How to Save on Stocking Stuffers
First, try shopping at stores that offer bonus gift cards and freebies for shoppers. If you'll be buying gifts anyway, you can score some stocking stuffers without spending any extra money. Last Christmas, stores like L.L.Bean, Lush, and Half Price Books all gave out $5 to $10 gift cards with a minimum purchase. Best Buy has even offered cards in exchange for old cellphones.
The dollar store can be great place to find stocking stuffers, too, but make sure to focus on things that don't need to be high quality -- like candles, bath products and arts supplies. Puzzle books are actually a great bargain at dollar stores, as they can cost up to $7 in discount stores.
Finally, while cheap gifts can be good, FREE gifts are even better. Department stores are constantly giving out complimentary samples of perfume and makeup, so be on the lookout for these while shopping.
This Christmas, keep these tips in mind when shopping. You'll trim the cost of stocking stuffers and leave more cash in your pocket for the new year.
Elmo was popular when I was a kid. He was popular in the mid-90s, when America went insane over Tickle Me Elmo dolls. And with the toy appearing on all three lists, it looks like he'll be popular this year, too.
Centuries from now, when humanity has migrated to the stars, we'll still give our kids Elmo dolls for Space Chanukah.
Here's another ghost of Christmas shopping past. Kmart and Walmart are both bullish on the latest Furby, which according to the product description "has a mind of its own." It goes on to say that "the way you treat your Furby will shape its personality." Incidentally, you could also describe children this way. Expect to pay around $60 for this one.
Doc McStuffins follows the adventures of a veterinarian who operates on stuffed animals, and the dolls and play centers promise to be popular again this year. All three retailers have this playset on their lists, though it should be noted that Toys R Us exclusively has the "Deluxe" version of the kit pictured here. The Deluxe set has 14 bonus pieces, including a fetching pink labcoat. Note that the Deluxe costs $79.99, versus $64.50 for the standard set at Walmart.
Toys R Us is building tablet mini-shops in its stores, so clearly it expects kid's tablets to be a big market this season. Both Toys R Us and Kmart have the LeapFrog on their lists this year.
The tablets cost $150 and is durable enough to withstand drops, though it's not waterproof. So if your kid is prone to pitching toys into the toilet, steer clear of this one.
The Ninja Turtles are going to be big this year. At Kmart you can find this remote-control "Shellraiser" vehicle, which shoots sewer covers and costs around $45. At Walmart there's the Secret Sewer Lair playset, which costs $80. And at its holiday preview event last week, Toys R Us had classic Ninja Turtles figures and their "party wagon" on display.
Basically, you can't go wrong with Ninja Turtles. (Which, incidentally, is what I tell my parents every year when they ask what I want for Chanukah.)
Both Kmart and Walmart list this one, so it looks to be this season's hot Nerf gun. As the coloring and name make clear, it's a toy weapon being marketed to girls, a rare move for Nerf. We're thinking the popularity of archery-centric movies with teen girl protagonists like "The Hunger Games" and "Brave" account for Nerf's sudden interest in selling to the female market.
We don't recall Princess Merida or Katniss Everdeen using a hot-pink-and-purple bow, but hey, that's toy marketing for you. This one will cost $15.99 at Walmart.
Unlike other fairy dolls, this one actually flies. It must be a real fairy!
No, just kidding, it's just a toy. Get it for $30 at Walmart. It takes six AA batteries, which aren't included.