10 Holiday Gifts to Skip (and What to Buy Instead)

Sorry, but the Nintendo Switch and Hatchimals CollEGGtibles aren't happening this year. Instead, opt for these great alternatives that will give you a better bang for your buck!
Exchanging Gifts

You've made your gift list and checked it twice. And from the looks of it, the amount you'll spend on holiday gifts will be naughty (and not nice) to your budget.

But instead of buying more than you can afford, think outside the box and go with alternative items. Your recipients will receive great presents, and you'll avoid holiday debt.

Read on for a list of 10 viable substitutes for some of this year's most popular gifts.

Buy a Fire HD 10 Instead of an iPad

You can't go wrong with an iPad, right? Maybe so, but the Fire HD 10 is a top pick on tech junkies' lists, and its list price is only $149.99. That's less than half of what you'd pay for a new 32GB iPad.

The Fire HD 10 has a list price of $149.99. That's less than half of what you'd pay for a new 32GB iPad.

As a bonus, the Fire HD 10 offers hands-free Alexa capabilities. Plus, you can still use it to watch movies and listen to your favorite songs. The iPad might be capable of more, but people rarely use tablets for more than basic browsing and media.

Buy Ghostek Headphones Instead of Beats by Dre

Some folks are still going bonkers over Beats — Beats by Dre, that is. But their high price tags could make buying gifts for everyone else on your list a challenge.

A more workable (and cheaper) option: Ghostek Bluetooth wireless headphones. Like Beats, there are several variations to choose from. Some models have a built-in mic, noise reduction capabilities, and enhanced bass. And you can also get water-resistant earbuds.

Buy Zoomer Meowzies Instead of Hatchimals CollEGGtibles

Move over, Hatchimals. The CollEGGtibles have come to take the spotlight. Sure, they're from the same family of toys. But these 12-pack egg cartons of adorable pint-sized friends are one of this year's hottest items. And they're already flying off the shelves.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Won't Be Able to Get This Christmas

Don't want to let the kids on your list down? Save yourself the hassle and buy a Zoomer Meowzies kitten instead. You can pick from several different colors. And this interactive toy is loads of fun because it talks, plays, blows kisses, and even says, "I love you."

Buy the Jawbone UP2 Instead of a Fitbit Surge

Has anyone on your list hinted about a fitness tracker to help them get in shape? Maybe a Fitbit Surge came to mind, as it has been a hot commodity for some time.

But what if you don't feel comfortable spending close to $200? The Jawbone UP2 activity and sleep tracker is sleek, and it offers many of the same useful features at a fraction of the cost, since it retails for $99.99 and often sells for much less.

video games

Buy Video Games Instead of a Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is a hot gift for gamers this holiday season. It's in stock at most big-box retail outlets and online. But here's the kicker: It's a whopping $299.99, and that doesn't include games. If you're feeling generous, it's up to you to decide if you should go for it.

The Nintendo Switch is a hot gift for gamers, but it's a whopping $299.99, and that doesn't include games.

You could give them a gift card to put toward the Switch, but the console keeps selling out everywhere anyway. Your best bet is to give your favorite gamer some new game titles for the console they already have, or give them credits to buy the title of their choice.

Buy a Refurbished Device Instead of a New One

Do you have a big-ticket electronic item on your list? Perhaps you've been eyeing that flat screen for your mom or a laptop for your niece or nephew. Or maybe you want to purchase a versatile tablet for your little one.

By buying refurbished electronics from your favorite brands, you can save yourself a wad of cash and still get high-quality items. If you're hesitant, read up on what you should look for in refurbished goods. If you go this route, make sure you buy a device from a reputable site with a warranty from the manufacturer.

Buy the ShiningMart Bluetooth Speaker Instead of the iFox iF013

We all have that one relative who loves to sing in the shower. Why not gift them with a shower speaker, so they can work on perfecting their pitch?

The iFox iF013 might seem like a nifty option, and the $35 price point isn't exactly blowing people's budgets. But, the ShiningMart Bluetooth Speaker is available on Amazon for less than half the price, with similar capabilities. (And it's water-resistant, of course!) You'll spend less overall, or you can use those savings to pad out the gift with some sweet-smelling shower gels. Either way, your money will go further.


Buy a Dollar Shave Club Subscription Instead of a Grooming Set

What do you get the man on your list who has everything? A grooming set! You can't go wrong with shaving supplies to keep his face — and head, if he rocks a bald look — looking smooth and shiny. But the same old grooming kits each year grow dull after a while.

SEE ALSO: Are Men's Shave Clubs Like Dollar Shave Club Worth It?

So, knock his socks off this year with a subscription to a shave club like Dollar Shave Club. It's only $5 for the first month and $9 for all subsequent months until you decide to cancel. This is a gift that keeps on giving, as he'll get a new box of cartridges each month to keep his skin silky smooth.

Buy the Vinturi Wine Aerator Instead of the Aervana Wine Aerator

Any wine lovers on your list? The Aervana One-Touch Luxury Wine Aerator will help them enjoy their wine with ease. But the convenience of the "one touch" functionality comes at a cost: It's a bit pricey at $99.95.

That's where the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator comes in. It performs the same function, has the same 4.5-star rating on Amazon, and costs only $21.99. Score!

Buy a Gift Card Instead of Apparel

Unless you know exactly what your recipient wants, you could buy clothing that doesn't fit quite right. Or, you'll turn their smile into a frown if they don't like the style you've chosen. One solution? Buy a gift card from their favorite retailer and let them do the shopping. Problem solved.

Readers, what other gift alternatives should we add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Contributing Writer

After spending several years as a governmental accountant, Allison transitioned into the world of freelance writing. Her work has appeared on on a number of reputable sites, including The Wall Street Journal, Investopedia, Daily Finance, MSN Money, and Credit.com.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@kurt lofgren

Representation is important to us, as is respect for a variety of relationships and shoppers, so we strive to depict that in our blog articles.
Fire HD 10 over an iPad?

Only if you simply can't afford an iPad or for split the difference, a Samsung tablet.

Thick plastic vs slim aluminum case.

Alexa sucks at answering free form questions. It only responds to pre-formed, structured questions. Siri on the iPad isn't perfect but it blows away Alexa for the things you'd do on a tablet.

Fire largely eliminates the "open-flexible" benefits of the Android operating system. Apple iOS just works.

And if you already have an iPhone, a Fire HD makes even less sense.
@kurt lofgren, good question.
kurt lofgren
Two dudes by the Christmas Tree what is that trying to present?