China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: The (Other!) Reason for the Season

While I understand and respect that the holiday season has religious roots, toys, gifts, and giving have become a huge part of American tradition—and I don’t think this is such a bad thing. As frustrating as it can be to deal with 600 impossible twist ties and Hefty bags full of plastic packaging on Christmas morning, toys bring families together. After mom and dad (or in this case, Aunt Marissa!) get to see their elated kids (or super adorable nieces and nephew!) open exactly what they’ve wanted all year long, the first thing they want to do is start playing.

Courtney (8), Aunt Marissa, Matthew (5), and our pal Stomper!

Courtney (8), Aunt Marissa, Matthew (5), and our pal Stomper!

My niece Courtney can’t even get through unwrapping her mountain of presents before saying “Can I open this one?!” And that’s where the fun comes in: When Dad arrives wielding his trusty screwdriver and a Tupperware container full of batteries (and this super awesome plastic package ripper thingy that if you don’t have you need to go out and buy RIGHT now!), Mom stands by tossing wrapping paper into garbage bags (and putting everyone’s coffee mugs on coasters, thanks Mom!), and there I sit cross-legged on the floor, instruction booklet diligently in hand, reading glasses securely fastened. Even if Santa gets all of the Christmas glory, it’s the gift-givers who get the toy out of the package, insert the batteries, and help teach kids how to play. It’s the gift-givers who get to see the excitement on their kids’ faces, who get the big fat thank you hug, and who get to watch kids enjoy their Christmas prizes. It’s really just one giant bonding experience (with maybe a few “how do you turn the damn thing on?!” and “It’s like they don’t WANT you to open it!” comments thrown in between all of the sap-fest family time). [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Monkeez (and Others) Help Kids Make A Difference

monkeezIt’s the season of toys and giving, as the holidays are quickly approaching. December’s cheerful spirit is evident throughout the city, on social media, and in toy stores worldwide. Christmas lights are hanging everywhere, department stores are adorned with pops of red and green, and children are on their best behavior, hoping to fall on the right side of the naughty-or-nice list. Santa is taking last-minute requests from children who will surely receive their prizes for being good girls and boys all year long.

When I was a kid, my parents always took part in Operation Christmas Child, an organization that collects shoeboxes full of toys and non-perishable items to be given to children who wouldn’t otherwise have a Christmas gift to open, during this time of year. I loved getting to help put toys together to send to kids around the world, though I didn’t really understand exactly what it meant. Now, I see kids crying in department stores wanting their toys now, and I see lists of toys growing longer and longer. I’m all for it—‘tis the season—but I think it’s important that kids learn to receive with a grateful attitude, rather than an expectant one.

The older I get, the more bittersweet the holidays become. The music, ice-skating, tacky sweater parties, and family time are wonderful, but the receiving of gifts isn’t as satisfying as it was when Barbie dolls and Polly Pockets filled my Christmas wish list. It’s now apparent to me that so many kids spend Christmas without basic necessities, and certainly without gifts to open. I started researching major toy companies and realized that there are so many that donate to this cause in various ways. [Read more...]

Tegu Kicks Off Holidays with New Gift Options

TeguThis holiday season Tegu offers gift options that bring back unscripted play for kids through a variety of construction sets and accessories. Tegu is putting a spin on its Toy of the Year-nominated magnetic, wooden,“click-clacking” blocks that will offer children new building possibilities using safe and durable materials.

Tegu’s designs encourage learning and imaginative play that’s considered to be one of the best forms of learning by childhood development experts. Tegu also plans to spread holiday cheer by giving back to people in need with the Tegu Holiday Elf. From now until December 20, via #TeguElf on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, the Tegu Holiday Elf will randomly grant “wishes” by offering consumers items such as gift cards to local restaurants or coffee shops, and by helping people to “pay it forward” by making donations to local charities.

Holiday shoppers can visit Tegu’s Facebook for #TeguElf holiday promotions, giveaways, and discounts. The Tegu Elf also will  be randomly sneaking in extra Tegu Products and surprises to orders fulfilled by Tegu now through Christmas.

 

 

Disney Store Starts Its Magical Week Online Deals Before Thanksgiving

disney storeDisney Store is giving shoppers the chance to start shopping online earlier with special discount pricing launching the weekend before Thanksgiving, November 22 to 24. Starting A selection of Disney Store’s Magical Week deals will launch on November 22 at 12:30 a.m. PST online at DisneyStore.com/magicalweekdeals. November 25, all of Disney Store’s Magical Week deals will be available in stores and online at special low prices, a first for the retailer. An additional deal will be unveiled online on Thanksgiving, November 28, and when stores open for Magical Friday.

Shoppers can interact with Disney Store’s guest services team on Twitter @DisneyStore. Updates on deals will be posted on Disney Store’s Facebook page as well. For holiday gift-giving inspiration, shoppers can browse the Holiday Gift Guide on DisneyStore.com and the Holiday Lookbook on Facebook.

Shoppers who prefer to shop from mobile devices can use the Disney Store’s mobile site and app. Through the mobile site, users can receive timely message alerts for new arrivals, in-store events, and promotional offers.

 

The Toy Insider’s Hot 20 Toys for the Holidays

Have you seen The Toy Insider‘s Hot 20 toy picks for this holiday season? You can get a quick rundown by watching the video above, which shows some of the Hot 20 toys that are sure to be on kids’ wish lists this year.

For a full list of the Hot 20, click here.

The Toy Insider will also release an extended list of 110 toy recommendations for the holiday season in the November 17th issue of Woman’s Day, on newsstands November 1. Plus, even more recommendations will be posted on www.thetoyinsider.com.

For more information, visit www.thetoyinsider.com, follow @thetoyinsider on Twitter, or become a Fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/toyinsider. The holidays are approaching!