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December 2006 | Vol. V - No. 12
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TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Stocking Stuffers

Inside-Out Balls Go Small


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Elizabeth Greenspan, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Krista Lebednik and Brenda Ruggiero

Play Visions’ Inside-Out Balls and Toysmith’s Growing Lizard are just two of the novelty toys that will be peeking out from stockings this year. Amidst some chatter about stones from Schylling (ToyDirectory), 48 retailers across the U.S. also told TDmonthly there's nothing yo-yo about Duncan's latest. And Pretty Ugly (Gift Guide) and GANZ have joined the “small” trend, too. Here's what kids can expect to find in their stockings this season:




MSRP: $3.99
Category: Novelties



The Ginormous Grow Lizard starts out 12" long. However, when thrown in a tub or pool of water, it grows to as much as three times its original size. When removed, it shrinks back to its previous dimensions. It's part of a line of "growing" animal novelty items made by Toysmith.
— "Impulse items from Toysmith [provide] just great old-fashioned silly fun,” Angel Stahl, owner of Angel’s Toy Barn in Greensburg, Pa., told TDmonthly.
— "Anything that grows in water," answered Fred Rosenberg, owner of On the Park, Inc. in Kingwood, Texas, when discussing Toysmith stocking stuffers.
— Seven of 48 retailers cited Toysmith products as among the most recommended stocking stuffers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10225      (added 11/27/2006)
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MSRP: $3.50
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties



Available in four dinosaur designs, these kaleidoscopes use a marble and a prism to produce visual images. They're 8.5” long and are bound to mesmerize kids and adults with their eye-popping effects.
— "It's science: kaleidoscopes from Toysmith,” make good stocking stuffers, Owner Gerri Garniss of Toys That Teach in Bothell, Wash., told TDmonthly.
— "Toysmith has great gifts…great stocking stuffers," Carol Pilarski-Remis, owner of Marblehead Toy Shop in Marblehead, Mass., added.
— Toysmith items were cited 14 times by retailers with whom TDmonthly spoke this season.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10227      (added 11/27/2006)
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MSRP: $7.50
Launch Date: January 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



The younger siblings to the Webkinz pets, Lil'Kinz are smaller in size but offer all the same fun in the online Webkinz World. Launch date: 2005.
— Webkinz have an "excellent price point,” Bob Hallett, co-owner of Learning Express in Westborough, Mass., told TDmonthly.
— Joyce Will, manager at Learning Express in Andover, Mass., also recommended Webkinz for stocking stuffers.
— They’re “ideal as stocking stuffers, surprise 'just because' gifts, present add-ons — especially if the child has the same full-size Webkinz pet,” Susan McVeigh, communications manager for Ganz, told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10228      (added 11/27/2006)
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MSRP: $3.49
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties



Chatter Stones look like normal metal stones, but sure don't act like them. Manipulating and throwing these stones with metallic properties can produce unusual sounds, and they can feel strange to the touch. Kids and adults will be mesmerized by their unique attributes.
— Diane Robinson, owner of Silly Goose in Essex, Mass., named Chatter Stones as an affordable stocking stuffer.
— Patti Tepper–Rasmussen, owner of Learning Tree Toys, Games & Books Inc. in Oklahoma City, Okla., recommended "the magnetic stones that you throw up in the air," as well.
— Edmund Scientifics, an online vendor/retailer,  offers a fun suggestion: "Simply hold the Chatter Stones in the palm of one hand. Using your thumb, separate them to about half an inch apart and toss them upward. With a little practice, they will produce a wild sound."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10230      (added 11/27/2006)
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MSRP: $10.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Rail Roads & Trains



This wooden railway toy is the classic among the Thomas & Friends line. Compatible with wooden railway toys from other manufacturers, this replica of the popular children's character embodies the hopes and dreams of mini-Thomas fans.
— “Thomas the Tank by RC2 — I sell 100 to 150 units a month,” Ray Goodhart, owner of Ages and Stages Toy Box in Arvada, Colo., told TDmonthly.
— Janelle Cedusky, manager of Cheeky Monkey Toys in Menlo Park, Calif., told TDmonthly that her best-selling wooden toy item is “Thomas the Train by RC2 in general, but especially the Wooden Railway System. It’s hard to specify how many we sell because all are popular.”
— "Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway is the perfect last-minute gift or stocking stuffer. [The] deep product line offers a wide range of price points, from $10.99 engines to deluxe sets," said Laura Mares, marketing manager for Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9119      (added 8/24/2006)
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Dennis FurlanWriter's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author

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