As we enter the home stretch of 2021, hopes of holiday gatherings, good health, and good cheer abound. And for retailers, visions of healthy sales dance in their heads. The National Retail Federation’s predictions for spending this year suggest a holiday season total of upwards of $850 billion, a record high in the U.S. That figure, though, doesn’t necessarily mean that more goods will be sold. Everyone has been hearing about product supply shortages and logjams at major ports and distribution chains.
What that means for this year’s gift-givers is that you might not be able to score some of the hottest toys in time for the holidays. We’re thinking of the Flybar Bumper Car, which lets toddlers steer, spin, and bump (but at low enough speeds to be safe) or toys that were available last year but weren’t received by every kid who wanted one. Like Mattel’s Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage Play Set or this year’s version of the LOL Surprise OMG House of Surprises dollhouse. They all look like such fun and offer a range of ways to play imaginatively and kinesthetically—things that can really take the edge off in winter when the days are short, and the tree and menorah have been put away.
For an alternative to traditional retail, a savvy shopper might see what’s hot on TikTok (and follow #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt for ideas on what’s trending). As John Herrman wrote in the New York Times, “In three short years, TikTok has grown in the public imagination from an app for dancing teenagers into an all-purpose cultural powerhouse, driving trends in music, food, news, and politics, and changing the way people communicate online.” No kidding, I’m thinking of the number of times we mention the platform in our reports. While you’re scrolling through the app, look up recipes for fun things to do with the kids together when it’s cold, like make hot chocolate bombs or pancake cereal for a fun mash-up.
While we’re on the topic of non-gift experiences that won’t break the bank, have you been following Dinovember for the past few years? They’re artist parents, Refe and Susan Tuma, who take November to delight and surprise their children each day with the adventures their plastic dinosaurs have at night while the kids are asleep. It started as a way to slow down the rush to the December holidays and just have great creative fun. And, if you need more than online content, they have a new book, What the Dinosaurs Did the Night Before Christmas.
Don’t forget to check back here in a few weeks for the latest edition of YouthBeat’s Holiday Wish List Survey! And in the meantime, don’t panic - even if you can’t find the top item on your child’s list, plenty of merchandise will be available and, really, one of their favorite gifts is time spent with you.