Looking for the best Christmas gifts for Xbox gamers can be challenging. With the dawn of a new console generation, should you get the gaming loved one in your life a bank-busting Xbox Series X, or the cheaper S, assuming you can find either in stock before the end of 2021? What games should you get? What even is ray tracing, frame rate, and SSD storage, anyway?
That's why we've made this buying guide to all the best Xbox gifts for dedicated or new gamers. So if you're lacking in inspiration, or short on time, you've come to the right place.
This Christmas gift guide rounds up the new consoles (naturally), gear for Xbox gamers, and even some non-tech products from the best Xbox franchises. There's even an especially ugly festive sweater, if they've been a little naughty this year. Either way, the following Xbox Christmas gifts list will help you become the new hero come Christmas morning. Achievement unlocked.
Really, there's only one thing Xbox fans will be dreaming of finding under their tree this year: an Xbox Series X. With a much-vaunted graphical edge over Sony's new box, the PS5, the hardware plenty capable of 4K resolutions at 60fps and blazing fast load times is the reason to buy a Microsoft's flagship new console this Christmas.
Getting one is the problem – stock is elusive, and vanishes fast whenever it appears on a retailer's website.
Yes, it doesn't have much of a launch library to write home about - Master Chief's next adventure, Halo Infinite, won't be out until some time next year - but the Xbox Series X has excellent backwards compatibility support for older titles and still pairs beautifully with the great-value Game Pass subscription service.
Here are all the latest Xbox Series X pre-order updates, if you want to take a swing at getting hold of one.
- Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: which Xbox should you buy?
Not everyone has the budget for the flagship new Xbox: for everybody else, there's the Xbox Series S, the X's smaller, cheaper, and less powerful little sibling. It doesn't have the 4K graphical chops, ray tracing, high frame rates, or the disc drive, but that will be a compromise worth making for some with its cheaper price.
Then again, you still get better resolutions and frame rates than the Xbox One and One S - the more powerful last-gen One X is just about worth holding on to for now - making the Series S and a Game Pass subscription one of the best value propositions in gaming right now...assuming you can get hold of one. If your pro-Xbox friend or family member doesn't mind going digital nor the best of the best in terms of hardware, the Xbox Series S could be for them.
Which proves to be a lot of people at the moment: keep an eye on our Xbox Series S pre-order updates, and see if you can get hold of one.
- Xbox Series S vs Xbox One S: Microsoft's cheaper consoles compared
The Xbox Series X controller feels pretty premium, despite its reasonable price tag. With textured grips on the triggers, bumpers and back of the pad, as well as a revised D-pad, it's a nice controller for 2020. Like its predecessors, too, you can just plug it in to your PC and it'll work straight off – it's the same deal with the Xbox One if you've not been able to upgrade yet, or you plan on sticking with the older console for a while.
Subscription services have transformed how we enjoy passive media, so it was only a matter of time before the revolution reached interactive media as well. Alongside PlayStation Now and various other platforms, Xbox Game Pass offers one of the largest and most accessible libraries of games yet.
You can subscribe from a month right up to a year, and from there you can download and play games from right across Xbox’s long history. That includes exclusives, multi-platform hits and some of the biggest new games, right there on Game Pass from day one. Few gifts have as much scope as this.
Some people find ugly Christmas sweaters and jumpers the ultimate gift to give (and others consider it the worst, so consider the recipient well).
This officially-licensed jumper from Microsoft is certainly something, as it's almost painfully vibrant and green, with a weird mix-up of Xbox and Christmas imagery, but that's why they call it an ugly sweater, right?
It’s 100% knitted, in true ugly sweater/jumper style, and features a crew neckline with a ribbed trim. There’s only one design and set of colors, but there are plenty of sizes so you should find one that fits your body type.
Digital download sizes, and update patch files, are constantly getting bigger and bigger, so it's easy for an Xbox (even with a 1TB hard drive like the Xbox One X) to quickly fill up, making it hard to play or download extra games.
That's why it can be so useful to have an external hard drive, like this 4TB Seagate Game Drive, to give you heaps of extra storage space on top of what already comes with the console. With this, running out of space will be a worry of the past. If you or your gift recipient has an Xbox One S digital-only console, it's even more important to have some backup storage space ready.
However, while the hard drive is compatible with the new Xbox Series X and S, you may want to consider the faster SSD Seagate expansion card specifically designed for the new consoles. It'll match the console's ability to load games in super fast time, but it is almost as expensive as the Series S and approaching half the price of the X, so you'll want to think carefully before going for it.
While Sea of Thieves isn't exactly a new game, having been released in 2018, it's still hugely popular, and growing all the time thanks to new expansions and updates. It's one of the Xbox One's best multiplayer adventures, and it's a pirate game that lets you explore tropical islands and sail the high seas in an open world.
Explore the game's artistic creation with the official Art of Sea of Thieves book, which features an archive of concept art and renders taken direct from the art department of the studio itself. With insider insight and more, it’s a great little piece of visual celebration.
It's undeniable that Master Chief is one of the most iconic Xbox characters ever, as Halo games are some of the most popular games available on consoles, and perhaps this Pop! Funko model would be great for someone who's a fan of the games (particularly if they're hurting about the delay of Halo Infinite to 2021).
Pop! Funko models are generally pretty easy gifts, as they're affordable and there are so many different versions you can buy, from almost all pop culture franchises ever. We've picked off the Master Chief model to display, as a classic Xbox character, but you can browse around to find alternatives too.
You can find more premium gaming headsets than this for Xbox One and the newer Series X/S consoles, but this particular set of cans is great value. Turtle Beach offers a Stealth 600 Gen 2 headset made specifically for Xbox, which means you can pair it with the console without the need for a USB dongle.
You'll also get to enjoy nice spacial sound, helped by the headset's 50mm drivers. While you'll have to spend more to get a less plasticky-feeling headset than this, for a stocking filler this is more than adequate, and number one on our list of the best Xbox headsets.