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It’s a holiday season like no other. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, the 2020 gift-buying season is a challenge for many reasons. Supply chain issues are causing a shortage on some of the most popular releases of the year (ahem, Playstation 5 anyone?) and the U.S. is also seeing a strain on delivery services, from the U.S. Postal Service to UPS and FedEx. For one or more of these reasons, you’re likely looking for an alternative gifting option for that special someone in your life. Just like most of 2020, everyone needs a Plan B but that backup plan–or backup gift in this case–doesn’t have to be boring and dull.

Here is an alternative gift buying guide to keep your 2020 holiday full of cheer:

Instead of Apple AirPods Max
… Buy Sony WH-1000XM4
Price: $350

Apple has long been rumored to enter the over-the-ear headphone market and just last week, dreams came true when the company announced the upcoming release of the Apple AirPods Max. The price tag, however, left even the most die-hard Apple fans feeling less than cheerful. Instead of shelling out $549 for a first generation product that likely will be rehauled and nullified in another year or two, consider the Sony WH-1000XM4. These over-the-ear headphones are packed full of features, many of which are in the Apple AirPods Max, but come in at a fraction of the price. These have top-notch noise cancelling technology that can be personalized to your environment and lifestyle, will automatically upscale all your digital music files to give you an unbelievable listening experience, have built-in microphones that will come in handy during those Zoom calls, and are quick charging–a full charge will give you 30 hours of use while just 10 minutes of charging will give you 5 hours of use. They also come with a hard-shell carrying case and can easily pair with two devices at a time and switch in between them should you want to go from listening to music via one device to a virtual or phone call.

Instead of Paleton
Buy MyxFitness MYX Plus
Price: $1,499

As gyms face rolling shutdowns due to the pandemic, more people are working out at home and Peloton, the luxury indoor bike, has definitely become a top choice among many. Peloton starts at $1,895 and while the bike looks great and it comes with a nice HD-screen where you can tap into an online instruction (for an extra $39 per month)–that’s a lot for just an indoor bike. That’s why MyxFitness MYX Plus is a great alternative for that fitness buff in your life. What makes MYX Plus such a great alternative is all that you get for the price. The bike itself has an interactive 21.5 in. Touchscreen tablet, a feature that makes Paleton so appealing. The on-demand interactive coaching classes are a separate buy but are just $29 a month, saving you another $10 per month or $120 for the year. In addition to the bike, however, with the MYX Plus you’ll receive a stabilizing mat, polar OH1 heart rate monitor, 6-piece weight set with kettlebell, a 48 x 72 in. oversized exercise mat, 24 in. foam roller and resistance band. For anyone who has tried to buy exercise equipment this past year knows, this is a great value and puts you on track of building the ultimate home gym.

Instead of Technics SL-1500C Turntable with Built-in Preamp & Cartridge
… Buy Denon DP-400
Price: $589

No, this isn’t 1970–turntables are a thing once again due to the growing popularity of vinyl. The good news is that vinyl aficionados have more turntable options than ever. The bad news is that no turntable is the same in terms of quality and price point. You may be thinking that the higher the price, the better the turntable. In that case, the Technics SL-1500C Turntable with Built-in Preamp & Cartridge is a good choice with its coreless direct drive motor, built-in phono preamp and rugged build quality may look appealing. The problem is that it comes in at a whopping $1,199.99 and is out of stock at many retailers. The alternative buy is the Denon-400, which costs around $589. It also has a built-in phono preamp, is semi-automatic, comes with a replaceable moving magnet cartridge, and has a solid base construction that will cut down on unwanted vibrations. The fact that you will not need much in terms of additional equipment to get the best out of the Denon DP-400 makes it a great buy, whether you’re a seasoned fan of vinyl or this is your first time getting into the hobby.

Instead of Sony PS5 (PlayStation 5)
… Buy Nintendo Switch Lite
Price: $199

Ok you gamers, we need to have a heart-to-heart–yes, the PlayStation 5 is the hot gaming system to buy at the moment but much of its appeal comes down to the fact that you can barely find it and will likely not see it back in stock until sometime in 2021. Yes, the PlayStation 5 has many drool-worthy features including a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU and AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based GPU that’ll make the graphics cutting edge and the ability to play BluRay discs on it but Nintendo’s Switch Lite is an alternative for Sony’s beast of a machine. One big advantage of a Switch Lite is that it’s portable–you can take it anywhere and it’ll give you access to a large library of popular games, from Zelda Breath of the Wild to the popular Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While you can’t connect the Switch Lite to a television to play on a big screen, the portability and low price point makes it perfect for the more casual gamer who wants access to some of the best games on the market (including some titles that are available on the PlayStation).

Instead of Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey
… Buy Alkemista Infusion Vessel
Price: $70

If you’re looking for the “perfect” gift for the whiskey drinker in your life, you may think the best gift would be the top whiskey available on the market today. Well, that would be the Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, which even made Oprah’s Favorite Things list for 2020. This brand has earned more than 125 awards throughout the world since its launch in 2017 and has earned high ratings from Wine Enthusiast and the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. What if you could give a gift that challenged your whiskey drinker to create his or her own award-worthy blend? That’s where the Alkemista Infusion Vessel from Ethan + Ashe comes into play. With this fun gift, anyone can create and serve fresh, custom crafted spirits from anywhere, including at home. It comes with an ultra-fine stainless steel filter that will allow you to give your whiskey a new flavor or aroma with whatever you choose to infuse it with–botanicals, spices, herbs and other fruits.

Instead of a Box of Cigars
Buy a Monthly Cigar Club Subscription
Price: Varies
For any holiday, a cigar is a great way to celebrate while relaxing. There are tons of cigars on the market and even more great local tobacconists that likely offer gift cards if you’re unsure what type of cigar to buy the cigar smoker in your life. Another great option is a subscription to a monthly cigar club. Many of today’s cigar smokers enjoy and appreciate variety and stocking their humidors full of some of the hottest and most unique releases available. A subscription to a monthly cigar club would be the perfect option that will keep giving year round and have your cigar enthusiast thinking and thanking you on the regular. Cigars & Leisure has highlighted just a few of the cigar subscriptions available now [click here to read], but just to give you an idea of the variety out there there’s Luxury Cigar Club (beginning at $18.99 per month), My Monthly Cigars (beginning at $19.99 per month), and (beginning at $28.99 per month), to name a few.

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