Incognito holiday

Mom, Dad and Isaac all get a turn with the unexpected hit of Christmas -- the Groucho glasses. (Sarah Kelber / December 25, 2012)

Last year, my son Isaac fixated on one of his stocking stuffers -- a head lamp. He would not take that thing off. He wore it to explore the (finished) basement, turned lights off in other rooms just so he could play in there in the dark and even had to be dissuaded from going to the bathroom by a single bulb.

I thought it was a fluke, brought on by the coincidence of his dad having his own, Marine Corps-issued, head lamp at hand when we opened presents with him connected to us from Afghanistan via Skype. I figured it was a "be-like-Daddy" moment, especially when he was missing Daddy so much.

But this year's unexpected favorite -- Groucho glasses from his stocking -- took the wind out of that theory. Dad doesn't have a mustache, glasses or dominant eyebrows (though he has been known to waggle his brows). Everyone but the baby got their picture taken in the Groucho glasses last night, and Isaac even wore them on FaceTime with one set of his grandparents.

I asked around on Facebook and on Instagram to see what things had grabbed the attention of readers' little ones, and it seemed like the stocking stuffers -- aka the fun, little, often an afterthought kind of things -- were pretty popular. Tanika reported that her sons wouldn't let go of their Pez dispensers from their aunt, and Jen said her sons loved a vibrating bug she'd picked up from the clearance bin at Target.

This all made me feel a bit better about my Santa fail. I misheard what Isaac asked Santa for -- he said he wanted a LEGO motorcycle from Target, I remembered a LEGO helicopter from Target, and when I went there, the display we'd once looked at was empty, and I couldn't find anything to jog my memory. "Santa" rallied with a helicopter made of light-up building bricks, and Isaac seemed quite pleased by that.

But he played with the Groucho glasses more. And, just for the record, he was still playing with the head lamp last week.

What unexpected toy won the popularity contest at your house this holiday?