By David Henderson
Santa will be behaving more like Scrooge this Christmas as the credit crunch curbs spending on toys. The festive bestsellers chart is dominated by presents costing under fifty pounds.
Parents are putting value at the top of their Christmas lists. Britain’s toy shops are preparing for reduced consumer spending and children are being warned not to expect their stockings to bulge with gifts as the recession sends a chill through the holiday season.
Luckily for children, Santa’s sack won’t be completely empty; value and quality presents are selling in big numbers. “Pocket money-priced toys are making a big comeback this year, so we are in for an affordable, family-orientated Christmas this year,” predicts Gary Grant, chairman of The Toy Retailers Association.
Ben10 to the rescue! The children’s hero battles aliens on TV and now tackles…the global recession. Priced at an affordable, the Cartoon Network favourite features on the toy sellers’ ‘Dream Dozen’ presents list. If your child would rather play with a cardboard box than Ben10’s Alien Force Action Cruiser, there’s always a pink palace for pre-school TV favourite Peppa Pig, toy hamsters and Transformers. Lego is on this years best seller list over three decades after it first built it’s reputation with Britain’s children.
- Bakugan Battle Pack, Spin Master (RRP £19.99) Battle Strikers starter Set, Mega Brands (RRP £9.99)
- Ben 10 Alien Force Kevins DX Action Cruiser, Bandai (RRP £29.99)
- GO GO Pets Hamsters, Character Options (RRP £9.99)
- GX Racers Tightrope Terror, Flair (RRP £22.99)
- Kidizoom Multimedia Digital Camera, V-Tech (RRP £49.99)
- LEGO Games Minotaurus, Lego (RRP £17.99)
- Monopoly City, Hasbro (RRP £24.99)
- Princess Peppa’s Palace, Character Options (RRP £39.99)
- Sylvanian Families Caravan, Flair (RRP £44.99)
- Transformers Movie 2 Voyagers Figures, Hasbro (RRP £22.99)
A lucky dip of hi-tech and traditional toys is expected be left gift wrapped under the nation’s Christmas trees: “The toy industry has turned the latest trends into up-to-the-minute concepts to provide today’s kids with innovative and creative toys. The top toys demonstrate how forward-thinking and pioneering the toy industry is. This year’s list also reveals a trend towards nostalgic characters and brands which have been updated with a modern twist. Consumers are reverting back to heritage brands which last longer than the Christmas season,” revealed Grant. As toy and games technology gets cheaper, the hi-tech presents have come done in price at a time when consumers crave value for their money.
‘Ben10’s appearance in the Christmas Dream Dozen toys list follows 2008’s success when the character’s 10” and 15” action figure was named Toy of the Year. That title was first awarded in 1965 when it went to the James Bond Aston Martin die-cast car; Action Man, Sindy and Spirograph also had success in the sixties. The early 1970’s saw the arrival of Lego, Playmobil and the Peter Powell stunt kite soared to the top of the sales charts in 1976. The eighties started with back-to-back successes for the Rubik’s cube. Star Wars toys, Transformers and Sylvanian Families were also popular with the children of Thatcherism. The 1990’s was the decade of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Nintendo and Thunderbird’s Tracey Island. Kids TV show ‘Teletubbies’, featuring strange gurgling furry puppets, won Toy of the Year in 1997 followed a decade later by ‘In The Night Garden’, another kids tv show featuring strange gurgling furry puppets. Maybe it’s the sherry…
Children should be dreaming of a green Christmas, with eco-presents increasing in popularity as Britons become more switched-on to earth issues. Children’s gift website Spotty Gift Boxes predicts that parents will dig deep into their pockets for a worm farm. The worms could crawl to the top of the pile and become the website’s number one seller this year!
The good news is that the Earthworm Nursery costs just £17.99; the bad news is that you have worms in your home! Children learn about the full life cycle of the worm and can observe them hatching from their cocoons and growing into full length wrigglers. Yes, all in the comfort of your own home. Your clean home.
Once the worms are safely outside, then why not leave the kids outside playing with their toy gardening tools, another popular choice this year? This Christmas, think of the environment. Think of the fresh air. Think of the mud. Think of the new hall carpet.
The top selling toy in the run-up to Christmas is a one kids can enjoy weeks before Santa even jumps aboard his sleigh! Internet super power Amazon is enjoying a pre-Christmas rush for the LEGO City 7687 Advent Calendar. Costing £14.99, it’s dearer than a chocolate calendar, but it’s kinder to milk teeth! There aren’t many internet shopping days left until Christmas and you’ll need to buy your advent calendar 24 days earlier – opening night is December 1!