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I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. My family and I had a blast getting together on Christmas Eve, when my parents throw a huge party inviting all of their friends and extended family over. First, my mom serves an incredible Italian dinner. Then, the best course comes, her famous chocolate chip cookies. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without complaint.
While looking forward to those delectable cookies, even more so, I enjoy catching up with people I haven’t seen in awhile. There are always amazing stories to be heard and grand plans for 2017. My parents have some truly inspiring friends.
A New Addition to the Family
I have to say that the highlight of the season this year was my newborn nephew being born on December 19. My wife and I found an adorable Santa outfit for him to wear, and he looked extra cute. I have to admit that I am probably a bit biased, but he has some good-looking genes :).
Giving and Getting Gifts
As much fun as Christmas Eve is, the little kid in me still loves opening presents on Christmas Day. I even woke up before the alarm clock, and that rarely happens. (Note: the alarm clock my son who wakes up at 7am everyday no matter what.) Unwrapping presents is still a thrill for me. However, now that I have a one-year-old son, watching him tear through presents is even more fun. His wide-eyes and “Wow”s kept us all entertained. Sometimes the unwrapping was the best part of the whole gift to him!
Amazon Wish Lists
One of the best things about Christmas now that I’m older is that I only get gifts that I specifically ask for. A few years back, my mom instituted a policy that she would only buy gifts from Amazon wish lists to make her life a little easier. She always appreciates us completing them by early December, so she has time to receive and wrap the gifts.
Since I like receiving gifts, I am always good about filling my list. The best part about choosing all my gifts is that I know I won’t need to make any returns. That is a gift in itself!
According to Optoro, approximately $70 billion worth of products will be returned this holiday season. To put this in perspective, roughly $284 billion worth of product returns will have occurred in 2016. So almost a quarter of all returns in 2016 will probably occur after Christmas.
Many parents try to avoid giving gifts that will be returned by giving their children gift cards. The gift card industry is exploding. Gift cards are expected to be a $160 billion industry by 2018. Unfortunately, as the market continues to expand, the number of people that want them are low. In a recent survey, only 27% of Americans said that they looked forward to receiving a gift card, compared to 73% that looked forward to receiving a physical gift.
Discounted Gift Cards
Cash Is King
A poll by Halifax, a U.K. bank, found that nearly one-third of children preferred to receive cash as their gift for Christmas. My parents don’t usually do this, but my Grandma does, since she finds it too difficult to pick out a gift for everyone.
Ten Items To Buy After Christmas Returns
So with these facts in mind, I came up with a list of the top 10 gifts that you can buy with your money from Christmas returns.
- Nintendo: NES Classic Edition – I have to admit that I still have my original Nintendo, but I still want this NES Classic Edition. Some of my best childhood memories were playing video games with friends. I seriously can’t wait to play Super Mario Brothers again.
- Google Cardboard – While it’s not the Oculus Rift, this is an incredibly fun way to experience Virtual Reality on a budget. I played around with it and have to say that it was definitely at the top of my holiday wish list.
- Amazon Echo – I am totally intrigued by this device. I have read all the reviews on the Echo along with it’s competitor Google Home and am torn. They both have a ton of useful features. I can imagine how this could definitely make my life easier.
- Roku Streaming Stick – My wife and I are getting closer and closer to cutting the cord. Note: An antenna doesn’t work at our house for whatever reason. I have tried all throughout the house and haven’t been able to find the right angle to receive service. With all the great streaming products out there and the unbundling that is taking place, I could see ourselves untethered by this time next year. The holdout has been local programming since I love to watch football. But even that looks like it is finally becoming available on other avenues.
- SoundBot SB510 HD Water Resistant Bluetooth 3.0 Shower Speaker – I received this gift two years ago and have to say it’s one of my favorite gifts ever. Listening to music and podcasts while I shower are a treat and really provide a nice pick-me-up in the morning. On top of that, it’s super affordable and something that I enjoy on a daily basis.
- Amazon Kindle – I remember when I first received a Kindle thinking, “What is this thing?”. I loved holding a book and feeling the texture of the paper. That was six years ago. Today I can’t imagine lugging multiple hardback books around with me on vacation. Plus, being able to download books and have them delivered directly to me is very convenient.
- Foot Massager – I love this gift so much. I could get my feet rubbed all day and never complain. Coming home from work after using my standing desk all day makes for an enjoyable time.
- Inflatable Pool with Plastic Balls – My son loves this gift so much. It’s like he has his own personal Chuck-E-Cheese. My parents have purchased this pool and ball combo as well. My kid can’t get enough of jumping into the balls pit and playing around. Plus, the best part is in the summertime, you can use the pool outside as well for its original purpose.
- Exploding Kittens – I wrote a review about how my family and I love playing this card game. We played it on Christmas Eve, and we had a blast.
- RTIC – This item can keep your drink hot or cold for for as long as Yeti. The great part is it is about half the price but provides the same performance.
Readers, did you have a great Christmas? Are you content with your gifts, or will you be making some Christmas returns? Share your stories below.
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