I’m not 100% sure why, but every year I always spend more time than a person without kids probably should reading up on what the “big holiday toys” are going to be. I don’t have kids, and growing up I didn’t celebrate Christmas, so it’s really kind of a weird fascination.

I think it all stems from 1996 when the Tickle-Me Elmo fiasco went down. Even though I was only 13 I was completely fascinated by the nationwide hysteria surrounding the acquisition of a vibrating fuzzy doll. I think part of the allure was the potential of monetary gain after the fact. Tales of people selling their little Elmos for absurdly inflated prices.

I once managed to capitalize on a hot holiday item in the form of a PS2. I had a hunch that Canadian Tire would not be a normal location for people to camp out early to get one on release day and since my dad is basically the best, he agreed to drive me to Canadian Tire bright and early before school. Sure enough, only a handful of people had the same idea and the 3 or 4 of us got a PS2 right out of the store. I then auctioned it off on Yahoo Auctions for a decent chunk of change, selling it at nearly double its retail value. Then I waited until January to buy myself a PS2 for basically nothing.

elmoIt was glorious.

Anyways, all that to say that I usually spend some time taking a look at what people will expect to be the big holiday toy items. Today, I will talk about some of them, and try to think what I would think about getting these as gifts at various stages in my childhood when I was age appropriate for them.

Sesame Street Elmo Hugs

Speaking of Elmo, I am not sure but I think that Elmo related merchandise has been the main money maker for Seseame Street. Especially since the above mentioned Tickle Me Elmo situation of 1996 they’ve been trying to cash in big on the next Elmo. I guess this one hugs or whatever. I am thinking that the right age for this toy is probably about age 6 or 7.

I remember never having stuffed animals that did *stuff*. I think I liked it that way. I was also a big fan of generic stuff animals that I could project my own vision of a personality on to. I kind of had a problem with stuffed animals that had counterparts on TV. Clearly the real one was on TV, I just had the generic knock off sold to chumps. This nondescript purple dinosaur on the other hand? He was one of a kind, and only I was aware of what his temperment and personality was like. I don’t think I would have dug this at all.

falconHasbro’s Millennium Falcon

There’s a new Star Wars coming out before Christmas, and in my house (where we didn’t celebrate Christmas) this in of itself would’ve been the reason to celebrate. I had a pretty extensive collection of Star Wars figurines as an early teen, so a great big Millennium Falcon to play with these would have been a HUGE get. I will admit that the 140$ price-tag on this thing seems pretty exorbitant though.

This is kind of a tricky one. I was most into Star Wars figurines at around 13-14 and I never really had a great big playset to mess around with them. Star Wars figures were kind of my intro into the more “grown up” version of toys. These guys didn’t get too much play and spent a lot of time up on my shelves looking cool. I would’ve definitely dug the Falcon here, but I think that if my parents had given me the choice between this and 2 or 3 video games, I would’ve probably gone with the video games.

pie facePie Face

I’ve seen the video of the kid playing this game with his dad and I was like “this game is great, it should be at all parties and every social gathering.” I guess you put like a whipped cream pie or something on the little hand and then put your face in the thing and crank the other thing until someone gets a pie in the face? Sounds great.

I don’t even care what age I would be. There is no version of Keith that exists that wouldn’t get a kick out of this stupidity. Again though, price seems like a huge deal breaker. As a kid, I was almost always comparing prices to see what kind of video game I could get for something. If it came between choosing X or a video game, a new video game would nearly always win out. This game retails at 70$. The way I see it is someone can spend 68$ on a new video game for me and 2$ on a can of whip cream and I’ll just shoot whipped cream into someone’s face. Actually, whipped cream isn’t even included in the game! Cool, but WAY overpriced.

realfxReal FX Race Car Things

Holy crap have you heard of these yet? They are amazing. Basically, they use infra red or something so they can drive around on the track without being on a slot. Slot cars without slots! Again, even as an adult I’m fully sold on this.

Hey, you know what’s messed up? My dad was totally into cars and so was my brother. I never really got that into cars but I also remember that despite being heavily surrounded by car toys and stuff growing up (Hot Wheels, Transformers, die cast models, plastic models, etc), we never got slot car tracks? What the hell? I am suddenly realizing how very weird that was.

spheroAt any rate, visiting some other, more loved, kid who had a slot car set was always a treat for me. I loved me some slot cars. I think that at pretty much any age between like 8 to 16, Keith would have been super jazzed to get these guys.

Star Wars: BB-8 Sphero droid

Ok. Two Star Wars things on one list? Well yeah, Star Wars has been bought by Disney guys. So a franchise with a super long and profitable history of merchandising got bought by the people that own Mickey Mouse. Star Wars is going to make multiple billions of dollars this year between ticket sales, toys and merchandise so get used to it.

This is also the coolest toy that has ever existed. I want it now. All Keiths want it. Every version of me in every multiverse wants this toy. Even at 300$ (Jesus) I think I would erupt into high pitch squealing and karate chops the moment I got this toy. Watch this video and tell me you wouldn’t do the same?

I think the only thing that would dissuade me from want this BB-8 guy would be if the droid turned out to be a total Jar-Jar level disappointment. But I mean, he’s a little ball that beeps, there’s a pretty good chance he’s going to be cool. I’m calling it a he because typically, droids have been masculine in the Star Wars universe. Maybe I’m wrong though. Come on Star Wars, it’s 2015.

So there you have it, my take on 5 of the top holiday toys this year. Beep boop.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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