It was a snowy Christmas Eve in Brownsfield, Texas. I was 600 miles from home, writing a last minute entreaty to Santa: I only wanted one thing: Sgt Rock. I can’t remember why I wanted it, and I don’t know where it is now. All I know for sure is that 8 hours after I wrote that note to Santa and left it in my stocking, Sgt. Rock was waiting in my stocking.
The right toy can make this Christmas morning one to remember, even it takes a little last-minute magic. Here are some of our picks for the best surprises to find in your stocking.
As long as parents are doing the buying, nostalgia will be a driving force on what ends up hung from the chimney with care, and this year’s no exception. Perennial favorite Furby is back again, this time with app integration. Though the app doesn’t do much yet (other than translate Furby’s gibberish and allow you to make sandwiches for some reason) that’s not really the point. Furby’s quasi-creepy faux AI is still the main draw.
2. Lazer Tag
Another old favorite back with an app is Lazer Tag. The awkward vest and goony helmet are gone, replaced by tough Nerf styling and a built-in cradle for your iPod touch or iPhone. In this case, the app is a real enhancement: augmented reality single- and multi-player games allow you to skip the Laser Tag Academy get right into the action.
3. Moto TC Racer
Other than socks, one of the biggest Christmas morning disappointments was the wired RC car, the kind that only had two moves, crawling forward and backing up the right. It’s great for mastering the art of the three-point turn, but not much else. All that’s changed with the latest generation of app-powered RC cars, and Griffin’s MOTO TC Racer is one of our favorites. Pair off with friends for high speed chases and obstacle races, or record your own personalized course and play it back over and over! And, unlike most iOS-powered cars, it has an Android app to match!
4. Crayola’s Digital Light Designer and DigiTools
For a more artistic approach, Crayola’s Digital Light Designer is a sure-fire hit. It brings lots of lo-fi charm, with a wide range of colors and animation options. If you’re looking for more app-integration, look no further than Crayla’s DigiTools Deluxe Pack for iPad. It has all the tools you’ll need for creative fun with three free apps.
5. Kindle Fire
For the ultimate toy for kids of all ages, the Kindle Fire is the way to go. Compact and lightweight, with vivid colors and loads of entertainment options, it’s a great way to while away the hours sitting in front of the fire, and there’s no better tool to make sure you enjoy that long ride home after the holidays. For the total package, make sure you deck it out in some cool accessories. PowerJolt SE Mobile will keep the battery topped all the way home, and Survivor will make sure your Kindle sees many happy returns.
Stuff your stocking with these cool toys, and this will be a season to remember!