Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Hottest holiday gifts this year
It's an interesting season: Plenty of kids want electronics, but just as many are asking for back-to-basics stuff like LEGOs or bikes.
Once again, it’s that magical time of year when we spend our spare time stalking Santa. He is, after all, the guy with the goods. Even as adults, we start acting a little nicer the closer we get to Christmas. In this high-tech world, the nostalgic traditions of our childhood rule.
Santa still counts, though we'd recommend you text and tweet him your requests early and often. After all, the Apple Store might sell out of iPad Minis before he gets there to pick yours up.
If there’s a kid in your house, he most likely will use an iTunes gift card to download Angry Birds Star Wars on the iPod for Christmas. (Or perhaps he’ll download it on his iPad Mini, starting at $329 from the Apple Store, if he’s been a really, really good boy.)
iTunes gift cards are one of the most-requested teen and tween Christmas presents. Best Buy sells iTunes gift cards for a discount online. iTunes gift cards not only give kids access to all kinds of entertainment, they give kids the power to choose and the power to buy – two things they don’t get much of a chance to experience.
Connie Hughes, mother of eight from SmockityFrocks.com, says her kids, all teens and tweens, just want iTunes gift cards. That’s it. “Five of my eight kids have iPods or iPhones, and they all want the iTunes gift cards because they are so versatile. They can get games, apps, and songs.”
Tech is on top thanks to new systems, platforms, and products. The hottest toys this year, according to Sami Cone, expert shopper for Nashville’s Talk of the Town and blogger at SamiCone.com, are:
- Wii U ($299.96 at Walmart)
- Barbie Photo Fashion Doll (with a camera in her chest)
- Kindle Fire ($199 on Amazon, or less for a used model on eBay)
Moms in a hurry will appreciate Target’s new tech shopping perk as well: QR codes. The Top 20 toys this year at Target have QR codes right on the shelves. Moms simply scan the code and have that toy shipped covertly for free anywhere in the U.S. Buying toys secretly as soon as your kids have declared their undying love for them has never been easier.
Apparently, some of us still want bikes, board games, LEGO sets, footballs, and Easy Bake Ovens ($38 at Walmart). Call us old-fashioned, but the DIYers and the simple living folks have gained ground in recent years. According to Lisa Bushland, Team Leader of the Target Store on Skillman in Dallas, old school is in.
“We’ve always sold well with board games and traditional items, but I have seen a resurgence this year,” Bushland says, “it’s almost like a wave of going back to traditional family times.”
The hottest non-electronics, she says, are:
- Bop-It Smash ($19.99 at Target), or other board games
- LEGO sets
“As we get closer to Christmas, [customers] buy gifts that come in larger packages and are more difficult to hide,” Bushland says. Picture a Christmas tree with a bike and a Red Ryder BB Gun underneath. Or an Easy Bake Oven. For some families, it’s still A Christmas Story, even in 2012. Santa would approve.
Some shoppers seem to agree with Lisa. “LEGO sets are at the top of my son’s list,” says Laura Harders, a super shopper and blogger on BeltwayBargainMom.com in Washington D.C. Laura won’t be disappointed. Target put many of their LEGO sets in the Buy One Get One for 50% off Sale this week, and Toys"R"Us is offering $25 off LEGO purchases of $100 or more.
"Ultimately, it comes down to putting yourself in the receiver's shoes. Any amount of money [spent on a gift] is ultimately a waste if the gift isn't meaningful to the person you're giving it to," says Cone.
Leave it to Santa. He knows if you need a tiny cupcake and another trip through Candyland ($5 at Dollar General this week). Or maybe he’s about to challenge you to a round of taking out a batch of mean green digital piggies. Track him down and tell him you’ve been very, very good.