Hot Christmas Toys to Buy Now! Or Never

Squinkies -- you'll be stepping on them

Looks like there won't be a lot of peace in the air this Christmas as a crazy three-way between Barbie, Bratz, and the Monster High girls is in the works.

Barbie now comes with a creepy implanted video camera. Spy much? Mattel also has a hit with Monster High dolls, and we'll see how the young ones like the new, slightly-less-trashy Bratz, who have a softer look but are looking for revenge on the big sister who dissed them in court.

And all those way-too-skinny ladies are just the beginning of what looks to be a ferocious holiday toy scrum with no clear front-runners and few buyer dollars to go around.



Barbie with video implant for child-spying

I've never taken part in the hot toy scramble; in fact I don't think I even know anyone who has unless you count grade-school classmates who are now Facebook friends who I have to hide from my feed because of their vile politics and their even more vile FarmVille playing.

But I love the horserace-meets-car-wreck of the whole thing, where parents lament the sad state of the toy chase then for some reason do it anyway.

Looking at the LA Times rundown of what look to be the hot toys as Black Friday approaches, I'm glad to see that today's kids are getting their own toys and not just getting drowned in our generation's Transformers/Star Wars/My Little Pony nostalgia. But when I read the following paragraph, I felt older than all the living-and-dead Golden Girls combined.

This year's newcomers are led by Squinkies, soft and squishy figures that can be worn as jewelry, used as pencil toppers, or displayed in play sets; Zoobles, plastic spherical characters that pop open when placed in their "happitats" to reveal creatures inside; Sing-a-ma-jigs, plush creatures that sing, harmonize, and chatter with one another; and Hot Wheels R/C Stealth Rides, mini-vehicles that fold flat inside cellphone-size cases that double as remote controls.

Okay, I'm sure those were all perfectly good descriptions, but I can't begin to picture what even one of those things would look like, not even the Hot Wheels. (Fold flat? Remote controls? Wha? Do they have wheels and are they still hot?) Most of these things are mini-collectibles, of the Bakugan variety, where toy makers and retailers can take just a little bit of your money at a time while probably getting more of it in the long-run.

Zoobles -- I still don't know what they are

And while most toys are getting smaller, Barbie and Bratz are getting bigger, in an attempt to emulate American Girl dolls, who they must just hate for their Pollyanna perfection. 

The 18-inch Barbie, half-again as big, is rising in popularity. One little girl tells the Times why:

It seems like it's my friend ... It feels more real to me for some reason because it looks like a real person.

It may be just me, and I'm sure the little girl has plenty of real friends too, but does that strike anyone else as terribly sad?

Are your kids craving these new toys?


Images via Mattel/MGA/Flickr/wu_135

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