And THE Holiday Toy of 2013 Is ….

This year’s breakout toy came out of nowhere and totally surprises us!

Moms of a certain age will remember, many years past, when the it, gotta-find-it, willing-to-fight-other-moms-at-Toys R Us holiday gift was the Cabbage Patch Doll. We would line up for it, and it didn’t matter which little adoptable darling they handed you, because each one was precious, as long as you could guarantee that one would appear, lovingly wrapped, under the tree on that magical morning.

Each came with a special, one of a kind name that sounded current, yet old fashioned. Few lucky recipients ever changed that name. No, that was part of the unnamable it-ness, the marketing magic that made scoring one absolutely essential. These were the original mommy wars — competing with your neighbor when the rumored limited shipment arrived at the store.

But wasn’t it entirely worth it to see the look of total delight when the object of desire was uncovered, name and birth details read aloud, lovingly cuddled and cared for? In that moment of utter joy it was impossible to picture a time, months (maybe) down the road, when this perfectly huggable baby would lose its special it-ness, only to lie alone at the bottom of the toy box.

Years to come would bring other must-haves: Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the first Nintendo, Beanie Babies (who can forget those darlings?), Furby, and the breakout, it toy of all time … Tickle Me Elmo. The question must be asked, what is the quality that makes these must-haves so special? What is it about them that grabs our children’s imaginations and won’t let go … for awhile, anyway? If we could define that it-ness, if we could package it, ohhhh if only.

And that brings us to the topic of this year’s must-have, very special it toy, and boy are we excited! It is the most un-princess, un-gender stereotyped, un-violent, un-everything we as parents object to you can imagine.


Thanks to Disney Junior’s runaway cartoon hit Doc McStuffins, this year’s breakout — The Doc McStuffins Get Better Check-Up Center — is pretty much impossible to find, but the beauty of this hot toy trend is that almost anything Doc McStuffins will do. About 1.3 million viewers (both boys and girls) watch the series weekly. It chronicles 6-year-old Dottie McStuffins’ adventures as she fixes up her toys and dolls. When she puts on her stethoscope, toys, dolls, and stuffed animals magically come to life.

Doc McStuffins merchandise was hotter than anticipated last year and is even bigger this year, according to J.D. Edwards, Senior VP of Disney Media Networks licensing at Disney Consumer Products. Boys love it as much as girls, and individual items are available in all price ranges, though the Get Better Check-Up Center mentioned above will set you back about 59 bucks.

Not that we’re encouraging our readers to jump on the latest hot toy trend, but let’s be honest … who doesn’t want to encourage future doctors? Happy shopping, Mamas!


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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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