December 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 12
How to Have the Hottest Holiday Toys
Give Parents Alternatives to Mass-Market Must-Haves
While parents battle each other over the last Lalaloopsy doll at the big-box store, or fill their pockets with Squinkies, you can offer simliar items to moms and dads on a search for something just a little different. Of course, specialty has its own hits, so be sure to check out Our Best Sellers in this month's TDmonthly Magazine.)
Here are a few of the season's hottest toys, followed by one or two suggested Specialty substitutes:
Lalaloopsy Doll - Mittens Fluff 'n' Stuff by MGA ENTERTAINMENT
Other products from MGA ENTERTAINMENT
Designed to be an ordinary ragdoll, something extraordinary happened and this Bitty Buttons Doll magically came to life on the day her last stitch was sewn. Made from pieces of an Eskimo's scarf and sewn on the first day of winter, Mittens can't help but love the snow. She is always ready to start a snowball fight or go skiing and warms up with delicious hot cocoa and a cozy fire. With her cuddly pet polar bear, Mittens always has a pal ready to play in the snow with her.
— As of 10.25.2010, this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 4 reviews on ToysRUs.com and this product was listed No. 2 in ToysRUs.com's best-selling toys. PROS: Adorable CONS: Made of hard plastic, not huggable.
— Just before Black Friday, parents complained to the New York Post of a “Cabbage Patch’ like hysteria” over Loopsy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30953 (added 10/26/2010)
The Adoptable Kinders rag dolls each represent a different letter of the alphabet. They also come with codes that allow kids access to an educational website that provides lessons by grade level. Christy (who represents the letter "C") comes in a green dress with matching hair ribbon, white lace trimmed socks and black strap shoes. (Fabric prints may vary.)
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25656 (added 10/20/2009)
This stylish 16" Les Dollies doll comes with a bright, bold outfits and colorful hair rooted hair to match. She has a vinyl face and a soft cloth body.
— In a summer 2010 TDmonthly survey, two of 38 toy and gift retailers named dolls a best-selling collectible. One retailer cited Corolle as a top brand.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29932 (added 8/9/2010)
The Squinkies™ Surprize Inside Bubble Pack includes 16 collectible “squooshy” friend and pet mini-dolls individually encased in signature plastic toy bubbles. Adding fun and intrigue, four bubbles are frosted to hide their content offering more fun surprises. Pop the bubble open and find a Squinkies surprise inside. With hundreds to collect, trade and share, Squinkies offers kids endless hours of imaginative play as they create their very own Squinkies world. This pack comes with 16 Squinkies, including kittens, puppies, babies and ponies.
Awards: 2010 Toys R Us Fab 15 Hot Toy List; 2010 Time To Play Magazine 2010 Most Wanted List; 2010 Dr. Toy
― As of 9.21.2010, this product was listed No. 2 on Amazon's top 100 best-selling toys and games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30333 (added 9/1/2010)
These animal erasers have removable puzzle parts so they can be taken off and reassembled. The animal collection includes elephants, panda bears, a giraffe, a cow and a pig.
— "Over the course of the last year, it was 500 to 1,000 units per week," Gage Brownell of Belmont Toys in Belmont, Mass., told TDmonthly in March 2010 about his store's sales of Iwako erasers.
— BC USA Erasers were on the top-10 best-seller list at Jillie Beans Toys & More in Westminster, Colo., in April 2010, reported Owner Valerie Elsea. “Tweeny girls and boys love them and they are easy to collect,” she told TDmonthly. “They’ve been selling well since the fall of .”
— Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Springfield, Va., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that her best-selling collectibles are "Japanese erasers. We sell some every day - about 100 per month."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27581 (added 3/15/2010)
These colorful critters "come to life" when placed upon their "happitats," rolling, popping open, or blinking their eyes. Each Zooble comes with stickers for customization.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30598 (added 9/21/2010)
This tiny animal figurine is a wildebeest made of porcelain clay. Toro was "born" on July 19, 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30705 (added 9/30/2010)
Cartoon star. Theme park mascot. Worldwide icon. Dance star? Mickey Mouse takes on a new role with FISHER-PRICE’s new Dance Star Mickey Mouse. The interactive toy is quite an accomplished dancer, able to switch between Soul, Techno, Disco, and Latin dancing styles. Interactive activities, walking, and talking are also a part of this playful rodent’s repertoire.
Awards: 2010 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Award, Platinum.
— As of 1.07.2011 this product had 5 out of 5 stars on Walmart.com and was the #12 bestselling item in the Dolls & Dollhouses category. Pros: Multiple songs; interactive. Cons: Possibly too fragile for very young children.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27084 (added 2/14/2010)
The plush stands 14-1/2” tall and sounds “Hip Hop Jingle Bells” when the music note on his hand — an on and off switch — is pressed. The bear’s arms, hips, mouth and head move in unison with the music.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16656 (added 12/19/2007)
These 18" dolls, including Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella and Tiana, come with tiaras, signature gowns, and invitations to become part of the Princess & Me Royal Family. Girls can even purchase a matching replica ball gown.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30657 (added 9/23/2010)
This 18" ladybug is made of soft red and black plush. Open the velcro closure to use the bug as a pillow, then close the velcro to create a soft pet.
— According to Cynthia Wyatt, president of Totally Thomas Toy Depot in San Diego, My Pillow Pets were on the store’s top-10 best-seller list in July 2010. “Soft and cuddly!” she told TDmonthly. “They are the perfect pal for naptime and nighttime. They sell well … when we can get them, that is!”
— As of 8.03.2010, this product had 3.5 out of 5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 11 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Soft, cuddly and kids respond well to it. CONS: Some parents questioned whether it is actually washable.
— Want this? As of 05/06/2011, this product was available for purchase at Toys & Co.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29761 (added 7/27/2010)
Bound to become a child's best friend, Lilly is not only an adorable ladybug, but also a comfy pillow and super-soft blanket all in one. She's perfect for road excursions or just cuddling in bed. Lilly also makes a a great baby shower gift. Launch date: 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25096 (added 8/25/2009)
The coolest ghouls in school at Monster High are ready to “cut up” the dance floor and boogie the night away. This doll features trendy fashions, an "iCoffin" accessory, a purse, a dance invitation and character photos.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29774 (added 7/27/2010)
Living Dead Dolls Limited Edition Variant Nohell and Stocking by MEZCO TOYZ
Other products from MEZCO TOYZ
This exclusive variant set features Nohell dressed for the season in a festive blood red, velvet touch holiday dress with white faux fur trim and real jingling bells on her boots. This variant also features coal black hair and "frozen" blue lips. Also included is a luxurious raven black stocking decorated with a festive crossbones of a skull and candy canes. The stocking features festive faux fur that coordinates with that on Nohell's dress, and a hidden loop for hanging on the mantle with care. Nohell is 10inches tall, and is packaged, with the stocking, in a special snow white colored coffin. Limited edition of 666 pieces.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31124 (added 11/3/2010)
12" Olivia likes Peter Pumpkin Eater (Daddy), playing pranks, samhain, hide and seek, The Pixies, “A Mid Summers Night’s Dream,” carving pumpkins, candy corn, pumpkin seeds, Allegra (it helps with allergies) Pixie Stix, pumpkin pie cheesecake, Myth Busters, Wikipedia, Ding Dong Ditch. She dislikes: Stingy Jack, cold iron, wearing clothes inside out, running water, bells, Goat Weed, stale bread and Lucky Charms cereal. Limited edition.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23316 (added 4/22/2009)
This scarily delightful plush version of the Monster High character includes a stylish outfit and a pet.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29683 (added 7/22/2010)
Lily Rose is surprisingly well behaved for a baby Vampyre. She plays well and shares with others, not a trait normally found in Vamplets. Although Lily Rose is sweet she has a dark side. She will smile and hug you then bite you thinking nothing is wrong with that. If she appears exceptionally sweet and loving...be careful when approaching her! She can fly into fits of rage when denied her hugs and "Vampyre kisses" which can be lethal! At all times have on hand a jar of Poison Black Apple Sauce...unsweetened. This is her favorite treat and should calm her down immediately. Lily Rose Shadowlyn is 10" tall. She comes with her own Death Certificate.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30017 (added 8/12/2010)
With Cuponk, players compete to get a ball in a cup by trying to master a series of tricks to make the cup light up and sound off.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30656 (added 9/23/2010)
Cup & Ball is an ageless wooden toy enjoyed by many. This traditional, fun toy challenges one's
juggling skills and offers excellent entertainment for children and adults. Available in 2 sizes (large shown), in 5 color combination of natural dyes and lac finish.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28223 (added 4/26/2010)
This 24-pack features Silly Bandz resembling the popular Hello Kitty character and her accessories, including a hair bow and an apple. These bands can be collected, worn or traded with friends.
— 14 percent of 44 specialty retailers named rubber band bracelets a top-selling accessory in a fall 2010 TDmonthly survey, with one retailer boasting sales of 4000 a month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30728 (added 10/6/2010)
Animal Rubber Bands by EASTERN ACCENT INTERNATIONAL
Other products from EASTERN ACCENT INTERNATIONAL
Animal Rubber Bands were designed by Haneda & Ohashi of Passkey Design in Tokyo in 2002. They were awarded Best Design for 2003 at the Japanese National Competition; the Toyota Prius had won the previous year. "Ours are the original animal rubber bands and come in three styles: pet, zoo and dino," said Carol Shapanka of Eastern Accent International. " They're made of silicone and produced and packaged in Japan. Japanese products are produced under strict standards. Factory conditions and the welfare of the workers is just as important as the products coming out of the factory.” The boxed set comes with 24 pieces in a sturdy snap box. The cards have one of each of the pet, zoo or dino animals. Launch date for Animal Rubber Bands: 2002. Launch date for Dinos: 2007.
— TDmonthly Magazine first reported on Animal Rubber Bands by Eastern Accent on July 27, 2005; one store manager compared their popularity to that of Ty's Beanie Babies. They had also been featured in a 2002 New York Magazine "Best Bets" article.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26199 (added 11/25/2009)
Sing-a-ma-jigs are the new free-spirited, off-beat plush characters that love nothing better than to sing together. With each squeeze of their tummies, they offer up a little bit of chatter and then individual notes to a song. But the real magic happens when kids put the characters all together and squeeze their tummies one more time and the Sing-a-ma-jigs erupt into a harmonic chorus like none heard before!
― As of 9.21.2010, this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 8 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 43 on the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Entertaining, cute and interactive. Appeals to children and adults.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27177 (added 2/17/2010)
SchoenhutŪ Piano Pals Dog Piano by SCHOENHUT PIANO COMPANY
Other products from SCHOENHUT PIANO COMPANY
This versatile new little piano grows with your child! The main unit, decorated with a whimsical animal’s head, is perfect for toddlers because it sits safely and squarely on the floor within easy reach of little hands. Later on, the sides with the animal’s body can be attached, conveniently raising the piano to a comfortable upright height for an older child seated at the bench. Schoenhut toy pianos are noted for their excellent quality and unique chime-like tones. The width of the keys promotes proper finger placement, enabling an easy transition to a larger piano.
Awards: Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30766 (added 10/11/2010)
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author
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