LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — What will be the hottest Christmas toy in 2023? Soft, squishy, interactive or a combination of all that? Will it be a flash in the pan, or ageless — a classic for all time?
So far, the front-runners are the Bitzee interactive digital pet, the Furby Coral, the Barbie Dreamhouse and a plush from the Mandalorian (Mattel Star Wars Grogu Plush 8).
It’s not a runaway like years past when Tickle Me Elmo (1996), Cabbage Patch Kids (1982), Gameboy (1989), Hot Wheels (1968) or Tamagotchi (1997) stole the show. There’s still time for Minecraft, Pokemon or Bluey to make a run this year.
Or you can go old school — find a treasured toy from the past.
How about 1973, when Evel Knievel ruled the day? We found his gyro-powered stunt cycle toy at Toy Shack in downtown Las Vegas, but it wasn’t for sale.
Toy Shack manager Anthony Herrera-Mead said the Marvel Universe is a big seller this year at the store at Neonopolis, just a few steps from the Fremont Street Experience. Toy Shack owner Johnny Jimenez is one of the experts used by the hit show Pawn Stars.
A walk through the store might lead to discovering the perfect stocking stuffer. It’s a fun experience in today’s world of shopping online.
With supply-chain worries mostly behind us and inflation driving the price of basic needs through the roof, reports of toys that have simply sold out aren’t as common as in past years. And with estimates of Amazon Prime subscriptions nearing 150 million this year, the chase has changed.
Amazon lists its top seller under toys and games as the Belle from the Mattel Disney Princess lineup, a posable doll that’s only $5.09. A blitz of sponsored listings for trending toys shows a “flying orb ball” from several manufacturers.
Gone are the days when you would go to the three-story FAO Schwartz at the Caesars Forum Shops to browse — it closed in 2010. And Toys R Us hasn’t made a big comeback in Las Vegas despite a partnership with Macy’s and a 2022 announcement. But despite the struggles of chain stores, you’ll still find some kind of toy or puzzle store in just about every mall.