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Hot toys, gifts tough to find

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Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:10 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Colleen Flaherty

Killeen Daily Herald

With two full shopping days left before Christmas, local retailers and shoppers have noticed that certain items are flying off the shelves.

Sisters Veronica Pigg and Amy Terry, both teachers at Killeen elementary schools, wanted to purchase a Disney laptop for Pigg's 7-year-old daughter at Toys R Us in Killeen on Wednesday, but didn't find one.

They bought stocking stuffers instead, they said.

Terry, a music teacher, was also faced with finding a present for her "tween" nephew, but settled on a Paper Jamz cardboard guitar and amplifier set.

At school, she said, "All my kids are talking about it."

For less plugged-in gift-givers, however, Toys R Us spokesman Bob Friedland suggested several season's hits.

For children up to 4 years old, Fisher-Price Sing-A-Ma-Jigs are a must-have, he said. The small, plush dolls each sing their own children's song, and different dolls can sing together in harmony.

For young girls, Disney Princess & Me dolls, from Cinderella to Tiana from the recent "Princess and the Frog" movie, have been popular. Bigger than traditional fashion dolls, Friedland said, "Girls tend to look at this item like a best friend." Matching dresses for little girls are sold separately.

Justin Bieber singing figures are also hot.

"Each one sings one of his favorites (songs)," he said of the teen heartthrob's namesake doll.

Boys can exercise their destructive urges with the Fast Lane Wildlife Remote Control Monster Truck.

"It's two feet long and over a foot high," Friedland said. "It even comes with a plastic car that kids can run over."

For Disney Pixar "Toy Story" fans, the U-Command Buzz Lightyear radio-controlled version of one of the franchise's most memorable characters has been popular at Toys R Us, where it is sold exclusively, Friedland said.

For older kids and kids at heart, Killeen Best Buy sales manager Serena Boyce has noticed several gadgets disappearing faster than others.

The season's must-have seems to be the Xbox 360 with Kinect console, which does not require a remote control for games such as Dance Central.

Parents have bought the device for their kids for Chirstmas, Boyce said, in addition to their spouses.

"It gets kids off the couch, it gets them active," she said, adding that she works up a sweat at home with her own.

Kindle e-readers, have also been a best-seller with adults, especially frequent travelers, she said.

"Today we got six in, and they were gone within 45 minutes."

The newly released multifunctional Apple iPads are also hard to come by.

"It's really popular because it's new and it's Apple," she said. "Apple has that market share, definitely."

For Apple-inclined music lovers, "iPods, those are still popular, four years later," she said.

The Nano's touch-screen version is its newest iteration.

Spc. Jon Hudson, 32, III Corps, was shopping for stocking stuffers for his wife and children, but couldn't resist some fantasy me-gifting in the aisles of Best Buy.

PlayStation Move, similar to Xbox 360 with Kinect, would be an ideal gift, he said.

But, he added, laughing, "I haven't been a very good boy this year."

First Sgt. Chris Titus, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, browsed the e-reader aisle, wondering if his book-loving wife would enjoy one.

"What a great way to have all the books you want to read at your fingertips," he said.

An iPad would be perfect for his own travel-filled lifestyle, he added.

"It's so small and compact, yet with a large screen. I can do quite a few things on that and not take up too much space," he said.

He wasn't sure if one would be under the tree, he said smiling, but "I've been throwing the hints out."

Contact Colleen Flaherty at colleenf@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.

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