If you’ve ever seen modern Christmas classic Jingle All The Way, or lived your own version of it, you’ll know that each Christmas there are a few must-have toys on virtually every child’s Christmas list.
Whether it’s a Buzz Lightyear action figure or Pie Face board game, there are two challenges when it comes to buying must-have gifts at Christmas – finding them, and getting them for the best price.
We take a look at some likely candidates for this year’s must-have gift, based on suggestions by retail giants Argos, John Lewis, Tesco and Amazon, and offer our tips for finding them at the best price.
1. Paw Patrol Sea Patroller
If your little one is a big fan of the Paw Patrol pups then this playset is the ideal pressie. With a movable crane and flashing lights and sounds, there’s plenty of fun to be had with this boat/land vehicle. Bear in mind though – the dogs themselves have to be bought separately.
2. L.O.L Big Surprise Ball
Tapping in on the trend for ‘unveiling’ surprises, this toy lets kids unwrap each layer to reveal 50 surprises, including dolls and accessories.
3. Num Noms Nail Varnish Maker
Perfect for craft lovers. This kit allows you to make scented, glittery nail varnish in a variety of fruity flavours.
4. LEGO Boost 17101 Creative Toolset
A list-topper for budding engineers, this set encourages building, coding and creativity and contains the pieces to build several robots. With a hefty £149.99 price tag, it is the most expensive gift on our list.
5. Luvabella Doll
This AI doll is new to UK shop shelves. She speaks over 100 words and phrases, has facial expressions and responds to her accessories.
Is it what your kids really want?
It may seem obvious, but you can save yourself a lot of cash (and effort) by working out if the must-have toy is actually what your kid wants. Have they just heard their friends talking about it or seen a picture in a catalogue? Take them to see it in a shop and look closely at its features – does it still feature in their letter to Santa?
Do your shopping early
Christmas Eve may be a good time to bag a bargain, but you run the risk of items being out of stock. If you know you’re going to be shopping for a must-have toy then the earlier you start shopping the better as it gives you more time to do your research.
When you’ve got a list of gifts to buy as long as Santa’s, it can be tempting to buy everything in one shop then head for a mince pie break. But shopping around can save significant sums. Use a price comparison tool like idealo or kelkoo, or even just note down prices as you see them in store.
Check delivery costs
When you’re comparing prices, remember to take delivery costs into consideration. If you find the gift somewhere with a hefty delivery fee, see if somewhere with free delivery is offering price match.
Know when offers are on
Time your festive shopping for when offers are on, like Smyths’ well-known discount days or the Argos 3-for-2 offer.
Try and find a voucher code
Before you make your purchase, it’s worth searching the web for any discount codes for the retailer you plan to use. You might get a percentage off the price or free delivery.
Keep your eyes peeled – whatever shop you are in
These must-have gifts won’t just be on the shelves at the biggest retailers. In the run-up to Christmas it seems like every retailer sells toys from your local newsagent to the garden centre, so it’s always worth keeping a look out for unexpected bargains.