Christmas is two days away. Christmas is two days away?! Where did my shopping time go? What happened to the entire month of December? These are just some of the questions I’ve asked myself, and surely I’m not alone. There’s thousands or millions more like me out there with more gift receivers than they have gifts. And if you’re even more like me then most of those people are gamers. Luckily, there’s still time to get something cool for them. Here’s my list of the top 5 last minute gifts for gamers this Christmas and holiday season.
Top 5 Last Minute Gifts for Gamers
Some of these will be pretty specific, but I’ll try to keep things generic. Hopefully that means the gamers in your life will find something of value here. Of course, the real question comes down to budget, so I’ll also offer a wide range of price options in the ideas below. Always be aware of what consoles your gamer friend or family have, since that is often the deciding factor even beyond price. So with that out of the way, here’s the list.
Retro consoles have been around for years, but came into massive popularity with Nintendo’s NES Classic. After a couple of years of anemic supply, these have finally reached saturation and can be found pretty easily all over the place. Whether the gamer in your life prefers NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, or even Sony PlayStation there’s a retro console to their liking out there. Their quality varies, with Nintendo offering the best, Sega having a fine showing, and Sony dropping the ball. However, prices have dropped for the PlayStation Classic making it a more sensible choice for Christmas 2019 than it was last year. If you have $40-$70 to spare and an electronics store nearby this may be your best bet.
Controllers and Other Accessories
No matter how many they already have, every gamer appreciates a new controller. Whether it has features their older models don’t, such as Xbox One controllers with upgraded shoulder buttons, or it’s just a refresh of what they have, controllers are always a solid choice for the gamer on your holiday list. Costing as little as $40 if you catch a sale, expect to at least spend $50 or $60 if you stick to the first party offerings. This is your best option in most cases, though some third party controllers make for some interesting alternatives. And if you really like someone you can dive into the top tier of controllers, such as Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 which is over $150 but is a true delight to use.
There’s also lots of accessories to choose from, no matter the preferred gaming platform. Controller attachments, extra chargers or batteries, etc. Just try to steer clear of the cheaper third party options, especially if they’re bundled with stuff you actually want. These typically are not the best quality and end up cluttering up the home more than they actually get used.
Gamers love t-shirts. Man do gamers love t-shirts. More than that though, they love anything that proclaims to the world what games they love. Gamestop, Best Buy, Walmart, and Amazon are full of this stuff, so your choices may feel overwhelming. The key is to know what they actually like, especially currently. Does little Timmy like Fortnite? Are you sure he still likes Fortnite? The game lost a lot of players this year, with many shifting back to Minecraft as their game of choice. Is little Timmy one of those players? Ask his family and friends what he’s playing lately and hunt down a shirt, statue, or other piece of merch that will let him show off his particular fandom. Hot Topic and Gamestop are your best bets for finding this stuff this close to Christmas, so head in and check them out.
Given our site’s readership, when we say gamer we typically mean someone who is into video games. However, another type of gaming has been on a decade long surge in popularity and quality. Board games or other tabletop experiences are becoming a huge part of the overall gaming experience. It’s tough to recommend any particular one, but I’ve made a short list before, though it’s a little out of date. If you have a tabletop store nearby it can get you started though. Some hits from more recent years include Wingspan, Gloomhaven, Codenames, and Pandemic Legacy.
And there’s of course the always popular, but surging Dungeons & Dragons. If they already play then they likely have a set of the Fifth Edition guides, though grab these for any newbies you know. Otherwise every D&D player appreciates a solid set of dice. Anything with a nice variety that includes a D20, D10, D6, and more will add to their collection.
Look, we all hate giving them, but sometimes a good gift card is your best choice. Especially if you left your shopping to the week of Christmas, when stock is low and stores are full of angry and frustrated shoppers. With gaming shifting more and more toward digital downloads, gamers love getting gift cards. And unlike the other stuff on this list where you need to figure out if they already have it, these are always worthwhile since they just add options to their gaming. All you need to do is figure out what they’re playing games on the most and grab a gift card for that platform. If they prefer the Switch we have a separate guide just for them.