Christmas stocking favourites a mixed bag this season

Lee-Anne Butler

WHETHER toys, books, gadgets or something sparkly, there is a gift out there to place under the tree or in a stocking for a loved one this festive season.

Already shoppers have been rushing off to get those gifts before they sell out and stores shared what the most popular gifts are turning out to be this Christmas.

Toys”R”Us South Africa marketing manager Michelle Thomas said there was increased interest in educational toys, with brands like LeapFrog receiving attention

“Popular brands like Lego and Barbie continue to make wishes come true, and we have also seen a huge popularity in the remote-control vehicles section.”

Thomas said the LeapPad LeapFrog Ultra and other toys and accessories in the range would probably be the most popular gifts under Christmas trees this season.

“There has been exciting innovation in toys this year, such as the Flutterbye Flying Fairy which uses sensory technology to magically fly, as well as the Lite Brix range which combines bricks and building with battery operated lights.”

They were also seeing huge popularity of new brands like Slugterra and Doc McStuffins, where they were struggling to keep up with demand.

“Remote-control vehicles are racing through the tills at the moment and continue to give kids the ability to explore new heights.

“On the electronic side, LeapFrog and Skylanders are strong contenders for the tech-savvy child as sales continue to increase even further than the items’ popularity throughout the year.

“Baby Born and Baby Annabelle are incredibly popular in the toddler doll category. Moms are always being asked for dolls that can cry and laugh just like baby so these interactive dolls continue to speak to toddlers’ hearts.”

Tanya Slabbert, executive director at Francarlo Jewellers in the Walmer Park Shopping Centre, said gold and silver earrings were the top sellers at the store. “Earrings of all shapes and sizes are definitely the most popular items at our store. This is also what we refer to as ‘engagement ring season’ as many people come in looking for rings in order to propose.”

Slabbert said other items that people were looking for included rings and watches for Christmas gifts, with Swatch watches being more popular for children and teenagers.

“Then our Thomas Sabo bracelets and charms as well as our Nomination range of bracelets and links are extremely popular. In the Nomination range there is also the Safari and U-Cool bangles that are selling well,” she said.

Incredible Connection store manager Shaun Peters said iPads remained a popular gift choice for adults and children.

“This year the most popular is the iPad Air which is a lot thinner and lighter compared to the other iPads.

“The PlayStation 4, which was just launched, has sold out already – on its very first day – and we will need to order more.”

Peters said another popular item which more men were buying for their partners was the Kindle e-reader Wi-Fi White, which was also thinner and lighter than other e-readers.

The owner of Fogarty’s Bookshop in the Walmer Park Shopping Centre, Teresa Fogarty, said “local was definitely lekker”, with South African books being the top sellers. “Mark Boucher’s autobiography called Bouch, Through my Eyes is doing really well, as is an Afrikaans novel by Deon Meyer called Kobra.

“Then anything that has to do with Mandela is flying off the shelves. This includes books like Hunger for Freedom, Conversations with Mandela, calendars, Long Walk to Freedom and the children’s edition of Long Walk to Freedom. “We have actually had to order more.” She said cookery books were also popular, especially Kookedoor, 7de Laan Vier Fees and Tim Noakes’s The Real Meal Revolution.

“Then there is a book called Even the Cows Were Amazed: Shipwreck Survivors on the South East African Coast and another called Boots in the Baviaans, about people, events, flora and fauna in the Baviaanskloof.”

Fogarty said cricket and rugby books were increasingly popular while children loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and classics such as books by Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl.

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