The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


November 29, 2012

Consider buying gifts everyone in the family will enjoy this Christmas

JOPLIN, Mo. — Sometimes the flag of "family gift" is used to justify the purchase of something that one person in the family wants. But that's not exactly the point of a family gift, is it?

When considering a gift for the entire family, the usage should also be considered. A lot of websites that offer such gift ideas really don't take that into account.

We've looked through the best of those ideas and put family-friendly spins on them, so that everyone can enjoy the new present.

Interactive game systems

A video game system, such as an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, can be a pricey investment, once games and controllers are bought for everyone. Fortunately, all of the major systems have options for movement-based gaming.

Xbox 360 has the Kinect controller and Playstation 3 has the Move controller. And the reason Microsoft and Sony made those controllers is because the Nintendo Wii enjoyed a high level of success.

While the uses for those controllers differ between games, they also open up a new world of family-friendly gaming that doesn't rely on precise button mashing or complicated story lines. That means parents can join kids for a few games without having to worry about content or dive through complicated instructions. Each system has a library of games that feature exercises such as dancing, running and more.

Here are some games that are fun and easy to learn: "Dance Central 3" and "Kinect Sports" on Xbox 360, "Book of Spells" and "Sports Champions 2" on Playstation 3 and "Epic Mickey 2" and "Just Dance 4" on Nintendo Wii.

New games average around $60 each and movement controllers can get as high as $100, depending on the system.

Family use: Make sure you play, parents. With modern games' easy learning curves, accessible themes and family-friendly concepts, you have no excuse -- even after a long day of work.

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