Santa will bring you toys if they are still around

About 20 years ago I was chosen — why I don’t know — to spend time as a mall Santa Claus for a first-person newspaper story. While it was a fun exercise, complete with nice looking babes wanting their pictures made on my lap, I had no idea as to half of what the children wanted Santa to bring them. I was told by the “real” Santa that the Big Man wasn’t supposed to promise what the kids asked for so I’d say something like: “I’ll see what I can do, Slick.” The moral of that story is never tell a mall Santa what you want for Christmas. Always mail your requests, with real envelopes and stamps.

Now there are all sorts of lists out on the Internet these days for the top toys of this, the 2010 holiday season. Toys R Us has a “Fabulous 15” top toy list. displays a Top 10 list for kids. shows a list which is separated into categories for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, grade-schoolers, tweens, and teens. Of course, the more specific the more money is likely to be maken.

A likely top-seller for this year, according to Squidoo is the “Let’s Rock Elmo.” The Sesame Street Muppet character plays an instrument and “he is also able to tell which instrument a little one is playing and plays right along! There are up to six songs that can be sung and he comes with a microphone, tambourine and drums (additional instruments sold separately.)” A likely hit for this year, especially among the pre-school crowd.

For the 6-year-old and up crowd (56 years old??), the Nerf Vortex Vigilon Disc Blaster seems a favorite on all the lists I noticed. The Hasbro toy gun shoots 20 foam discs “in rapid succession” and comes with a scope and pulsating targeting light. It bares a slight resemblance to a Ingram MAC-10 machine pistol, albeit one that is on steroids.

From the “Return of the Weird Teletubbie-looking gadgets” comes the Fijit Friends. Says Toys R US: “Fijit Friends™ are every girl’s best friend – interactive, robotic toys full of personality that talk, dance, laugh and bring a new level of innovation to playtime. Made of soft, tactile skin that enables lifelike movements, girls can poke and squeeze a Fijit Friend™ for fun surprises. With word recognition capability, Fijit Friends™ can understand and respond to more than 30 verbal commands, culling from more than 150 built-in phrases and jokes.”

Everyone knows it's Slinky. More fun than one should ever have with a piece of helical steel.

These Fijits which are in odd purple, green, yellow and pink and have big ears and bug eyes must have something within their cognitive patterns — or pheromones perhaps — which make them attractive to little girls because they seem very androgynous from the outset.

All of this makes one wonder: What happened to the good old toys which were around in my kid days?

“A Spring

A Spring

A marvelous thing

Everyone knows it’s Slinky

It’s Slinky

It’s Slinky

For fun it’s a wonderful toy

It’s fun for a girl or a boy”

Yes, a spring. It’s a wonderful thing. Naval mechanical engineer Richard James was in 1943 seeking a way in which to stabilize and support sensitive instruments on board a ship in rough seas. A star toy was born. Take a helical spring that stretches and can bounce up and down, and you got a child entertained for the rest of his life.

My other favorites as a kid were Play-Doh and the Etch-A-Sketch.

Play-Doh got its start in the 50s as a substance for cleaning wallpaper but it got kids busy using their artistic talents forming the clay into semi-recognizable forms or pretending it was C-4 explosives which would transform a quiet neighborhood into an occupied police setting.

Etch-A-Sketch was and still leaves the sky as a limit as for what artistic mountains one would like to climb. I was always stuck in the foothills, but nonetheless it was a heck of hike. Check out their cool Website and see how far some were able to scale with the little red boxes with gray screens.

Fortunately, all these great toys of my age are still around. It makes me wonder how long the hot toys of this year will still be for sale in the future years?

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