While it’s all furious action and last minute preparation at the north pole, folks here in New Zealand may still be wondering what the hottest gifts of the season really are. Can you be sure of getting just the right thing for the kids? A poll of online and physical retailers around the world reveals some surprising — and not so surprising — trends.
When it comes to toys for the kids, there are old favourites topping the list — but with a new twist. Laser tag is back, but forget the clunky old sets of the 1980s — the modern game is lighter, more fast-paced, and doesn’t devour whole skip bins full of aa batteries. Reliable LEGO is in number two spot with a choice between Harry Potter themed sets — the Hogwarts great hall is this year’s centrepiece — or the never-ending juggernaut that is Star Wars.
Unsurprisingly, considering the rise of e-scooters and e-bikes in the news, both traditional and electrically powered scooters and bicycles are still right in the top five. Nevertheless, a strange new addition is slime. Kits and ‘laboratories’ for creating glittery, glowing, sticky and downright gross slimy substances are hot for 2018 — a variation on the silly putty of yesteryear. The final spot in this year’s top five goes to robots — dancing robots, robot dogs, baby dolls, kittens and more. There’s something almost scary about how lifelike these animatronic toys have become in recent times!
Of course, the top five is not for everyone. Kids are as individual as adults and the gift which says the most is one, which reflects a deeper knowledge of what your children are enthusiastic about. Expensive toys may confer a day of bragging rights, but gifts which nurture their talents and show that you’re engaged with their world to keep on giving all year long. As to all the other toys in the shop — suffice to say that grown-up men are the second biggest market for things like Nerf guns, video games, superhero figurines and model cars at Christmas. Proving once and for all that you’re never too old to want to stay off the ‘naughty list’.