Even though I’ve been writing about video games for years, I never owned an Xbox. I certainly played it often, but not in my living room. My kids always seemed too young for most of the content available, so we were a Nintendo family. But as the boys reach their tween years, I’ve decided it’s time to jump into the next phase of their gamer development. Right now there’s an Xbox One S hidden away in the back of my closet, just waiting for the holidays. I’m looking forward to full family gaming at a different level now, especially Star Wars Battlefront and Forza Horizon 3. But most of all, I can’t wait for Sea of Thieves. I played the pirate adventure game at E3 and knew instantly that it was prefect for my pre-teen boys. If your kids, like mine, seem to have outgrown Mario Party it’s time to upgrade. Microsoft XBOX ONE S $299
LEGO is the best toy out there. No doubt about that. And my kids are on their way to becoming master builders. So they need to get organized. Stanley makes great Husky well-built, yet inexpensive, organizers that are really designed for storing hardware. I plan to mount these on my boys’ bedroom walls so that they can sort their bricks by size and color. See what I did there? I tricked them into cleaning up by pretending it was a gift for them.
Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be the holidays without some awesome new LEGO sets. This year we’re skipping the STAR WARS space ships and going exclusively with stuff from the crowd sourced LEGO Ideas Series. These are super unique limited edition sets designed by ordinary folks and voted into production by the internet-at-large. I’ve been planning this for a while so I’ve got a couple discontinued sets in the closet: LEGO Birds and LEGO Maze. Also, the LEGO Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and LEGO Wall-E are on this year’s list.