Christmas is still more than three months away, but the major retailers already have a pretty good idea what you're going to get your kids this holiday season.
Each fall, Toys R Us puts out its "Hot Toys" list, predicting which toys will be, well, hot. Kmart (SHLD) does the same with its "Fab 15" list. And last week, Walmart (WMT) put out its own prediction list, which was partly determined through the input of actual children. To help out harried parents, we're gone through them all and picked out a few of the likely hottest of the hot.
Some of the toys appear on all three lists, which is a pretty good indication that they're going to be very much in-demand this season. A few others may also look familiar if you caught our preview of Toys R Us' holiday plans.
All three retailers are offering free layaway this season, so if you think your kids will want anything here, considering putting it on layaway now. Even if you don't need layaway to afford the toys, it's still a good way of hiding the gifts until you get closer to the big day. And for those who will be buying Chanukah gifts, it isn't even all that early to be getting a jump on your shopping. Thanks to the oscillations of the lunar calendar, the first candles of the holiday will be lit the evening before Thanksgiving this year. That's only 10 weeks away.
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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.