Put down that sweater vest! Here’s the holiday gifts they’re REALLY after

By Kate MacDonald

(Courtesy Mattel)

Bundled up adults sprinting through automatic doors, shouting and shoving their way through a crowd of people may sound like an attempt to save themselves from one of the many disasters Hollywood is screening.  But no –the scene is Black Friday in the early morning hours at Toys R Us’ across the nation.

As always, there are certain toys that are so inexplicably popular they will become sold out nationwide, and reports will come flooding in about parents beating each other over them. Remember the Furby and Tickle-Me Elmo crazes of the late 90s?

Despite the economy, toys sales this year are still flourishing. For older kids, the more expensive presents varying in gift cards, phones, iPods, North Faces, and Uggs, are widely wished for. But for a younger set, Toys R Us is definitely still the place to go. TRU has released an ad noting the “Fabulous 15,” but the most-wanted list can easily be whittled down to 10 fabulous finds.

  1. Zhu Zhu Pets- by Cepia, for ages five through 12. Easily the most sought-after toy this year, but perhaps the most foolish. They’re electronic hamsters that, thanks to artificial intelligence, can interact with their surroundings and dart around a room. It’s like a real hamster, without the mess. They’re so popular that, because of presale tickets, TRU Hyannis sold out before their doors even opened.
  2. Mindflex- by Mattel, ages eight through 14.This cool new game relies solely on a headset that reads brainwaves to levitate a ball and guide it through a player-designed obstacle course. This game stuns kids and adults alike.
  3. Anything involving the Wii- Nintendo, any age. The Wii is one of the toys to beat this year. The Wii console, is a motion-controlled game system, including various games such as the Wii Sports Resort, Guitar Hero and Wii Fit.
  4. Anything involving the Nintendo DS- Ninendo, any age. The same description can be said about Nintendo’s DS system, which is basically this millennium’s Game Boy. The DSI, the “I” standing for interactive, which hit stores last summer, is its most popular item and is featured in various colors and designs.
  5. NERF N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35- Hasbro, ages five and up. The TRU ad states that it’s designated for ages five to seven  but anyone on the UMass campus knows that this would be amazing for a Humans v. Zombies player. In the NERF gun 35 darts can be held at once and  has a rapid fire option. It’s a non-lethal machine gun.
  6. Bakugan toys- Spin Master, ages five to 13. Any young boy knows that Bakugan, similar in theory to Pokemon, was the most popular toy this summer. It’s based off a highly watched anime show. The figurines are selling like there’s no tomorrow, but anyone over the age of 13 will have a hard time understanding this craze.
  7. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Construction Destroyer- Hasbro, ages five to 12. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” was easily this summer’s biggest blockbuster, so all of its toys are not only extremely popular, but are high quality because of the demand. This super-transformer contains six separate autobots that combine to form one huge robot, so you’ll really get your money’s worth.
  8. RipStik- Razor, age eight and up. This warped skateboard hybrid not only looks cool stationary, but in use on the streets as well. The Toys R Us Website says that riding one of these is like a cross between surfing and snowboarding. Anyone who’s tried it knows that it can be very hard to learn how to do, and is accompanied by many scrapes and bruises, so if any parent wants to invest in one of these, they should really consider a helmet as well, at the very least.
  9. PixOs Starter Kit- Spin Master, ages five to 12. PixOs are small crystal-like beads that, when placed on a board, make colorful, flat pictures and can stand on their own if water is added. A starter kit is the perfect gift for a creative kid, containing a pen that makes it easier for little hands to make designs. It’s not suitable for kid under five; the beads are tiny and can make a huge mess, according to a TRU Hyannis employee and mother.
  10. Grow to Pro Super Sounds Soccer- Fisher Price, ages two through four. This is a fun toy for an active little one which will start soccer kids and keep a kid active. In the box is an inflatable ball and a small to mid-sized soccer goal with a hanging target. If the target is struck, “Gooooooal!” is shouted from small speakers on the goal, prompting laughs and shouts from children!

Toys R Us and other toy stores have many toys and games to offer kids and older ones alike this year. But these were among the most seen on Black Friday, during which many stores, including TRU Hyannis surpassed their daily goal. Like every year, there will be both disappointed and thrilled kids sitting under their Christmas trees on Dec. 25, but chances are that if something is picked from Toys R Us’ “Fabulous 15” list, Santa can’t go wrong in 2009.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected].