With just two weeks left to snag the hottest toys for your kids, we’ve compiled some of our top shopping tips to ensure you have a stress-free holiday and happy kids come Christmas morning!
Go in with a game plan: Even if you are shopping at the last minute, shop with a list! Know who you are buying for and plan a list of items you might want to pick up. That way if some are not available, you’ll have some alternative options. And remember: Retailers stock like-products together, so if what your kids want is sold out, see what comparable products are still left on the shelves.
Know what toys SHOULD cost: As we near the holiday season, lots of online resellers hike up the price of hard-to-find toys. Don’t fall victim to paying more than you should for a toy. Know the MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price), and never overpay for a toy. Beware of third-party sellers that may drive up the price. Remember: Every toy in our holiday gift guide and all of our toy reviews feature the MSRP!
Follow retailers on social media: Get alerts on retailers’ apps or e-newsletters to let you know when the best deals are available, and when hot toys are back in stock. This is especially important for the newest toys that are just hitting shelves now, but quickly selling out, like Jazwares’ Fortnite line of figures, plush, and building sets; Skyrocket’s new mini Pomsies, Pomsie Poos; and MGA’s new L.O.L. Surprise Hair Goals dolls.
Stick to the basics when shopping for kids you don’t know that well: Stick to classic brands that you know and love, such as LEGO and Play-Doh; board games that are fun for the whole family; activity kits that kids can create with over and over again; or super-hot collectibles that kids love. Make sure you double-check the age grade on the packaging to make sure it’s suitable for the kid you’re shopping for.
Shop during off-peak hours: Lots of stores offer extended holiday hours, so if you are pressed for time, shop late at night or early in the morning to beat the crowds. Remember: Google may not have these extended hours listed, so check retail sites directly for exact holiday hours.
Look for free, two-day shipping: Sites like Amazon, Target, and even Walmart offer free two-day shipping during the holiday season. This is great for last-minute shoppers who are short on time.
Take advantage of in-store pickup: Order online, pickup in-store. This is especially great if two-day shipping is not an option. Browse the digital aisles and pick it up later when you have more time. Some stores will hold product a few days or even weeks.
Think outside the (retail) box: With the loss of Toys ‘R’ Us, lots of unexpected retailers are carrying toys this year. If you are stopping at a grocery store or wholesale club like Costco or Sam’s Club on your way to a family gathering, you will find tons of toys, making your last-minute shopping even easier.
Don’t forget, make your holiday toy shopping list using our trusty holiday gift guide.