How to Holiday

This Is the Gift Everyone in Your Family Will Be Excited About This Year

You, your kids, your guests, and your playroom will be thrilled on Christmas morning!

As a parent, I can say that my zeal for the holidays has slightly waned this year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m practically Buddy the Elf when it comes to decorating my manse. But buying gifts? Eh, I’m sort of over it. Here’s why: We are drowning, DROWNING in crap. I’ve got four kids who have so many books, lightsabers, Hatchimals, sleeping bags, dump trucks, scooters, and microscopes that the idea of buying them more of anything makes me want to head for the hills. (We’ve even got a toddler-sized motorized Batmobile, so don’t even bother suggesting that.)

So, this year I’m turning to a gift that's big in size and scope and wow factor. (And it definitely doesn’t comprise of 1,000 tiny pieces that I’m going to step on for all of 2019.) It’s a gift that my kids are going to go bananas over Christmas morning, my husband will be stoked about, and will make our house 100 times more fun when we entertain. What is it? Pop-a-Shot’s Home Dual Shot Arcade Basketball Game, that’s what.

I first got the idea while watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians — it was a scene where Kylie Jenner invited her big sister Kim Kardashian to play one-on-one on her new dual basketball hoop game, and it got me thinking, “Hey, I want one in my house!”

From the pioneers of the basketball games you knew and loved in arcades as you were growing up, Pop-a-Shot just recently created this residential version that is oh-so-perfect for us consumers. First and foremost, what caught my eye was the price. Currently $279 on Houzz, the game is a splurge, for sure, but given the its footprint and impact, I’m OK with it.

Next up: The Dual Shot concept is all-encompassing. Everyone loves basketball. And if they don’t, they’ve likely got a competitive spirit that will lure them into playing a little one-on-one. This is a gift that will get your entire family interacting, even if they have zero hoops skills. In the age of screens and smartphones, that is priceless! Your 90-year-old grandfather can have a shoot-out with your 5-year-old daughter. Your son will be thrilled to have friends over for playdates, and if your cocktail party is falling flat? Pull names out of a hat, create a bracket, and force your friends into shoot-outs. Suddenly everyone will be laughing, shouting, and kicking off their heels to improve their aim.

More to like: The Dual Shot is sturdy as hell. I researched these games thoroughly and deducted that Pop-a-Shot’s hoops were the most top-of-the-line of the at-home game options on the market. Whereas other hoop frames were reviewed as being rickety and having flimsy backboards with malfunctioning electronics, Pop-a-Shot’s reviews were the opposite across-the-board, touting the product as durable, sturdy, and able to withstand constant use. So, I tested one out myself.

It took my husband just over two hours to build, and he found the instructions to be clear and correct (because, let’s face it, oftentimes they’re not!) and the set-up to be intuitive. The game has a few structural features that we really love, like the super-strong 1.5-inch steel tubes that make up the frame. My kids are all under the age of 6, so I can’t mess around with a giant product that might topple over if a toddler leans on it. Fear not: Dual Shot isn’t going anywhere — except, that is, if you want it to, in which case the game’s rear wheels are very handy. Also useful: Extra extension tubes that allow you to tailor the height of the unit. (FYI: In its shortest form, Dual Shot fits under 7-foot ceilings, perfect for your finished basement!) And unlike its competitors, this scoreboard is a half-inch thick and looks like something you’d find in a sports bar — it’s fancy, yo! Like, impress-your-neighbors fancy. I also appreciate the expansive netting on the sides of the frame to catch the many foul balls my kids (or inebriated friends) will likely shoot, and the heavy-duty nylon ball ramp that can withstand the inevitable abuse inflicted. The frame also folds inward for those times you need more floor space, and it comes with seven mini balls.

Now that we’ve covered the set-up, let’s talk about the game itself. It is, in two words, a blast! Seriously. The score board ticker is big and clear, and thanks to infared sensors, it’s also incredibly accurate. What I’m most excited about though is the game’s optionality. It comes with 10 different settings, including the standard 30-seconds-on-the-clock shoot-out. But for those times where your kids are bored of that, there are nine other options, like “criss-cross,” where you and your opponent shoot at each other’s basket, or “sharpshooter,” where you each only have three seconds on the clock to make the shot. And of course, there’s also a “solo” game where only one basket is active. All of these options are managed via an easy-to-use electronic control panel on the front of the game. Oh, and to add to the inevitable shoot-out suspense, the game has some great audio selections like crowds roaring and a hilarious "swishing" sound when you sink a basket.

Of all the reasons why this game is worth purchasing — and there are lots of them — truly my favorite is that it encourages good wholesome fun. It’s a gift that you can feel great about giving, one that your whole family will enjoy using and that will boost your house’s cool-factor tenfold. Clink on the link below to buy one for your home!

Pop-a-Shot’s Home Dual Shot

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