With the holiday shopping season well underway, parents are on the hunt for the hottest toys to place under their Christmas trees. And what could be better than Santa bringing presents for kids AND parents to enjoy playing together? The good news is Millennial moms and dads don’t have to look hard this year to find gifts that will trigger a serious nostalgic reaction.
Here are seven hot toy picks for the 2016 holiday season that are sure to be a hit for Millennials their children:
If you’re lucky enough to snag one of these coveted gaming systems — which appears on the 2016 Toys R Us Hot Toy List — you will surely be a Christmas hero. (Unfortunately, high demand for the $59.99 game system means it remains out of stock at most retailers.) This slick system is pre-loaded with 30 original NES favorites, including Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and more.
Even better: You can suspend play and then pick up where you left off. (Um, where the heck was this feature back in the day?) With the Nintendo NES Classic, you can impress the kids with your mad Mario skills, and then challenge your partner/friends after the kiddos have gone to sleep. Just don’t forget to buy an extra controller. Ah, the nostalgia. (Keep checking in with retailers to see when they will be restocking their supply!)
Back in 1998, the original Furby was the must-have holiday toy. Our fuzzy, gabbering friend has returned for 2016 — and with a serious makeover to boot. As with the original, kids can pet, tickle, feed, pet, shake and turn Furby upside down. A much-appreciated addition allows quirky creature will now go to sleep with the help of a sleeping mask. (This means more dealing with Furby creepily waking up and talking in the middle of the night.)
Another major improvement with Furby Connect is a companion app that connects the device to your smartphone or tablet via bluetooth. This feature adds a whole new layer to the experience, allowing Furby to learn the name your child gives it, feed it with virtual food, play games and more. You’ll be jealous your Furby experience wasn’t nearly as cool.
Remember these? Millennials who grew up in the 90s definitely will! It’s a stuffed mama dog with a surprise number of puppies tucked away in her Velcro tummy. There could be three, four or five babies inside mama’s tummy. How many puppies will yours have? You just have to open it up for the adorable surprise. It comes in a dog, cat or horse, in a variety of colors.
4. Pokemon anything!
Thanks mostly to the widespread popularity of the smartphone app, Pokemon Go, anything and everything Pokemon-related is hot this holiday season. The newly-released Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon games for Nintendo 3DS will bring you back to your Gameboy Color days spent playing Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow.
Sure, the Pokemon in this generation are looking a bit psychedelic if you haven’t played since the early 2000s, but the goal is the same: “Gotta catch ‘em all!” Pokemon cards, figurines and more are all potentially great Millennial parent-kid bonding opportunities, too.
5. Harry Potter illustrated books
Even younger kids can be captivated by the wizarding world of Harry Potter thanks to illustrated versions of the first two books in the series. Millennial parents have the opportunity to fall in love all over again as they share the magic with their kids. Gifting these books would be great timing, so that you and the kiddos can enjoy J.K. Rowling’s new movie series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as it unfolds.
Much like the Nintendo NES Classic, Hatchimals are one of the hottest toys this holiday season. (You basically win Christmas if you can get your hands on one without paying an arm and a leg.) As the name suggests, these are interactive little creatures that you witness hatching out of an egg.
No, Hatchimals won’t be directly familiar to Millennial parents. However, they do combine the winning qualities of many popular 90s toys: The surprise factor of Puppy Surprise, the interactive nature of a Furby and the baby-being-born detail of the short-lived WuvLuv.
If you aren’t already a Netflix subscriber, this could be a prime opportunity to bond with your children while getting a dose of nostalgia. Among the throw-back gems from our childhood available for streaming are: The Emperor’s New Groove, Flubber, The Little Rascals, Good Burger, Hey Arnold! The Movie and The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When your kids are asleep, feel free to bask in the glory that is the revival of your favorite 90s TV series via binge-watching Fuller House or Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. You’re welcome.
No matter how tempting it may be to buy a gift for your child simply because of the nostalgia YOU feel, it’s probably a good idea to make sure your kid at least has somewhat of an interest in it, too. Fortunately for Millennials, this year’s popular holiday gifts seem to offer the best of both worlds. It’s a wonderful time to be alive.