Christmas always feels more exciting when you’re celebrating with kids, but you don’t need to be a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent to know that shopping for them can be a nightmare.
Toy trends change at warp speed, making it tricky to know what they really want to unwrap under the tree on December 25.
With Father Christmas unavailable to shed light on the wants and whims of little ones, John Lewis has stepped into his boots and unveiled its top toy predictions for Christmas 2020.
Somewhat inevitably, lockdown has had a domino effect on Christmas toys. The department store has seen a 106 per cent spike in electronic toy sales as schools closed and parents looked for toys that promote learning through play for their kids. With this in mind, John Lewis will launch coding toy Botley 2.0, Brio Smart Tech Sound and VTech Feathers and Feelings Peacock in time for Christmas.
In some respects, things never change - LEGO continues to be a strong favourite. John Lewis reported a 61 per cent increase in sales as lockdown pushed sets that families could build together.
There’s good news for those looking for screen-free gift ideas - board games, another activity that triumphed in lockdown, continues to be a strong contender for the Christmas toy top spot. Monopoly was particularly sought after as parents reminisced about their own childhoods.
So: toys that teach, toys that can be enjoyed by the whole family and nostalgic board games are the hot toy tips for the upcoming festive period.
Rachael Larkman, John Lewis Partner & Toy Buyer added: "We have seen incredible demand for outdoor games during lockdown and believe this trend will continue through to next year."
If you’re struggling for ideas, John Lewis’s List of 2020 Top Ten Christmas Toys is here to help:
1. Micro Recycled Scooter
Made from recycled fishing nets, this scooter is the modern bike or roller skates you might have asked Santa for in your own childhood letters.
2. BRIO Smart Tech Sound
Say hello to a very modern railway set from BRIO Smart Tech. Simply hit go on the engine and set up the Smart Tech arches around the track and watch the train automatically detect each arch and stop, honk its horn, back up or flash its lights. Hours of railroad fun.
3. Botley 2.0
This coding robot activity set contains 77 pieces to help kids decipher the art of programming. The innovative STEM toy encourages critical thinking as well as problem solving.
4. I Heard Your Feelings conversation cards
A mindful game that teaches young ones how to read emotional situations. An invaluable tool for emotional and empathic development.
5. Earth Heroes Children's book hardback edition
This new hardback version of ‘Earth Heroes’ focuses on the environment, teaching kids very timely lessons about our planet with stories from national treasure David Attenborough and Swedish schoolgirl-turned-climate-activist Greta Thunberg.
6. Vtech Feathers & Feelings Peacock
For ages two and up, this brightly coloured, light up, peacock helps toddlers learn their colours, shapes, numbers and emotions. As well as eight light-up shape buttons and eight emotion pegs, there’s also a peacock button that plays fun sounds and phrases.
7. Collector’s Doll
This sweet doll is guaranteed to bring squeals of delight on Christmas morning. Named Isabelle, she looks extremely lifelike, with a kind face and long curly brown hair, dressed in a pretty dress. You can expand her wardrobe by buying different outfits (sold separately) to make sure she always looks her finest.
8. LEGO Gingerbread House
A festive twist on a childhood classic, this LEGO set promises hours of fun for ages 12+.
Containing all the components to make your very own gingerbread house, this set also includes festive extras like a Christmas tree with wrapped gifts and toys, a rocking horse and a toy train, brick-built baby carriage and a snowblower. Adorable.
9. Wooden Baby Walker and Bricks
Encourage motor skills and coordination with this charming wooden walker. As well as chunky wheels to keep them stable as they steer there are colourful numbered and lettered bricks to keep them occupied too.
10. Monopoly Mega Edition Exclusive
Rock around the block with this classic board game. It’s Monopoly 2.0, bigger and better than ever with more buildings, more properties and more money.