Uggly dog toyI can't be the only one who loves holiday shopping. The smell of pine boughs. The joy of finding something my loved ones are destined to love. The entertainment of watching normally sane and level-headed parents fight over the hot holiday toys on Black Friday like they're the last bar of chocolate on earth.

Parents take the warnings that such and such toy is going to be hot and hard to find very SERIOUSLY, and for good reason. I was once that mom trying to find the very last doll in the store way too close to Christmas. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

But how do you know that it's really worth throwing on your battle gear and actually going to war for an XBox One or an InnoTab? What will the kids actually play with for years to come?

We decided to ask -- who else -- real kids to test the "hot" toys of the 2013 holiday season.

We wanted to know: what's boring, what falls apart in seconds, what gets cast aside in seconds? And for that matter, what do the kids say they absolutely must have for Hanukkah or Christmas? So we gathered one 4-year-old boy, one 6-year-old boy, two 8-year-old girls, one 8-year-old boy, and a teenager to help us.

More from The Stir: 25 Classic Toys Our Kids Will Love as Much as We Did This Holiday

The products were all procured as samples from the manufacturers (with the exception of the XBox One, which was purchased by the writer), and presented to the kids as is. The parents and teen helped only in getting them out of boxes and/or with any set-up that required an adult's touch.

We asked the kids to be honest, and to make sure they were, we didn't tell them they'd get to keep their favorites until after the test was over. 

Are you surprised by what they had to say about #12? What's on your kids' holiday list this year?

 

Image by Jeanne Sager