs in a Small Package
Mad Libs: Mad Libs are a great stocking stuffer for anyone who has been nice this year no matter what their age. This small gift is under $5.00 yet packs a big punch for lots of screen-free fun. Chose from themes ranging from Christmas to Silly to Best Of.
Smart Egg Labyrinth Puzzles: These puzzles come in the form of beautifully decorated eggs that not only are pretty enough to display but are challenging to solve. Chose different levels of difficulty for everyone on your list and then let family members trade once they have solved their own and are ready for a bigger challenge.
A lack of playground chatter this year may mean that kids don’t have their pulse on what they must have this year. Don’t worry – we have the latest and greatest rounded up for you.
Playmobil: Playmobil always makes a great gift. This brand is known for sturdy sets that keep kids (and some grown-ups) happy for hours. Playmobil makes it all from Scooby Doo to Back to the Future to a Recycling Truck. Most sets come complete with figures and accessories and can be used for hours of imaginative play.
A Girl for the Ages
American Girl: American Girl is a classic any child will be happy to unwrap. This year American Girl unveiled their newest historical figure that a lot of parents can relate to as well. Courtney comes straight from the 1980s and wants to become a coder thanks to her love of Pacman. Or, go for a classic girl like Nanea who hails from Hawaii and teaches kids about the spirit of Aloha. Nanea makes a great gift for anyone who misses travel!
Silly Poppy’s Hide and Seek: This is the game for the year that has been full of poop. Hide the rainbow poop emoji somewhere in the in the house and watch as the kids look all around for the talking poop that gives clues, including through fart sounds. Sound too silly? Know that it won a Mom’s Choice Award!
Balance it All
Mobo Explorer Balance Bike: Even though travel is restricted kids don’t have to stay grounded. A Mobo balance bike will help kids go farther faster. Plus, retro styling will make sure they do it in style.
Hot Wheels Fast & Furious Spy Racer: Inspired but the Fast and Furious this set will be tons of fun for grown-ups to play with their kids. Any Hot Wheels car can be loaded into this mobile spy headquarters but the set comes with an exclusive Fast & Furious car as well.
Kids who love Dinos will love Dinomazing. This unique dino-egg decorating machine comes with Dinosaur eggs that spin around while kids use the included markers to decorate their eggs and reveal the cracks.
Break open the eggs to reveal a dinosaur covered in slime. Once you use the included eggs, try your hand at decorating real eggs to get ready for Easter.
Dino Target and Xshot Blaster: Inflate the Dino Target then grab your Xshot Blaster and fire away. Aim for the targets or use the Dino as a shield. These can be used indoors or out for fun and exercise all year round.
Scribble, Wash, Repeat
Scribble Scrubbie Pets: This adorable set from Crayola will keep kids busy for hours. Color the pets with washable markers then use water and a scrubbing brush to wash them clean and start over again. Everything you need to scribble on your pets and make them clean again is included.
Zuru Smashers: This is the grossest Dino set you will find – and that means it will be a hit with kids. Lift the Dino’s tail and watch him much on an egg. Then, listen closely for sounds of belching and farting until the character in the egg pops out. Hilarity will ensue!
Rainbowcorns Big Surprise: If you need a big gift to place under the tree this is the answer. This Rainbowcorn egg is HUGE and is filled with over 30 different surprises inside for the ultimate gift. Different themes are available so every child on your list get find one they will love.
Ready, Set, Go!
Carrera Go! Mario Kart: Does your child love Mario Carts? Now then can get Mario and Luigi off the screen and into their living room with this customizable track complete with Mario and Luigi in their cars. Use remote controls to race around the track and through the loop. Expansion packs are available for more complex and longer races.
May the Force Be with You
The Mandalorian: If anyone in your family eagerly awaits the release of each new Mandalorian episode be sure to wrap up their very own plush, talking The Child (aka Baby Yoda), which may be the hottest toy of the season. Or, get the very popular The Mandalorian Monopoly. Instead of trying to buy as much property as possible, players and buy hideouts and earn Imperial credits by charging rent. Another hot gift this year is the Mandalorian Darksaber Lightsaber which is a timely addition to any lightsaber collection.
Get Comfy in the Castle
Disney Princess Comfy Squad Castle: In 2020, even Princesses spend a lot of time hanging out in the PJs. The Disney Princess Comfy Squad Castle embodies the pandemic vibe of sticking closer to home in loungewear. Once you realize that even Princesses are taking some downtime you will feel better about your own year is going. This castle comes complete with furniture and accessories and is compatible with any 11” doll.
Nerf Ultrablaster: Everything about 2020 is a little extra. The Nerf Ultrablaster is a great way to keep the game going longer since there is no where to go and not much else to do. Pair with some homemade targets for solo play that will keep kids busy for hours.
Play-Doh Candy Delight Playset: Play-Doh is a classic toy for a reason! This Candy Delight Playset will keep kids busy well through winter break and beyond. Work those small muscles in hands needed to develop fine motor skills while kids delight in creating their own play-doh candy creations for pretend play for under $15.00. Refill with new play-doh anytime.
Ride in Style
Their Own Range Rover: This ride-on luxury car will be the highlight of the holidays for any lucky kid who is sick of quarantine and wants to hit the road on their own. Head to the driveway or alley and watch your mini head off into the sunset even before they have their license.
School is not happening as usual this year. Give kids the tools they need to up their STEM game with these gifts that are so much fun they won’t realize they are learning.
Hape Junior Magnet Science Lab: This 34 piece set comes with everything your budding scientist needs to complete seven different experiments that can be done again and again. Teach kids about the science of magnets with the included Gravity Magnet, Bouncing Magnet, Spinning Planet, Magic Fish and more.
Very Virtual Reality
Bill Nye VR Science Set: Join Bill Nye in his lab to complete experiments – literally. This Virtual Reality set comes with a pair of VR goggles so that the famed scientist can walk kids through more than 50 experiments from chemistry to physics designed for kids 8 – 12.
Kids who Code
Smart Buddies: Let kids see the immediate results of their coding efforts with these SmartGurlz and SmartBuddy coding robots. Link the app to your doll and their scooter to complete missions, play along with stories and more. The coding app uses block-coding that is intuitive for many kids.
Kibo Coding: Kibo kits have long been used in classrooms to teach coding and this year there is a home version available for the first time. Kids as young as four can code using this screen-free robot that grows with your child as their skills grow and they can engage in more complex coding.
Reach New Heights
Katherine Johnson: One Step Further: If not for Katherine Jonson it may have taken NASA a lot longer to get to the moon.
This picture book tells the story of this Black woman and legendary hidden figure, including family photos and the reflections of Johnson’s daughters, one of whom went on to become a NASA mathematician herself.
Build to New Heights
LEGOs: LEGOs are the classic STEM toy that kids have been using for generations to learn basic building skills. Themes range from Harry Potter to friends to Ninjago. LEGOs come in every price point from under $10.00 for sets that are stocking-stuffer sized to larger sets that will be the premium gift from Santa.
FOR PARENTS ONLY:
Parents deserve all the gifts this year. No parent was meant to spend 24/7/365 with their child. Splurge a little and give parents what they crave this year. You probably can’t give them alone time, but you can try to spoil them a little.
They Get Around
Cybex Giselle: Looking for a dream stroller? Look no further than this Cybex Giselle. This unique stroller can be used in so many ways, from using the sizable built-in bag for gear or groceries making it ideal for commuters or long days out. Or, accessorize with a bassinet or second seat to turn this powerhouse into a double stroller. This is the one stroller that will last for years through changes in lifestyle or changes in family size. Plus, it’s a dream to push. If that’s more stroller that Mom and Dad need, they will love the Cybex Libelle which is great for travel since it folds small enough to fit in a suitcase and easily rotates to face a parent or the world.
Classy Chargers: In this era of staying connected virtually chargers are a hot commodity in nearly everyone’s house. These chargers and power banks can be customized with names or monograms so there is never any question about which charger belongs to whom, ending spats with spouses and children once and for all.
That’s What She Said
Mantraband: If you did not have a mantra before 2020 you probably have one now. Do some digging to find the mantra of the special people on your list this year and get them a bracelet or necklace with the words that are helping getting them through from “Enjoy the Journey” to “I Can and I Will.”
Glorious Gaming PC Mouse: This year has just about everyone using their computers more than usual. Make it a little easier by upping their computer game with an ergonomically correct and super-light mouse like this one from Glorious Gaming PC that performs just as well for work as it does for gaming.
A Comfy Quilt: In 2020 many parents would rather be hiding under a blanket. It might as well be a nice one like these soft bamboo quilts from Cariloha. These blankets are incredibly light while providing lots of comfort and warmth. Perfect for both cool nights and pulling over your head when pandemic parenting becomes a little too overwhelming.
Battery-Powered Blanket: Another quintessential 2020 gift is the Cozee. A battery-powered heated blanket may once have seemed unnecessary but in a year when the only way many feel comfortable seeing family and friends outdoors it just may make the perfect gift to keep the lucky recipient warm and safe all winter long. It could just be the answer for the parent who needs to get out of the house but has nowhere to go except the yard.
Costa Del Mar Sunglasses: Does Mom have bags under her eyes? She’s not alone. A new pair of shades like these from Costa Del Mar are the perfect gift to keep her stylish while hiding how tired she is. Paired with her mask, these will keep her pandemic-chic! As a bonus, once travel restrictions are lifted she will be ready to head to the beach in style.
Amazon Firestick: Up any household’s TV game starting for under $20.00 with an Amazon Firestick. Download more apps and change the channel by asking the Alexa that lives in the remote to play whichever show is getting you through the pandemic. Kids can also ask Alexa for their favorite show instead of bothering you to do it for them.
Bootay Bag: Mom may be wearing her loungewear or favorite sweats most of the time to ride out the pandemic but she can still feel pretty by wearing nice undies underneath. Enter s twist on traditional subscription boxes, the Bootay Bag. Bootay Bag sends discretely packaged undies straight to her starting at under $10.00 a month so she can refresh her most important attire without leaving home.
Camp Quarantine: The gift that everyone needs, even the Mom who has everything is the must-have 2020 Camp Quarantine t-shirt or sweatshirt. This retro-styled design from Wondery puts a fun spin on the situation we all find ourselves in this year. Hopefully one day soon it will become a fun relic of a time long gone. Another good option is family loungewear from MORI that will keep Mom and Dad comfy all night (and day). These Loungewear Pajamas are soft enough to sleep through the night in while looking just passable enough if she oversleeps and needs to hop on a Zoom call right away. As a bonus, there are matching sets for the whole family.
Caffeine for the Win
Nearly any parent will appreciate a bag or two of gourmet Tchibo coffee. Caffeine just may the secret to getting through this pandemic unscathed and the holidays are a great opportunity to recognize that parents everywhere are giving up sleep in order to step into their new roles as homeschool teachers and full-time activity directors.
We Will Survive
Survival Backpack: If there is one thing 2020 has taught us it is that we need to be prepared for anything. Really, anything. This survival backpack from the Uncharted Supply Co. has nearly everything needed to last for a few days or to get through an unexpected situation, like a broken down car in the middle of winter during a pandemic. Keeping essentials like a first aid kit, chem lights and emergency blanket on hand is just sensible.
Festival Blanket: Although no one is going to festivals in 2020 this Festival Blanket from Nomadix is the perfect gift for the era of outdoor socially distant gatherings. This blanket has a soft plush top, anchoring corners, and a water-resistant base so it’s perfect for picnics, outdoor yoga, or seeing friends from six feet apart nearly all year round.
BOOKS TO BEAT BORDEM
Books belong on everyone’s holiday list. That goes double for 2020 when everyone needs an escape from reality. We have the best for babies on up.
It’s Never Too Early
Antiracist Baby: It’s never too early to start teaching children to be anti-racist. This board book by Ibram X. Kendi makes a great gift for even the youngest among us who want to build a more equitable and just society. The book’s bold illustrations will keep everyone’s interest!
They Can Change the World
The “I Am” series by Brad Meltzer tells the story of regular kids who grew up to be extraordinary told in a way that even preschoolers can understand. I Am Anne Frank and I Am Benjamin Franklin tell the story about what makes these heroes great, focusing on traits that children can use to live heroically themselves.
Yes, Graphic Novels Count as Reading
Even reluctant readers are often grabbed by a great graphic novel. Some of this year’s hottest make great gifts for tweens and teens.
Shirley & Jamila don’t know each other well but they have the same problem: their parents are sending them to dreaded summer camps. Together, the girls convince their parents to let them spend the summer together instead and they set off to solve a neighborhood mystery.
Or, check out When Stars Are Scattered tells the important story of kids growing up in a refugee camp. This graphic novel comes from the author of the very popular Roller Girl and tells what day-to-day is like for refugees in a honest but hopeful way.
A Weird and Wonderful World
This new illustrated edition of the Roald Dahl classic Matilda will earn a permanent place on your family’s bookshelf.
Matilda loves to read, and her family thinks she is ridiculous. She eventually heads off to school hoping things will be different but there she encounters the fearsome Miss Trunchbull. Things turn around once Matilda meets the kind Miss Honey, who herself has the type of strange family history expected from Dahl.
The ABCs Are All Around
The Invisible Alphabet: This book puts a twist on the traditional ABC book. Everything in this book cannot be seen. There is no A is for Apple here. Instead, A is for Air. C is for Clear. Let kids use their imagination to fill in the gaps while learning their letters in this unique book.
Blast From the Past
Are You There God, It’s Me, Margret?: This new edition of Judy Bloom’s classic puts the story in a new context with a cover that features Margret texting with God and waiting for an answer. While the story inside has not changed this new edition with a faux leather pink cover will help grab the attention of today’s t(w)eens and draw them into the same beautiful story that captured their parents’ attention years ago.
A Legend is Born
In Legendborn, When Bree loses her mother in an accident she moves into a residential program for bright teens. On her first night she witnesses a magical attack and her own powers are unlocked. This book is full of Black Girl Magic and is a page-turner from start to finish.
In the new series City Spies five kids from very different backgrounds find themselves embedded in an elite spy agency. They learn skills from hacking to sight of hand that enable them to go where no adult can. Young readers will become immersed in this world full of suspense that shows the value kids bring to the world.