Quick. Get your kids to write their holiday wish lists now.
Some of the season’s hottest toys are already in short supply, so start shopping unless you don’t mind blowing the holiday budget on second-rate gifts that leaves a very disappointed child.
- For more tips on budgeting and spending for the festive season, see our Holiday Financial Guide
“You have to buy the hot toys early because, in the last two weeks [before Christmas], they are going to be impossible to get,” said Jim Silver, chief executive officer of TTPM.com (Toys, Tots, Pets and More), a consumer website that reviews toys and other family goods. “You can wait for the rest,” he added.
A piece of advice: Rush out now to find Hatchimals because they are already almost extinct. The little furry, winged critters that peck their way out of colorful eggs are so scarce that they are on sale on eBay for $300. Retail prices are as low as $49.99 -- if they are available.
As always, movies are driving toy demand. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens on Dec. 16, but kids are already clamoring for the Smart R2D2 that is only available at Walmart. It costs $99 though it’s already on the secondary market for $200. Another hot item from the film is Lego Star Wars Krennic’s Imperial Shuttle 75156. TPPM’s Silver said that spaceship Lego set is unlikely to go on sale, although other items from the popular line of building bricks will be discounted throughout the season.
Silver noted that some toys are exclusive to certain retailers, which can make them even more challenging to obtain. That’s why it’s important to read children’s lists carefully, so you can plot where to shop.
“Trolls” is another new film, recently released, with tie-ins that are expected to top many kids’ lists, and reignite interest in the little figures with cone-shaped, colorful hair that were popular in the 1960s, and again in the 1990s. Disney’s latest phenom princess hails from a TV show, “Elena of Avalor,” and merchandise connected to Elena is flying off the shelves. The newbie has dethroned Elsa of the movie “Frozen” as the studio’s It Girl.
The best place to go for the season’s must-haves is the internet because it is easier to comparison shop, Silver said. His website has a tool to help find the lowest prices.
Still, Silver also suggests befriending the staff at your local toy store. They can let you know when a new shipment arrives so you can grab your coveted gift before the masses reach the aisles. Friday evenings are a good time to shop because often stores have already put out and discounted the items that will be on sale during the weekend.
Among other sought-after toys:
1. The Chef Club, a collection of figures and accessories
2. Barbie Fashionistas, a new line of dolls with diverse ethnic backgrounds and body types
3. Pie Face Showdown, a game that involves getting hit in the face with a plate of whipped cream
4. The Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe, a learning toy
5. DC Super Hero Girls Dolls
6. Battery-operated drones