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Meet Fingerlings, the adorable robot monkeys poised to be the holiday season’s hottest toy.
Call it a case of toy troubles.
Across the country, parents are in a last-minute scramble to find some of this year’s hottest toys, which they still hope to get under the tree by Christmas morning.
Major national retailers say some of the year’s most popular toys include Fingerlings, Hatchimals, L.O.L. Surprise Balls, Hot Wheels, Star Wars-related items, Nintendo Switch and Paw Patrol.
Although these items are in high-demand and hard to find, retailers say all hope isn’t lost in tracking them down.
“Target has a wide assortment of the L.O.L. Surprise toys and Hatchimals at numerous price points available in stores and online,” Target spokesman Lee Henderson said in a statement. “We’re seeing strong demand for these items at Target and are continuing to work with manufacturers to keep them stocked at Target throughout the holiday season.”
At Walmart, the biggest toy retailer in the nation, classic toys like Barbie’s Dream House, Hot Wheels and Legos continue to be popular, said spokeswoman Meggan Kring said.
Kring said toys like Hatchimals and L.O.L. Surprise, which “surprise and delight” kids, also have been hot sellers.
“You don’t exactly know what you’re going to get so the kiddos are very drawn to that,” Kring said.
Some parents lucked out by picking up the in-demand items months ago.
Jennifer Kegley, of Stuart, Fla., said it’s become an annual tradition for her family to search for the year’s hot toys.
“We pretty much always get what we’re looking for, sometimes waiting hours if needed,” said Kegley, adding her family camped out for six hours to get the Nintendo Switch from GameStop last year.
In early December, the Florida family’s search for Fingerlings brought them to a Toys R Us in Green Bay, Wis., where they were traveling.
“They had so many and we couldn’t believe it,” Kegley said, noting they would check Florida stores regularly. “We bought several and packed them in our suitcases.”
Lee Curran, of Missoula, Mont., hasn’t been as lucky.
Calling all parents! Hatchimals, fluffy, interactive birdlike creatures, are becoming annoyingly difficult to find this holiday season.
Curran, a father of six, thought he was done buying gifts when he placed a large order on the Toys R Us website with guaranteed delivery by Christmas.
Many items in his order were cancelled and others are expected to ship after Christmas.
“Christmas shopping is stressful enough without having to have massive amounts of order issues and items not shipping until the day they were supposed to arrive,” Curran said. “At this point, all I can do is hope they do all arrive and hopefully make other arrangements to get what is missing.”
The best advice store officials could offer panicked parents is to continuously check store inventory by looking on websites, visiting stores or calling.
Also, try ordering gifts online with in-store pickup where available. Several stores will offer this option through Sunday.
“Last-minute shoppers will have the best chance of getting their hands on the top holiday toys by visiting their local Toys R Us store,” said Joe Contrino, a spokesman for the New Jersey-based toy store chain. “If a customer has a specific item to check off their list, they should check back with their local stores early and often, as we’re receiving new inventory of toys every day.”
And there’s still a little time to order gifts with expedited shipping at select stores or on Amazon.com.
Eva Lorenz, Amazon’s director of toys and games, said many hot toys are still available at Amazon.com/holidaytoylist, including DropMix Music Gaming System, Cozmo and Lego Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit.
Friday is the last day for free two-day Prime delivery with guaranteed delivery and in select parts of the country orders can be placed as late as Sunday for Christmas Eve delivery.
Kelly Tyko is a columnist for Treasure Coast Newspapers and TCPalm.com, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. This column reflects her opinion. Read her Bargainista tips at TCPalm.com/Bargainista and follow her on Twitter @KellyTyko. Sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.tcpalm.com/featured-newsletter/bargainistabest.