Toshiro Tanaka, Test Specialist
TÜV SÜD in Yonezawa, Japan
My Tip: Robotic and coding sets like KOOV are very popular this year. They’re fun and also educational. They teach kids early on how to combine science, technology and mathematics in a playful way. The construction set allows you to put together mini-robots made of small plastic modules—ships or animals, for instance. The figures can be controlled using an online tool.
How Much It Costs: You have to invest around 400 euros for a starter set.
What to Keep In Mind: These sorts of construction kits are made up of many individual parts and equipped with lots of electronics—and are thus appropriate only for older kids (ages 8 and up). Buyers should look for independent certification seals that supplement the required CE label and provide information about the product’s safety.
How I’ll Be Celebrating: Although Japan isn’t really a Christian country, we do celebrate Christmas here—but not usually with the whole family. We’ll probably go out to eat in a nice restaurant and then go out on the town, since everything is specially decorated for the season.
Kirtika Perti, Global Business Development Specialist,
TÜV SÜD in Munich
My Tip: Drones are becoming more and more popular—from teenagers to 80-year-olds, people are fascinated with flying them and using them to take photos or make videos. Mini-drones are a perfect introduction. No larger than 20 by 20 centimeters, and weighing not even 100 grams, these tiny helicopters still come equipped with mini-cameras. These toys are perfect for use at home, whether out in the yard or inside the house, to learn how to use the technology.
How Much It Costs: Small drones with simple cameras are available starting at around 100 euros, but prices vary from seller to seller. If you decide later to upgrade to a better and larger model, prices can easily run up to 700 euros.
What to Keep In Mind: Certifications like the test seal from TÜV SÜD certify that the product has been tested and fulfills all the necessary standards. The smallest drones are subject to the EU Toy Safety Directive, while TÜV SÜD has developed a comprehensive certification program for larger drones. The use of drones is also subject to rules and regulations in most countries: in Germany, operating drones weighing less than five kilograms doesn’t require a permit, but hobby pilots have to comply with identification requirements and maximum flight altitudes. And as of October 2017: drones weighing more than two kilos require pilots to show proof that they have passed a knowledge test on how to fly the thing.
How I’ll Be Celebrating: We traditionally celebrate Christmas Eve together as a family. In the early evening we have supper, usually with roast chicken, or Wiener sausages and potato salad. The Nativity play at the church also shouldn’t be missed. Later in the evening, the presents appear beneath the tree.
Shelby St. Amant, Marketing Project Coordinator,
TÜV SÜD in Tampa, Florida, USA
My Tip: Board games that are fun for the whole family have become popular again—but there has to be a bit of a thrill to them, like with the Pie Face Game. You take turns placing your face in a target and turning a handle that at any moment can trigger the launch of a big glob of whipped cream. The more you turn the handle, the more points you get—but the greater the chances of getting the “pie” in your face. It’s great fun for family evenings, rainy weekends or when the power goes out.
How Much It Costs: You can buy the game for less than 30 euros. The whipped cream costs extra, of course.
What to Keep In Mind: Online retailers do booming business, particularly around Christmas when gifts can be bought conveniently and often more cheaply than in brick-and-mortar stores. Buyers should absolutely make sure they’re shopping in certified online shops that fulfill certain requirements for data protection and payment security. Also pay attention to certifications such as the official TÜV SÜD “s@fer shopping” seal!
How I’ll Be Celebrating: In the United States, Christmas is traditionally celebrated with the family on December 25. My family likes to decorate the house a few weeks before Christmas. We like to enjoy the beautiful lights and also the aroma of the Christmas tree for most of the month of December.
Felipe Guimarães, Director's Assistant,
TÜV SÜD in São Paulo, Brazil
My Tip: We Brazilians are just crazy about technology and our celular, the cellphone. If I’ve shot a great photo or seen a funny video clip, I want to share it with my friends. You can do this through a social network—or directly using a hip new smartphone projector, so everyone can see the photos and videos together on a large flat surface.
How Much It Costs: You can get a smartphone projector for a little over 20 euros.
What to Keep In Mind: The projector is made of cardboard and a plastic lens and is delivered fully assembled. The system is simple, easy and safe to use.
How I’ll Be Celebrating: In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is around the time of the summer solstice. So I’ll probably be out on the beach, as always. In the evening I’ll meet up with my family beneath the decorated Christmas tree, and while it isn’t a fir tree, I can assure you that ornaments and Christmas lights look great on a palm tree.
Michelle Ping, Key Account Specialist,
TÜV SÜD in Shanghai, China
My Tip: Karaoke is a popular leisure time activity in Asia, where many people get downright competitive. That’s why a wireless karaoke microphone is the perfect Christmas gift. It can be used for professional karaoke events—as well as by passionate singers at home who want to practice for their big performance.
How Much It Costs: The prices can vary quite a bit, depending on the seller. At around 50 euros you’re on the safe side.
What to Keep In Mind: All electronic devices emit electromagnetic signals. Companies like TÜV SÜD have special labs to test whether threshold values are adhered to and what the interference resistance and emissions values are.
How I’ll Be Celebrating: Christmas in China isn’t much of a family celebration. The streets and plazas of larger cities are filled with people, particularly on December 24. I’ll probably go out to a karaoke bar or a club with friends and acquaintances on Christmas Eve.