The AFPL Holiday Gift Guide 2019

It’s that time of year again, when we all need to start searching for the perfect gifts for all of our loved ones. Trying to find that one great present that will truly make someone’s holiday can be a daunting task, so we’re here to help! We’ve once again scoured the internet looking for the best, most interesting gifts we could find and compiled them all for you here, along with links for where to buy them! We don’t make any commission from these, so feel free to look elsewhere for better deals, in particular we recommend Dealnews as a great way to keep track of the many, many sales that will be occurring over these next several weeks. So without further adieu, let’s get to the list!


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ANYTHING FORTNITE RELATED

If you know any kids or younger teens, you are almost certainly aware of the fact that they love Fortnite. Since this is a free-to-play game, you can’t buy them a copy, but they do sell packs featuring additional content, like the Fortnite: Darkfire Bundle that contains 13 cosmetic items for use in the game, and gives you something to wrap and put under the tree. Additionally, you can buy them Fortnite V-Bucks in various denominations, allowing them to pick out their own in-game items. If you would rather get them something they can use in the real-world, Nerf has a variety of Fortnite themed toy guns, like the Sp-R pictured above, and of course, there is a Fortnite edition of Monopoly.


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A PORTABLE VR HEADSET

The Oculus Go VR Headset provides a great virtual reality experience without needing to be plugged into another device like a computer or a cell-phone. We recommend going with the larger 64GB storage option to avoid running out of space for new experiences.


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GAMING AT HOME OR ON THE GO

Sure, for horsepower Nintendo’s Switch console is no match for Sony’s Playstation 4 or Microsoft’s Xbox One, but it’s hard to beat this unique gaming machine for pure fun. And with Sony and Microsoft both launching their next-generation models in 2020, it might not be the best time to pick up their soon-to-be-obsolete current machines. The original Nintendo Switch allows gamers to use the device both plugged into a TV set and as a portable handheld unit, while the cheaper Switch Lite can only be used in handheld mode, though both can still play the same games.


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AND SPEAKING OF GAMES…

Now that it’s been out for a while there is a pretty expansive library of great games available to play on the system, including many ports of older titles that it’s pretty amazing to be able to play on the go. Still, it’s hard to go wrong with Nintendo’s first party titles, like Luigi’s Mansion 3, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In addition, Nintendo has a line of collectible Amiibo figures that make for great stocking stuffers, and provide additional content in select games.


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2 GREAT TV SETS

If you want to really spoil someone this Holiday Season, a large-screen TV would certainly do the trick. Samsung’s The Frame is a particularly impressive set that is designed to blend into a room when not in use. It can be mounted flat against the wall like a painting and has only 1 cord running from behind it that connects to a small box containing all of the other ports you might need, making it easy to keep all of the wires tucked away. In addition, when not being used as a TV it displays a selection of artworks, and can automatically go to sleep when no one is in the room. If you are looking for something a bit cheaper, TCL’s 55″ 4K TV has the Roku smart-TV platform built-in for easy access to apps like Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV+, and more; and while it has an MSRP of around $700, it is almost always priced at $400 or less.


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VINYL IS BACK!

You may have noticed that records have been resurging in popularity over the last few years. If you know someone who is looking to get in on the trend, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60-BT turntable is a great beginner record player. It is fully automatic, can be plugged directly into a pair of speakers, or can connect wirelessly via bluetooth. If you are looking for something a little more refined, the Orbit Plus Turntable is one of the best of the mid-range models on the market. It combines sleek looks with excellent performance and is available in a variety of colors. We recommend getting the model with built-in preamp so that you can plug it directly into a pair of speakers, but if you have a pricey amplifier already, you can buy a slightly cheaper model without one.


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NOW YOU NEED SOME RECORDS…

Of course, what good is a turntable without some records to play! Luckily they are getting easier and easier to find, with even Walmart adding a small section into many of their stores. Some popular titles to get people started include the Stranger Things 3 soundtrack, The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, and Panic! at the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked. And if you want to help ensure that these records sound great for years to come, the Record Butler allows you to handle your favorite vinyl without actually touching it (and makes for a great stocking stuffer for any aficionados you might know).


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SOUND GREAT

Amazon’s newest entry to their line-up of Echo devices, the Echo Studio, is the best yet, combining their Alexa voice assistant with a built-in smart home hub, and sound that is getting rave reviews, often being hailed as the best in its class. Edifier’s R1280T bookshelf speakers are unbeatable for their price. They provide sound that blows away speakers that sell for considerably more money, and you can plug 2 devices in simultaneously via AUX port, eliminating the need for a separate amplifier. For a more personal listening experience, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones offer industry-leading sound and noise cancellation technology, along with built-in access to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. For an extra $50, you can get this bluetooth headset in a custom color too!


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SPIN SOME TUNES

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-200 is a great and affordable way for any budding young DJ’s you might know to get started. It can be run off of a computer, tablet, or smartphone and works with most popular DJ software, which means that they can also use it with popular streaming services like Spotify. Even better, it offers several features to make perfectly mixing 2 songs a breeze.


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AN APPLE A DAY…

Apple’s line of premium, high-quality tech products mean that the brand is still a mainstay on wishlists around the world. Of particular note this year are the new AirPods Pro, which offer several advanced features unavailable in the standard versions, and the current generation iPad Air, which brings several of the features of the iPad Pro to a more affordable device. It is recommended that you go with the pricier 256 GB model as the 64 GB base model will likely see users running out of space a lot quicker than they might think.


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PERFECT FOR READERS

While others have tried to make one, there is still no better e-reader out there than an Amazon Kindle. The Kindle Paperwhite in particular stands out in their lineup, with the thin, ergonomic device being easy to transport and it’s illuminated eInk display being even easier to read in any light. Even better, the latest models are waterproof, making them ideal for beach or poolside use. For someone who might want to do some light websurfing or app use, the Kindle Fire HD 8 is a great entry-level tablet. It’s still a good size to use as an eReader, but it’s full-color screen means you can use it to watch movies and access many of your favorite apps. For the Paperwhite, the smaller 8 GB device should be fine as eBooks don’t take up a lot of space, but for the Fire, you will probably want to go for the 32 GB version to avoid filling things up, though it does include a MicroSD slot for additional storage.


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SHOOT & PRINT

The Canon Ivy Rec is a fun outdoor camera with a unique design that makes it very portable. For those of us who want to print out the countless photos we take on our phones, Polaroid’s new Lab Printer offers a truly unique solution. You open the image on your phone, place it face-down on top of the device, and watch as it emerges from the base as a classic Polaroid photo.


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A PICTURE’S WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

Dashcams are already very popular in other parts of the world, and they are starting to catch on here as well. In the event you or a loved one get into an accident, it’s great to have proof that you aren’t to blame. The front-facing Aukey Dashcam is easy to set-up and offers clear night-time viewing as well. The Aukey Mirror Dashcam offers both front and rear-facing cameras, but will be more challenging to get started with, so don’t be surprised if you are recruited to help with set-up.


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SMART HOME TECH

There is an ever-growing variety of smart objects available for you to put in your home, but these 2 original players in the game are still among the best (and most compatible with other devices). The Ring Video Doorbell is battery operated and so can work on any home, allowing for peace of mind when away. Philips Hue lights are among the most expensive smart-bulbs on the market, but they are also some of the easiest to use and offer the most features. Keep an eye on the price as well as these are often heavily discounted.


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BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS “SMART” NOW

You may not think you need a smart toothbrush, but when they see everything it is capable of, your dentist will likely disagree. The Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 works in tandem with a smartphone app that lets you know when you’ve spent enough time in each area of your mouth, whether you’re applying too much pressure, and more. The Backslash Fit yoga mat can guide through a routine using an Amazon Echo speaker and has a non-stick bottom to prevent slipping, but more impressively, it can roll itself up, and prevent itself from curling during use.


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FOR HIM (OR ANYONE)

The RAK Magnetic Wristband keeps nails, screws, and drill bits close at hand while working on a project. This pair of Baseball Park Pint Glasses is a fun way to celebrate your favorite team, and a unique gift. When it’s too cold to play cornhole outside, take it indoors with this tabletop set. Save time on your next hike with the Radiate Portable Campfire. It burns for hours without smoke, fits easily into a backpack, and is made from recycled materials.


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FOR HER (OR ANYONE)

Birth Month Flower Necklaces make a simple and stylish statement. Help you favorite DIY-er get started making their own lip balms with this kit. Every one of these upcycled Sari cotton robes is unique as they are made from reclaimed strips of fabric. These beautiful cubic zirconia earrings from Kate Spade make a great gift for someone with newly pierced ears.


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BOTTOMS UP

The eto Wine Decanter combines a gorgeously modern decanter with an air-tight wine preservation system, making it the perfect gift for the wine-lover in your life. The Barsys Robot Bartender works in tandem with an app to automatically mix you and your guests a perfect cocktail every time. Capable of holding 5 liquor bottles and 3 mixers, it can make you a drink in under 20 seconds and even features automated cleaning technology.


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CHEF’S CHOICE

A gourmet oil dipping spice kit makes for a fun evening of sampling flavors from around the world. Never worry about ruining a sauce again with this automatic pan stirrer. Keep fruits and veggies from rolling away with this novel cutting board.

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In the picture above, notice how much flatter the cake in the front is? That’s because the cake pan was encircled by a King Arthur Flour Cake Strip before going into the oven. Home bakers will wonder how they lived without it. Do your part to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics with this modern travel flatware set by Berghoff Leo. An ex-Google engineer created this mathematically optimal measuring cup, claiming better accuracy and better results for every recipe.


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UNIQUE GIFTS

YnM weighted blankets provide the sensation of being held, allowing users to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep. It works for dogs, so why not people, right? The Lightess Cinema Light Box makes for a fun, interactive bedroom or dorm room decoration. If you know someone who carries a lot of gadgets, and therefore a lot of wires, around with them, get them a travel cord roll. It might wind up being their favorite gift of the year.


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LEARNING IS FUN

If you think you know someone who would like to learn how to cook from Gordon Ramsay or Thomas Keller, or who would like to learn writing from Judy Blume or James Patterson, or maybe fashion design from Marc Jacobs, these, and many other classes are available for $90 each from Masterclass.


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TABLETOP GAMES

Like records, board and card games are making a major comeback, which is leading to a lot of new and interesting ideas. One of the most-acclaimed and hard to come by is Stonemaier Games’ Wingspan, in which players use cards to attract birds to their wildlife preserves. Also from Stonemaier is Scythe, in which players conquer territory in an alternate-history 1920’s Europe. For something lighter, Game of Phones sends players on a scavenger hunt to find a variety of humorous things in their smartphones.


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PLAY TIME

Fisher Price’s Linkimals toys can connect to each other to teach your little ones using movement, music, and lights. You know you would have loved the Radio Flyer Flyer 500 ramp and car set when you were a kid, so why deprive yours of such reckless joy? Kids 6 and up can learn the basics of coding with the Dash robot from Wonder Workshop.


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YOU KNOW THE SONG IS STUCK IN YOUR HEAD NOW

If you know a child who absolutely can’t get enough of the “Baby Shark” song, or perhaps some parents who you want to get some low-key revenge on, the Baby Shark Official Song Puppet is the perfect choice. If instead the children on your list love Pokémon, then the speaking, moving, light-up My Partner Pikachu is an excellent stocking stuffer. This Amazon exclusive coloring kit from Crayola contains over 100 pieces, and should keep any creatively-inclined kids you know busy for days.


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POP HITS

Kids, teens, young adults, and up all love to collect Funko’s Pop! figures. These collectible toys cover just about every major hit in pop culture so you are bound to find several that appeal to just about anyone with even a passing interest. In addition, they are now making strategy games, like this one featuring characters from the Harry Potter franchise.


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EVERYONE LOVES LEGO

Lego has been around for nearly 90 years and continues to be one of the most popular toy companies in the world. Thanks to clever licensing and design they even have appeal to adult hobbyists and collectors. Some of this year’s most popular sets include the Hogwarts Clock Tower from Harry Potter, the Deep Space Rocket & Launch Control kit, and the impressively complicated Stranger Things “The Upside Down” kit.


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FOR THE PERSON WHO HAS EVERYTHING

Add your favorite shared memories to a custom Reel Viewer for a truly unique gift. This DIY tabletop pinball game should provide hours of smiles. Floral design house La Fleur offers a box of peonies that stay fresh for an entire year.

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