Some of you may remember the ones – ghosts of hot toys from Christmases past – such as Tickle Me Elmo, Furbys, or Cabbage Patch dolls. Now perhaps relegated to shelves or closets or even boxes in attics, these toys once set kids’ hearts afire and blazed a trail across the retail world like a comet. Alas, being a hot toy is like having fifteen minutes of fame, and there are always new ones ready to take center stage.
Each year there always seems to be the hot toys that my kid wants, and this year is nothing different. I gauge potential toy hotness in two ways – what he writes on his Santa list and what is being advertised on the TV stations he watches. Many times these are divergent because it has more to do with what he likes than what is advertised.
For example, my son’s year was dominated by watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and wanting the associated toys. Having graduated from Octonauts and Jake and the Neverland Pirates last Christmas, he embraced this as his favorite show to watch. This in itself was showing signs of him moving from six to seven years old this year. However, the impending premiere of the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens rocked his world with so many TV commercials for the various toys associated with it. Since he expressed such excitement, I decided to watch Star Wars: A New Hope with him for the first time to see if he would have any interest, and the result was mind boggling – the force is strong with this one now.
So Santa’s list was composed with a slew of Star Wars requests among other things. As always Santa was very, very good to us this year; judging from my son’s interest and enthusiasm and playing time over the last 24+ hours, here are this year’s top-five favorite toys.
- Flying Millenium Falcon
This was one of the first toys opened, and boy did Santa hit a homer with it. The remote control is a little hard to get used to at first, and this speedy Millenium Falcon was crashing into lamps, walls, and even the Christmas tree. Once he got the hang of it, my son had the thing buzzing all around the house and taking off and landing smoothly and seemed ready for his own Kessell Run.
- Snoopy Dog House
Another remote-controlled toy, this one is earthbound but very fast. My son can relive Snoopy’s adventures going after the Red Baron, and this thing really zips around the floors at a fast clip. The remote control seems easy to operate, and there is nothing better than hearing my son laugh as this toy spins in circles and then crashes into and topples the poinsettia plants by the fireplace. Good grief!
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Playset
This rather large item is a recreation of the Turtles’ lair underneath the streets of New York City. It comes with Splinter and Mikey, and boasts a spacious playing area that includes a slide, water tower, collapsing NYC manhole cover, and various sounds. Luckily, Santa brought the other Turtles to complete the Fab Tortoise Four along with assorted villains to provide endless possibilities for action. Cowabunga!
- Star Wars Lightsabers
Okay, I’ll admit it, I love these things. They are fun for active – and I mean very active – role playing. Santa was wise to bring a red and blue one for our enjoyment, and my son and I have had numerous battles that invariably do not end very well for me. Believe it or not, I am thrust into the role of Luke while my son plays Darth Vader (he thinks bad guys are more fun). In an odd moment near the end of each round, my son likes to say, “Luke, I am your father” before he “cuts off” my hand and asks me to join him in ruling the galaxy. Oh, and I always say, “No!!!!” before I fall of an imaginary precipice and then we can start the game over again.
- Millenium Falcon (Nerf)
The absolutely hands-down favorite of all toys received is this large rendition of the Millenium Falcon – just perfect for those 3 and ¾ figures that we all grew up with and loved years ago. This one comes with Chewbacca, BB-8, and Finn (all from the new film), and boasts an elaborate interior where there is even a Hallo-chess board. It also has a Nerf cannon that shoots two included torpedoes that are perfect for blowing Kylo Ren and his minions out of the sky.*
Honorable Mentions: Teen Titans figures, Mickey and gang as Star Wars characters, and Peanuts electronic skating pond.
Dad’s Favorite Gift:
To be honest here, I love toys as much as my son, so much so that occasionally Santa brings me something “collectible” to, of course, not play with but to just place on a shelf and display. This year my favorite is the Batcave from the classic TV series. Batman comes with two heads – masked and Adam West – and there are a slew of accessories including the bust of Shakespeare, red hotline phone, and the Bat Computer. I am sure to be playing with admiring this on my shelf quite often.
So there are the favorite toys my son received this year. Please feel free to let me know what ones were your kids’ (or your) favorites. I especially love to hear about unique toys that people receive that I am not aware existed.
*I must admit to really exploring this toy after my son has gone to bed, purely in the interest of understanding how it operates in order to facilitate a better playtime the following day.