It's the holiday countdown to Christmas, and shoppers are busy trying to find the perfect gift for their loved one. Every year, parents scramble to find the latest must-have toy. Electronics always top the wish-list, and this year is no exception.
What are the hottest gifts this year?
According to Target in Largo Mall, the hottest gift items are the iPad, iPods (Touch, Nano and Shuffle), DSi, Video Barbie, Squinkies, Lego Star Wars and Zhu Zhu pets.
The Apple iPad ranges in price from $499.99 for a 16 GB to $829.99 for the top-of-the-line 3G, 64 GB version.
"Yeah, it's on my wish list," said Scott Thomason. "I just have to convince my wife I need one."
Nintendo DSi is the newest version of their handheld game system. For $149.99, the DSi has a 3.25-inch screen, built-in camera and microphone. This system is more than gaming, you can also enjoy web browsing and downloaded software that helps you connect with family. The game system comes in blue, white or red or with the limited Mario design.
LEGO building sets continue to be best-sellers with Star Wars themed sets topping the list. Popular sets include Castle, City, Atlantis and characters from Toy Story 3. In the Lego Toy Story 3 Western Train Chase Set ($79.99), kids can re-enact their own chase scene. The set includes Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, Bullseye, Rex and the Evil Doctor Porkchops figures.
Miniature Squinkies are big on kids' wish lists this year. These 1-inch squishy dolls are tiny, soft collectibles. They are packaged in a plastic bubble ball. Squinkies are available in packs of 16 pieces, rings and playsets. Kids will enjoy collecting their favorites including puppies, babies, fairies, kitties and more. They are priced from $9.99 to $19.00 for the Squinkies Surprise Bake Shop.
Barbie Video Girl Doll is a hot girls toy this year. For ages five and older, kids can create their own movies from Barbie's point of view. A real camera is in the doll, with the lens hidden in her necklace and the video screen on back. It comes with a USB cable to connect to your computer. Priced at $49.99, Barbie Video Girl was on sale at Target for $39.09. It's temporarily sold-out, though Target is expecting a new shipment.
Last but not least, are the popular Zhu Zhu pets, making their debut last Christmas. These battery-operated toy hamsters are plush toys that interact by artificial intelligence. Zhu Zhu pets are the closest thing to having a real hamster; they move, interact and react to their owners. The hamsters come in a variety of colors and playsets.
In different modes, the pets can purr (nurturing mode) and race through a maze (adventure mode). The newer line of Kung Zhu hamsters are decorated like military soldiers. Zhu Zhu and Kung Zhu hamsters are sold as single pets or sets of four with a huge variety of playsets, tracks and add-ons for more fun. Priced from $9.99 for an add-on track to $36.00 for the Kung Zhu Special Forces Set of four.