It’s getting “insanely busy” at Toy Traders right about now.
As B.C.’s biggest independent toy store, the Langley Bypass shop is one of the go-to places to find the best and fastest moving toys and collectibles for Christmas.
“It’s busy, I’m not going to lie,” said Lyndsay Anderson, who’s been with Toy Traders for 18 years.
“It gets insanely busy, but it really is a great atmosphere to be in. Whether you’re a kid that’s two or you’re a kid that’s 52, if you’re young at heart and you get that sort of twinkle in your eye and that excitement at Christmastime – it’s a great place to be,” she added.
Anderson is in a unique position of seeing what draws Langley crowds as Christmas approaches.
“Fingerlings are big” this year, said Anderson. “They’ve got monkeys and unicorns, and I don’t know what,” she elucidated. “You can play with them and they do tricks and they’re interactive. Remember Furbies when they were really big? It’s a kind of a trendy thing like that.”
Although the manufacturer’s age recommendation for Fingerlings is four to 14 years, Anderson suggested “six and up, because they have a battery.”
Toys ‘R’ Us and online reviewers tend to agree with her, and put the low end of the range at five or six years.
“And of course LEGO is big, always,” Anderson said, adding, “Star Wars LEGO, always always. LEGO is right up to adults: teens, adults… LEGO is very popular.”
While LEGO is rated four years and older, there are special LEGO kits rated for newborn to two years and three to four years.
Naturally, gooey stuff is popular with kids, too.
“Any type of slime is a big this year,” said Anderson. “Anything like Orb Slimy [5-13+], Putty Peeps [4+], Floam [6-15], Play Dough [2+]… anything goopy, kids are kind of big on that. Anything that’s kind of mucky, but still maintains its shape. It’s so popular this year, I mean seriously, it’s just flying off the shelf. It’s not necessarily a brand name or anything, it’s just really popular.”
Recipes for homemade floam and play dough are readily available online, too.
“Playmobil [four to 14, according to Netmums.com] is huge again,” Anderson said. “It’s always popular.”
This year one of the biggies in the Playmobil line-up is How to Train Your Dragon, she said, but there are lots of other themes, including the “horrendously popular Ghostbusters Playmobil.”
Playmobil covers a range of interests.
“You might have a fire theme, or farm theme or outdoor theme or whatever… there’s all sorts of different themes with little figures that are outfitted with whatever goes with that theme.”
For instance, a fire themed Playmobil includes fire trucks, a firehall, and firemen with hoses and other accessories.
Themes are a big deal in a wide range of Christmas attractions in the toy store, she added. “Anything Star Wars is always big, right? Anything that has a sort of a cult following will be popular with everyone right up to adults.”
Board games and puzzles are back, including old favourites with updated themes, like Legends of Zelda Risk, or Harry Potter Monopoly, or Dr. Who Clue, or Nightmare Before Christmas Operation, or Yahtzee, or varied combinations.
“At the store we carry the vintage versions, as well,” Anderson assured those who might not be familiar with games that are particularly popular this year. Those include Exploding Kittens, Carcassone, Bonanza, Ticket to Ride, Code Names, any of the Politically Incorrect, which is a take off on Cards Against Humanity.
As Christmas approaches, it just gets busier and busier for Anderson and her co-workers.
“It’s crazy,” she said, “but you know what? It’s really worth it, because kids get so excited and you see them come in and they’re just so stoked, and as you get closer to Christmas, the excitement builds, and it really is fun.”