The Barbie brand is as synonymous with gifts for young girls as Kleenex is with tissues and Michael Bay is with explosions. For more than a decade, Barbies have been the No. 1 hot toy for girls during the holiday season. This year, the champ's reign over all that's girly has come to an end thanks to a group of young upstarts from the land of Arendelle — Elsa, Anna and the cast of "Frozen."
According to the National Retail Federation, this year marks the first time since the group began measuring toy popularity that Barbie has been unseated as the No. 1 wish list item for girls, with toys from Disney's "Frozen" taking the top spot. The NRF reported that one in five parents was planning on buying toys related to Disney's "Frozen" this holiday season, beating out Barbie's 16.8 percent share of the market. Boys, on the other hand, have remained steady with their support going to Lego products.
In fact, the top ten list of girls' holiday wish lists features more slots for modern brands. While boys are largely interested in the franchises of yesteryear, Lego, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and Hot Wheels, girls are more interested in newer brands and identities, like Monster High and Doc McStuffins.
Bathsheba Strenkowski, of Union Bridge, was out shopping for her 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter Thursday. She said her children were both interested in brands from the top ten lists, with her son asking for Legos and her daughter asking for Monster High dolls. She said these hot-ticket items can often become pretty expensive, particularly when bought in bulk at the holiday season.
"My daughter is currently going from toddler to 5-year-old, so we're going from smaller toys to bigger toys," Strenkowski said. "Right now the big girls are into Monster High, so that's what's she's into."
Not all families were looking into established "brands" this season, preferring to embrace more classical toys unaffiliated with any media empire. Jodie Binkley, of Manchester, said she was shopping for her children who range in age from 1 year old to 30.
"My little ones aren't old enough for 'Frozen,' so they're into trucks, musical instruments and educational-type toys," Binkley said. "I do most of my shopping online, but I was able to get out today, so I thought I'd look around for everyone at once."
Other popular options of classic toys include board games, toy trucks, generic dolls and stuffed animals. Though parents are planning on segregating many of their toy purchases based on gender, both girls and boys are interested in technology this holiday season, with boys asking for video game systems like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, girls asking for smartphone technology and both genders asking for tablets and iPads.
This year, the NRF said they are expecting an increase in holiday sales by 4.1 percent. Last year, American families spent $602 billion on presents for their families. According to the NRF, holiday sales make up nearly 20 percent of the shopping industry's total profits.
For those who wish to support children during the holiday season, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office is hosting a Toys for Tots campaign, and will be accepting new unwrapped toy donations until Wednesday. Toy collection boxes are located at each of the six public library branches, the library headquarters in New Windsor and the Carroll County Office Building or sheriff's office in Westminster.