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Adult Play-Doh, stores that ship and more holiday trends to watch
The pandemic is turning this into a holiday shopping season like no other. Here’s what to expect.
TOYS FOR ADULTS
Kids aren’t the only ones who need some fun. Toy companies are targeting bored adults stuck at home during the pandemic. Need something to fidget during your next Zoom meeting? Hasbro has new moldable Play-Doh varieties that smell like stuff grown-ups would recognize: lattes, fresh cut grass and smoked meats.Lego, meanwhile, wants adults to put on their headphones and “forget about the rest of the world” while turning the plastic pieces in their new kits into hangable art, like Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Monroe portraits.Marissa DiBartolo, editor in chief of toy review site The Toy Insider, says she’s seen more coloring books and challenging puzzles being designed with adults in mind.
FROM YOUTUBE TO THE TOY STORE
The canines on “Paw Patrol” better watch their tails. YouTube stars with millions of viewers are heading to the toy aisle, a place where TV cartoon characters used to rule.It’s all because kids are spending so much time watching YouTube instead of cable TV, says DiBartolo. That’s made stars of the video-streaming site just as recognizable as those on Nickelodeon.Figurines of Blippi, a man who wears orange suspenders and hosts educational kid videos on YouTube, are being sold at Target and Amazon. At Walmart, toys featuring Ryan Kaji, a kid who reviews toys on his Ryan’s World YouTube channel, have been hot sellers. Toy company VTech is playing into the trend in another way, selling a KidiZoom Creator camera that comes with a green screen so kids can add special effects and pretend to be YouTube influencers themselves.And if you need another sign of just how big YouTube stars have become, a 42-foot-tall (13-meter-tall) balloon based on Kaji from Ryan’s World appeared Thursday in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, floating next to TV icons like SpongeBob and, yes, Chase from “Paw Patrol.”
Guy gifts that aren’t socks
We make recommendations independently, but participate in affiliate advertising programs that may pay us commission if you make purchases at Amazon.com and other linked retailer sites.Men are notoriously hard to buy for, but if there was ever a year to hit a home run with a gift for the guy in your life, 2020 is it. It’s been a brutal year, so treat him to something that’s sure to put a smile on his face. Hint: It’s not a pair of socks.If that sounds like a daunting task, fear not. To jump-start your search, we’ve found great gifts, from an affordable watch — that looks like a million bucks — to a tech-savvy self-cleaning water bottle that’s perfect for his next run. And if you thought that finding that shiny new bicycle would be impossible, look no further.
Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash
Zara hooded technical sweatshirt
Send him out in style with Zara’s black and green zip-front hooded sweatshirt. The zipped compartment on the chest is perfect for carrying a phone or a thin wallet. $49.90, zara.com
Sole Bicycles single-speed OFW II
What’s the most coveted holiday gift of 2020? A shiny new bike. After the spring rush on products like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, bicycles were the next hot commodity to fly out of stores. Venice Beach, California, bike maker Sole now has a fully stocked selection, including the sharp OFW II single-speed city bike. This is a gift that’s sure to put a smile on your loved one’s face. $429, solebicycles.com
AOX Caruso sunglasses
Jumpstart his style with a pair of handcrafted shades. AOX is a Black-owned, fully sustainable brand from Italy that has just launched in the U.S. with a stylish collection of sunglasses. The brand’s yellow and tortoise Caruso shades are a standout. Make the gift even more special by adding free engraving on the temple for a custom touch. $120, aoxeyewear.com
Ooni Fyra Pizza Oven
Make bubbling hot, homemade pizza in 60 seconds flat with the Fyra outdoor pizza oven. Fyra is powered by eco-friendly wood pellets to create the subtle, smoky flavors of a built-in wood-fired oven at a fraction of the cost. You can also perfectly sear steak or chargrill fish. The chimney is removable for easy transport to tailgate parties and picnics. $249, williams-sonoma.com
Kangol face mask and matching hat
Iconic streetwear brand Kangol brings socially conscious and old-school style together with their double-layered mask and a matching Wool Casual bucket hat. $20 and $70, kangol.com
MLB game-used baseball friendship bracelets
Keep the season going with a friendship bracelet braided from wool unwound from the core of a game-used MLB baseball. Each bracelet is gift boxed with a hologram for looking up details of the exact game the ball was used in. $64 each, uncommongoods.com
Todd Snyder denim jacket
Designer Todd Snyder makes the American classic even cooler by updating it in selvage Japanese denim. This versatile jacket will look great layered under a winter coat or on its own in warmer weather and will quickly become his go-to for years to come. $288, toddsnyder.com
Hudson Grace Kitchen Speaker
Your home chef can drop his smartphone into the opening of this sculptural ceramic speaker and crank up his favorite tunes while creating a culinary masterpiece. $75, hudsongracesf.com
LARQ self-cleaning water bottle
Freshen up his run with a sleek water bottle designed with UV-C LED sanitizing lights. The stylish bottles keep drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours while eradicating germs in 60 seconds. $95, livelarq.com
Egg on a Bagel Maker
Making a great breakfast just got a whole lot easier. Just whisk some eggs and pop this handmade ceramic dish into the microwave for eggs cooked into the perfect shape and size to layer onto a sliced bagel. $25, uncommongoods.com
Casio G-Shock GAS-100B watch
Give him an under-$200 watch that looks like a million bucks. G-Shock’s solar-powered watch has a sleek black-on-black design that looks great whether he’s going casual or dressed up. $170, amazon.com
Chinatown Market X Smiley pingpong table
Pingpong just got cool again with this hip collaboration between Chinatown Market and Smiley. The happy table folds away for easy storage when you’re not in competition. $475, urbanoutfitters.com
STORES AS SHIPPING HUBS
Retailers including Walmart and Best Buy that were already using their locations as hubs to ship e-commerce orders are now coming up with new strategies to get even faster. The moves come as they face a holiday crunch expected to tax shipping networks and likely result in delivery delays.Walmart this week launched a special program for the holidays. It has some of its online orders being fulfilled directly from stores using delivery services like Postmates and DoorDash instead of carriers like FedEx or UPS. The aim is to ensure customers will be able to get their orders quickly, even on the same day.Meanwhile, Best Buy says that 340 of its stores are being specially designated to handle a higher volume of online orders, though all its stores ship e-commerce packages. Its goal: to have the 340 stores ship more than 70% of its ship-from-store units during the holiday quarter.And then there are many small-to-medium sized businesses increasingly turning to operators of micro-warehouses — mini-shipping hubs that are located in urban areas — to help pack and delivery goods. Ben Jones is the CEO and founder of Ohi, which operates five micro-warehouses for various brands like sparkling tonic Olipop, or provides software for third parties at 115 locations for e-commerce fulfillment across the U.S. He says he’s seen more brands using his software because many aren’t able to guarantee delivery by Christmas via standard shipping if items are ordered after the first week of December.
GIFTS FOR THE POOCH
More people adopted puppies and kittens during the pandemic, and stores are pouncing to cash in. Petco is selling matching pajamas for dogs and their humans with snowflakes and Christmas trees. And Chewy, the online pet store, is getting more personal, inscribing pets names into bandanas, bowls or beds.Consulting firm Deloitte expects half of shoppers to spend some of their money on pet treats and other supplies this holiday season.
FORGET ABOUT IMPULSE SHOPPING
It’s not just frenzied crowds that will be absent this holiday season. So will impulse shopping — the practice of throwing in extra items like toys or bath balms as shoppers go in and out of the aisles.Typically, 25% of holiday shopping is based on impulse, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor at NPD Group, a market research firm. This year, Cohen said he expects that figure to drop to about 10% as shoppers dramatically shift their buying online to avoid physical stores. And when they do go to stores, customers will be buying with a purpose, picking up things they need as they try to minimize exposure to COVID-19“Impulse shopping is the icing on the cake,“ Cohen said. “It is the difference between a successful profitable holiday and a ho hum holiday.” ___This story has been updated to correct that Petco is offering matching pajamas for owners and dogs, not matching sweaters.
Gift-giving on a budget
We make recommendations independently, but participate in affiliate advertising programs that may pay us commission if you make purchases at Amazon.com and other linked retailer sites.Here are 50 gifts separated into categories by interest. Everything here was priced under $10 at the time of writing. No matter your budget, there’s something here for everyone.
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
For the cook: A utensil rest
Maybe the person on your list expresses their creativity through food. Here are five great options for foodies, cooks, or anyone who just likes to eat.iNeibo Silicone Utensil Rest with Drip Pad for Multiple Utensils. Available on Amazon.
Sushi rolling mats
BambooMN Sushi Maker Kit – Green and Natural Sushi Rolling Mats. Available on Amazon.
A simplified cookbook
“5 Ingredient Cookbook: Easy Recipes in 5 or Less Ingredients.” Available on Amazon.
For the fitness fanatic: A yoga mat carrier
New gadgets make working out a little more fun. Here are five items that work for almost anyone, from the hardcore gym rat to those just getting started.Gaiam On-The-Go Yoga Mat Carrier. Available on Amazon.
A jump rope or armband phone holder (or both)
Fit2Live Jump Rope + Armband. Available on Amazon.
DONGJI Hand Grips Strengthener, Adjustable Resistance 22-88 Lbs. Available on Amazon.
For the artist: Something to hold their supplies
Whether you’re shopping for an aspiring artist, someone who picked up painting as a quarantine hobby or maybe even a professional, here are a few options that will encourage creativity without breaking your budget. Creative Canvas Roll Up Pencil Case. Available on Amazon.
A book to help them improve their skills
“Draw 50 Animals: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Elephants, Tigers, Dogs, Fish, Birds, and Many More.” Available on Amazon.
CONDA Cotton Canvas Professional Bib Apron With 3 Pockets. Available on Amazon.
Essentials Fashion Sketchbook (366 Figure Templates to create your own designs!). Available on Amazon.
For the adventurer: A beanie headlamp
Whether it’s camping, hiking, fishing or whatever, some people always want to be outside. These next five are for them.PRAVETTE Upgraded LED Lighted Beanie Hat. Available on Amazon.
For those who would rather stay inside: A Scrabble dictionary
Nature isn’t for everyone. Here are five gift ideas that are best enjoyed indoors.The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. Available on Amazon.
An adult coloring book
BLOODY ALPHABET: The Scariest Serial Killers Coloring Book. Available on Amazon.
For the gardener: Gloves
These next five gifts are for the true enthusiasts who are already dreaming of spring.HAUSHOF 6 Pairs Garden Gloves. Available on Amazon.
Miniature tools for succulents and fairy gardens
Melphoe Puppy’s Mom 12 Pieces Mini Garden Hand Transplanting Succulent Tools. Available on Amazon.
A how-to guide for the new gardener
“Greenhouse Gardening: A Beginners Guide To Growing Fruit & Vegetables All Year Round.” Available on Amazon.
For the DIY-er: A pocket screwdriver
Whether it’s a new homeowner or an old pro, some people just prefer to do things themselves. If that sounds familiar, check out these next five items.Stanley 66-344 4-in-1 Pocket Screwdriver. Available on Amazon.
A pocket-sized multitool
Ninja Outdoorsman 11 in 1 Stainless Steel Credit Card Pocket Sized Survival Multi Functional Tool. Available on Amazon.
For young kids: Finger crayons
Toddlers and younger children have a ton of great gift options under $10. These next five suggestions are safe for children under 5 years old.GiBot Toddlers Crayons Palm-Grip Crayons. Available on Amazon.
Melissa & Doug Mickey Mouse ABC-123 Nesting & Stacking Blocks. Find it on Amazon.
For slightly older kids: Anything L.O.L. Surprise!
They might be slightly harder to please, but there are a lot of budget-friendly items for the 6 and up range. Here are five choices.L.O.L. Surprise! Boys Arcade Heroes Action Figure Doll. Available on Amazon.
Art for Kids: Cartooning: The Only Cartooning Book You’ll Ever Need to Be the Artist You’ve Always Wanted to Be. Available on Amazon.
For kids of any age: Card games
This includes adults. Here are a few final suggestions that work for family gifts, teens, grandparents and everything in between.UNO Pixar 25th Anniversary Card Game. Available on Amazon.
Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Awesome Kit – Words for Refrigerator. Available on Amazon.
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