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15 hot holiday toys to buy now before they sell out

Which hot holiday toys are best?

The holidays are around the corner, and this year, many consumers are shopping early to pick up the hottest gifts of the season. Toys are no exception, and like every other holiday, there are a few unique toys that shoot to the top of wish lists. 

There's always a bit of a craze for top-rated toys during the holidays, particularly new releases or trending items that have been around but are still out of stock. If you're prepared to start researching popular toys early, you may increase your chances of getting them just in time for the holidays.

What to know about shopping for hot holiday toys

What makes a toy a hot item

It's hard to say what makes a toy skyrocket in popularity for the holidays. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of toys that are prospective bestsellers, only a select few reach the legendary status of Cabbage Patch dolls, Tickle Me Elmo, Furbys or "Star Wars" toys. According to veteran holiday shoppers and toy industry experts, not knowing which ones those are only contributes to the holiday toy craze.

Some toys simply have the "it" factor with unique features or new technology, such as the Sphero "Star Wars" droids that debuted a few years ago. Other toys are desirable because they're rolled out alongside blockbuster children's movies, like "Frozen," or hit television shows like "The Mandalorian." There are also under-the-radar toys that hang out on the market for a few months, but right before the holidays, they become unexpectedly popular and end up out of stock. 

Where I can find hot holiday toys

In the past, toys were mostly available from stores like KB Toys, Toys R Us or Child World. Today, the toy market has changed, and so has retail. In response, many online and big-box retailers now have robust toy departments. 

Macy's, for example, recently partnered with the previously shuttered Toys R Us and currently sells top holiday picks from Geoffrey's Hot Toy List. Amazon, the online retail juggernaut, stocks tens of thousands of toys, ranging from Barbies to Beyblade action figures. Other retailers have also begun ramping up their toy departments, including Kohl's, Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy Buy Baby and even Home Depot. 

Other ways to pick up hot holiday toys

Toy shopping during the holidays previously involved standing in long lines hours before stores opened. Because it's neither practical nor enjoyable, many stores have adopted alternate methods of getting toys into the hands of shoppers. 

  • Several retailers let you skip the lines and crowds with in-store or curbside pickups. 
  • Other retailers encourage shoppers to pre-order upcoming merchandise to make sure they get toys on release day before they sell out. 
  • Amazon now has convenient pickup lockers sprinkled around towns and cities, and shoppers can get their toys within a couple hours from a nearby location.
  • Some delivery services have entered partnerships with big-box stores and now operate as retail couriers, in which they bring merchandise directly to shoppers at home or in the office. 

15 hot toys for holiday

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Stunt Tire Play Set

This action-packed stunt course launches Hot Wheels and monster trucks up to 35 inches. The travel-friendly toy folds up into a giant wheel when it's not in use. 

Sold by Amazon and Macy's

Holiday Barbie

This year's Holiday Barbie is wearing an elegant silver and white gown with off-the-shoulder sleeves and a sweetheart bodice. The collectible box features simple, sophisticated detailing. 

Sold by Macy's

Playmobil Back to the Future Delorean

Build this Delorean with help from "Back to the Future" character figurines, including Dr. Emmett Brown, Marty McFly and Einstein. The car is complete with working lights and of course, a flux capacitor. 

Sold by Amazon

Super Mario Bowser Castle Playset

The deluxe Bowser Castle playset is compatible with 2.5-inch figurines, and it even comes with an exclusive Bowser. It's chock-full of interactive sounds and features that emulate in-game play. 

Sold by Macy's

NERF Fortnite Heavy SR Blaster

Enjoy the quick-fire action of this new Fortnite blaster, which fires six mega Nerf darts in a row. It comes with a removable targeting scope and features the game's signature red camo wrap. 

Sold by Macy's

Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Rising Cake Oven Play Set

Watch Play-Doh cakes rise before your eyes with this toy baking oven. The set includes several cake-decorating tools, including a spatula, mixing bowls and piping gun.
Sold by Macy's

Sesame Street 25th Anniversary Tickliest Tickle Me Elmo

The '90s sensation is back, and this time, it's even more giggly than before. With each tickle, Elmo laughs uncontrollably, kicks his legs and falls over. The toy has both English and Spanish language options. 

Sold by Amazon

Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot

Fun and friendly, this learning bot has games and activities that keep children between 6 months and 5 years engaged and stimulated. It has three Smart Stage learning levels with over 120 games, songs, sounds and phrases for vocabulary building. 

Sold by Amazon

Disney Princess Ultimate Celebration Castle

This enchanting Disney Princess castle, suitable for 15.5-inch dolls, has three stories and six rooms for plenty of fun. It comes with 29 accessories, including kitchen gadgets and hair accessories.

Sold by Amazon

UNO Triple Play Stealth Family Card Game 

Enjoy UNO on a whole new level with a fresh deck and interactive card holder. It offers three play modes, including Timer and Stealth Modes, for intense, lightning-fast rounds.

Sold by Amazon

Space Jam: A New Legacy Transforming LeBron James Plush

Hang 10 and enjoy twice the fun with this two-in-one LeBron James plush that rolls up into a basketball. It's considered highly collectible, both as "Space Jam" and LeBron merchandise. 

Sold by Amazon

LEGO Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Razor Crest Building Kit

With 1,023 pieces, the Razor Crest building kit offers hours of fun. It has two spring-loaded shooters, detachable escape pod and five Lego minifigures, including the Child itself.

Sold by Amazon

National Geographic Earth Science Kit

A top-rated STEM toy, this earth science kit offers more than 15 experiments like water tornadoes and erupting volcanoes. The kit comes with detailed instructions that also explain basic scientific concepts. 

Sold by Amazon

Hatchimals Flying Pixie

The new Hatchimals Flying Pixie soars through the air with a light-up skirt and motion sensors that let kids guide her direction. The set includes a rechargeable battery so users don't need to spend more on battery replacements. 

Sold by Amazon and Macy's

Osmo Math Wizard and the Magical Workshop

This brand-new Osmo kit teaches additional and subtraction to ages 6-8 with help from a magical village, wizard cat and potions. It's compatible with iPad and Amazon Fire tablets. 

Sold by Amazon

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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