So what are kids clamoring for this year? I asked savvy consumer and my daughter, 6-year-old, Scarlett, to help us grown-ups navigate the corporate noise (Is Let's Rock Elmo the must have? Are Zhu Zhus a snooze?) and get the low down what a girl wants, what a girl needs under the tree this holiday season. (Boys, too.)
So what would you say is the number one gift for kids this year?
Scarlett: I would think Air Swimmers. It's very fun, and it swims in the air. And everyone loves to do pranks. Maybe you could scare the old people in your life. But you need to open it, make sure no one is looking, have someone fill it with air secretly then you can freak them out.
Any other favorite toys that top your list?
Scarlett: A great one is an iPad.
Now that's a pretty expensive toy.
Scarlett: Well, Mom, it's not really a toy. It's just something everyone wants. It's fun for all children, and then you don't have to use your parent's iPhone. But don't let your parents put their apps on it or you'll never get it back. They'll read articles on it all day. And it's for children. Not 44-year-olds. (Authors note: Her father happens to be 44-years-old.)
What app are you referring to?
Scarlett: The Economist! I'm sick of it. I'm going to delete it. See, if I press the app for a while, it asks me if I would like to "delete or cancel." (Father frowns.) In this case, I would like to cancel.
Can you think of something more reasonable than an iPad?
Scarlett: Stuffed animals are always good. For example, if your daughter likes tigers or Alaskan Huskies, you could buy her those. Or you should ask your child their favorite animal. Some kids are dolphin people, others are dog people. You could also get a Pillow Pet in any of these.
What are Pillow Pets?
Scarlett: Well, it's a pillow and a pet. It transforms! You can take them anywhere--to restaurants, on vacations--but not to school.
You should work in the Pillow Pet marketing department.
Scarlett: I'm not old enough. I'm only 6.
So anything specifically for girls that you recommend?
Scarlett: A toy all girls love is Barbie. But don't trust the commercials. Especially Barbie Video Girl. I got that one last year. It doesn't come with batteries, and I learned this first hand. But I love Moxie Girlz Riding Horses! The Moxie dolls ride fake horses. It's new. Girls like Moxies and finally, something that walks!
What is it with little girls and horses anyway?
Scarlett: Well, they're beautiful and graceful. Sometimes you meet a horse and really get into them.
What do boys want?
Boys aren't into ponies?
Scarlett: No, it's very girl. It's so pink.
Have you heard of Bronies?
Scarlett: I think so. Are those the ponies that sound like men? Instead, they sing, (in 6-year-old baritone) "My little pony..."
Have you seen the Razor Graffiti Chalk Scooter? (Under her tree as we speak.)
Scarlett: Yes! You put chalk on the wheels, and then you go! It's fun, but don't ride it during hide-and-seek or you'll be easy to find.
Good point. Are board games still big with kids?
Scarlett: Yes. A 10-year-old might like chess or maybe younger if you're into strategy. Or Hedbanz! It's a game where you wear a card on your head and you have to guess: Am I a pickle? Am I a sausage? A bicycle? A pineapple?
What does that mean?
Scarlett: "Cut" means time out. I need a little drink. Okay, I'm ready now.
What is Santa going to think of these toys? You know he and the elves have to make most of them.
Scarlett: He might want to find a special elf. He'll need strong elves.
Which ones would he need those for?
Scarlett: I don't know the elves personally.
No, I mean the toys. For which toys would he need strong elves?
Scarlett: Air Swimmers. They're really big. It's a heavy box.
Well, then what kind of elves make an iPad?
Scarlett: The non-simple elves. It's hard to make with all the electrical parts. Simple elves make, let's say, gift certificates. It's just a card made out of plastic, and then they stamp it. But disguise elves make reservations at spas, restaurants and hotels.
Disguise elves sound an awful lot like concierges.
Scarlett: They're not. They're elves. They find the normal clothes in the back of Santa's closet, the ones he wears in summer and put them on. They disguise their ears with fake, rounded ears that stay attached so they can buy things without people going crazy if they see them.
Any final words to Santa about this list? I'm pretty sure he reads The Huffington Post.
Scarlett: That this was a lot of hard work for me, and I think he should consider that.