The Shine's top picks for family gifts

Parenting The Shine



How’s your holiday shopping coming along? Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. To help guide you in the right direction to choose the best gifts for your loved ones, we’ve rounded up our top picks for family gifts for this holiday season. From mom to your teenage son or daughter, we’ve got you covered. Laurie Schacht, toy expert and Chief Toy Officer of ToyInsider.com, came on “The Shine” to break it all down for us.

The theme of this year’s must-have gifts is all about bringing the family together because we know the family that plays together, stays together. We have something on this list for everyone, but in some capacity, all of these selections make family time fun.

The one gift making the biggest splash this season is the new Wii U System from Nintendo. The new Wii U console and the Wii U GamePad controller turns your living room into a playground, with so many different ways to play – you can play games, watch movies, video chat, and you can even use it as a remote to control your TV. The coolest feature? A second screen on the GamePad controller. And depending on the game, up to five people can join. We got the chance to test out Nintendo Land, one of the 23 new games launching with Wii U.  You can visit a virtual theme park and play in fun attractions based on popular Nintendo game worlds that we all know and love, like Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong.

The next gift is for our youngsters – DJ Rock Dock. This interactive kit lets kids actually build a mini speaker dock for an iPod, iTouch, or MP3 player. No tools required and it teaches kids basic electronics while creating a gadget they can use. It’s just $20 and it’s good for kids 8 and up.

[Related: Best Toys For Every Age]

For teenagers, we have the perfect pick. Teens love to listen to music so we’ve chosen Boost Plus, a cool new gadget by iFrogz that easily amplifies the sound of your smart phone simply by laying it on the gadget’s flat surface. No wires needed, no syncing necessary. All it requires is AA batteries.

Moving on to the dads in our lives, we’ve chosen a iPhone case that has a built in stainless steel bottle opener. What dad wouldn’t love this? Dad never knows when he’ll need a bottle opener, so why not have it on a place that he always uses – his phone. It’s coated with an outer slip resistant rubber coating that provides shock absorption in addition to impact and scratch protection for your iPhone. We couldn’t resist.

Last but not least, another amazing gift and this one is for the moms out there. The Peek Plus Baby Monitor System is for moms with children 0-2.  What makes this monitor stand out from the rest is the Internet and app feature. Now parents (grandparents and even military families) can check in on baby at work, on the go, through a free app on their smart devices as well as a secure website. They will have image and sound just like if they were home. And of course, it’s a superior baby monitor giving parents peace of mind home or away with full video and sound functionality. Up to 3 users at a time can be checking in. It comes in at $349.

The Shine's Host Allison Task is wearing:                                                                                                  Tunic, Bailey44
Jeans, Loved by Heidi Klum
Necklace and chain bracelet, Gorjana  - http://www.gorjana-griffin.com/gorjana/
Cuff, Jennifer Fisher Jewelry - http://jenniferfisherjewelry.com

[Related: 8 Tips For Smart And Sane Holiday Shopping]