Hot Holiday Toys: If You Want ‘Em, Get ‘Em Now'/
Looking at present

Predicting the hottest holiday toys doesn’t take much of a crystal ball if you believe the “hot toy” lists that retailers put out a few months before the big day arrives.

For parents who don’t want crying children on Christmas morning, buying those popular gifts now is a lot easier than waiting until mid-December when they may be out of stock or only available at a bidding war on eBay. With most toys costing $50 or more, it’s a good idea to buy early before shortages drive prices up.

We’ve looked at the lists of retailers and have talked to toy experts to compile our own list of popular toys this Christmas. The attempt was to provide a variety of products for different ages and sexes and not offer too many toys in one category, such as tablets for kids. We’re not predicting that these toys will sell out, since some toy makers may plan ahead and increase supply, and we don’t want to create an artificial demand by predicting prices will jump for the toys we list.

But if you’re child wants a popular toy, it’s a good idea to shop around sooner rather than later and find the best price. Here’s our top 10 list of in-demand toys this Christmas that should be bought quickly before they go out of stock:


Walmart put this retro toy atop its list of popular toys for all children in September, giving customers plenty of warning. The interactive furry creature was one of the most popular toys of the 1990s. Prices start at $54.

Leapfrog LeapPad

Toys R Us doesn’t rank the 15 toys on its hot toys list for 2012, but Wal-Mart puts it at number two. The tablet is for ages 3-9 and has more memory than its predecessor, and has front and back cameras and more than 325 educational games and apps. It costs $100, though that doesn’t include the games that start at about $15 each.

 Master Moves Mickey

Every Christmas there always seems to be at least one electronic toy that moves and talks, and while this Fisher-Price toy may not beat Furby or Elmo, the website Squidoo put it near the top of its list of top toys. It inspired a flash mob in Times Square, though it looks like the event was sponsored by Disney to help release the toy. Prices vary, but $50 looks to be the starting point.

 Nintendo Wii U

Along with playing video games, users can browse the Internet and watch Netflix videos on this handheld device. The $350 deluxe edition is bundled with a game and some extras, and is already hard to find.

 Hot Wheels Terrain Twister R/C Vehicle

These battery-operated remote-controlled vehicles can go over snow, water, dirt, grass and other tough terrain and are aimed at boys. They’re $100 each.

1D Collector Dolls

If you don’t know what “1D” stands for, ask your young daughter. Each of the five members of the One Direction singing group has a doll made in their likeness, selling for $20 each. The singing dolls are $30 each.

Barbie Sisters Cruise Ship

What would a hot toy list be without something from Barbie? While there are plenty of Barbie dolls and accessories for sale, the $70 cruise ship will give the doll and her three sisters a vacation they — and your wallet — won’t soon forget.

Monopoly Millionaires

We don’t know how a board game can sell out, but Wal-Mart lists it as its sixth most popular toy. It’s like the classic game, but inflation has apparently taken effect and caused prices to increase. The first player to make $1 million wins. Encourage your mini-Donald Trump for $15 with a game the family can play together.

Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Star Harmony B. Sharp Interactive Doll

That’s a long name for a $50 doll, but, remember, the Lalaloopsy dolls were popular a few Christmases ago and were hard to find. The doll is on the hot toy list for Wal-Mart and Toys R Us. Why does a doll have a retail price of $59.96? Because kids can sing along with her and change her hairstyle to watch her perform a new song.

Skylanders Giants

These fantasy toys aimed at boys are a top seller on eBay for $15 each, which should tell you that they’re already selling fast if you have to bid for them. The characters that kids battle against each other can also be found in stores, which is where John Lyotier of Vancouver, B.C., had to go to get them in the first week of November so he wouldn’t have to resort to buying them on Craigslist on Dec. 15.

Lyotier, the father of two boys ages 6 and 8, and owner of, actually had his wife Jeannine drive to nearby Bellingham, in Washington state, to buy more Skylanders Giants toys. His problem was one that other parents may experience after hearing from their anxious children in November about what they want for Christmas — a change of mind a month later.

“Kids’ habits change and desires changes so quickly that their desires may change before the time Christmas rolls around,” Lyotier says.

That’s one good reason to be thankful that Christmas only comes once a year.

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Published November 23, 2012 Updated: December 26, 2012
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