2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Toys!

Whether we grew up circling toys in the JC Penny catalog or creating wishlists on Amazon, we all have some fond memories of toys and the holidays. Here is  our holiday gift guide for toys, a sizable collection of toys we’ve reviewed or purchased over the year that we think you or your gift recipients would be pleased to receive.


Holiday Gift Guide toys
Image: Mattel

Polly Pocket Pollyville Mega Mall
Suggested By: Sarah Pinault
Mfg: Mattel
Price: 34.99-44.99
Purchase: Polly Pocket Pollyville Mega Mall

Another year, another doll’s house. Aside from size, the first bonus of this is the construction. There is minimal assembly and no teeny, tiny, stickers to add on, just stickers for fun. I cannot emphasize enough just how excited I was that this didn’t require me to stick all of the images onto each and every floor. It’s instantly playable, which after the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage snafu of aught’18, is a huge bonus in our house. This toy has me singing the theme song to Polly Pocket from my childhood non stop, but that’s not a bad thing after the thirtieth rendition of White Christmas. The Mega Mall includes six floors, an elevator that moves fluidly for little hands, a vehicle, a parking garage, and the Pollyville Ice Cream Truck. For figures, you get micro Polly and micro Lila, plus a dog, and a bunch of other itty bitty accessories. It comes with “Polly Stick technology” to make the figures stick wherever you want them. The stick is holding up well, but will presumably fade in effectiveness with time. The detail on this toy gives it the edge for me, hearkening back to my own childhood. Mattel has done Bluebird proud with this toy. It doesn’t collapse, and doesn’t fit back in the box once assembled, but it’s Polly Pocket, so the footprint is still minimal. On the whole this will be a delightful addition to Christmas morning. Both my seven year old son and my four year old daughter will be staking a claim on this toy.


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Image: Mattel

Barbie Dreamplane
Suggested By: Sarah Pinault
Mfg: Mattel
Price: $59-$79.99
Purchase: Barbie Dreamplane

My daughter recently started taking an interest in Barbie, after a year of preferring her kid sister, Chelsea. She has just reached that age, where she is using props to tell stories, and the Barbie Dreamplane has plenty of adventures to take her on. This is the enormous package that waits under the Christmas Tree for delighted children to tear into. It is solidly constructed, and very solidly pink. It isn’t too fussy in it’s pieces, while still maintaining a nice degree of detail. It has everything I would want in a plane myself, food trolley, TV Screens, reclining chairs. It doesn’t come with a pilot, which I would want on a real flight, and it does come with a dog, which I wouldn’t want. It does not come with the dolls, but chances are if you are getting this for Christmas then you already have a whole host of volunteers waiting to take that seat. This is part of Mattel’s “You Can Be Anything Barbie” line, and, while I don’t need my kids to grow up to be pilots, I would like them familiar enough with a plane to be ready for our flight to England this coming Spring, especially the four year old who has never flown. Hopefully this will help her prepare for that. The vehicle is enormous and moves surprisingly well over all our surfaces. It’s recommended for ages three and up, but the range definitely goes much higher than that, and I don’t think I would have given it to her a year ago.. It’s a great blank canvas from which many make believe adventures will come.


Holiday Gift Guide toys
Image: Mattel

Jurassic World Destroy ‘n Devour Indominus Rex
Suggested By: Sarah Pinault
Mfg: Mattel
Price: $29.99-$39.99
Purchase: Jurassic World Destroy ‘n Devour Indominus Rex

I’m all in for any Jurassic Park or Jurassic World tie in, and while I will always have a soft spot for the T-Rex, the Indominus makes for an imposing addition under the Christmas Tree. At a whopping 23 inches long it comes with some great action gimmicks, and some “realistic” sounds. I am particularly partial to the slashing sounds on this one. There is an LED that glows red to outline any action figure you are about to devour. It’s technically for ages four and up, but I’m 38 and I love it. The only downside is that it is bigger than the T-Rex toy of the same series, so any battles you have planned will be slightly askew, though still epic. I have three kids but this seems to be sturdy enough to handle anything they throw at them, though they haven’t tried to actually throw it yet. Good construction, good materials and a great addition to any well meaning dinosaur collection. Put it in a box with a copy of the movie, a bag of popcorn, then sit back and watch the Indominus Rex eat, your popcorn!


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Neat as a pin and pretty as a picture!

Switch Lite
Suggested By: Z.
Mfg: Nintendo
Price: $199.99
Purchase: Switch Lite

Here at GeekDad, we don’t typically name a “hot holiday toy of the year.” That being said, I can think of no surer way to please each and everyone on your gift list than with the new Nintendo Switch Lite. This latest iteration of the highly successful Switch line trades the television functionality and removable Joy-Cons for a smaller, all-in-one form-factor that plays as good as it looks. Perfect as both your family’s first Switch purchase or as a supplemental unit to your existing Nintendo Switch—yes, you can have access to all your downloadable titles on both systems—the Switch Lite is a true and worthy successor in Nintendo’s long-lived and lauded portable gaming dynasty. [Review materials provided by: Nintendo of America]


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Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer! Now… Charmander?!

Holiday Lights Charmander
Suggested By: Z.
Mfg: Pokémon
Price: $22
Purchase: Holiday Lights Charmander

Every year, the Pokémon Center rolls out a brand new batch of holiday-themed toys, apparel, and collectibles, and every year, my family collectively loses its mind over one (or more) items. This year’s pick was easily the Holiday Lights Charmander, an adorable plush that sees the Gen I starter decked out in all his Christmas finery—by which I mean a furry Sawsbuck costume complete with antlers. He joins a snowflake-adorned Sylveon and Father Christmas Pikachu to round out the Holiday Lights Poké Plush collection, each of which is sure to satisfy even your most discriminating Pokémon Masters.


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Image: Hasbro

Power Rangers Playskool Heroes Power Morphin Megazord Playset
Suggested By: Gary Catig
Mfg: Playskool
Price: $59.99
Purchase: Power Rangers Playskool Heroes Power Morphin Megazord Playset

The Power Rangers Playskool Heroes Power Morphin Megazord is a beast of a toy. Standing at two feet tall, the playset is a great gift for those younger Power Ranger fans. There are so many moving parts including the chomping actions in the hands and chest. There’s even a handle on the shoulder that causes the lion head to pop out with lights and sound effects. Upon the other shoulder is a spring action missile launcher that can take out the forces of the Orgs. No Zord would be complete without morphing action. This toy can easily be converted from Zord to fearsome lion and vice versa. Also included is the Red Ranger with his Lion Blaster. There are multiple compartments throughout that he or any of his fellow rangers can be placed in. And though it’s a Power Rangers set, many of the other Playskool figures can easily fit as well so you can create cross over events with Marvel, Star Wars and more. Overall, this would be a fun addition to any kid’s collection.


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Image: Hasbro

Power Rangers Lightning Collection 6″ Beast Morphers Red Ranger Figure
Suggested By: Gary Catig
Mfg: Hasbro
Price: $19.99
Purchase: Power Rangers Lightning Collection 6″ Beast Morphers Red Ranger Figure

When Hasbro obtained the rights to the Power Rangers franchise, it was only a matter of time until they created a higher end six-inch action figure line of the property similar to the Black Series and Marvel Legends. Thus, came the Lightning Collection and included in its second wave is the Beast Morphers Red Ranger. The sculpt is well done with many accessory details incorporated into the mold as opposed to merely painted on. This provides texture and depth to the figure and the shoulder straps being a removable separate piece adds a nice touch. In addition, the use of the Photo Real technology perfectly captures the likeness of Devon Daniels. The Red Ranger comes with two different swappable heads, the Cheetah Beast Blaster, Beast-X Saber with blast effect piece and an extra pair of hands. Those extra hands, along with the high level of articulation, allows a multitude of different action poses. The Red Ranger, or any of the other Lightning Collection figures, would be a good pick up for any Power Rangers fan.


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Image: LEGO

LEGO BrickHeadz Christmas Reindeer, Elf, and Elfie 40353
Suggested By: Rory Bristol
Mfg: LEGO
Price: $34.99
Purchase: LEGO BrickHeadz Christmas Reindeer, Elf, and Elfie 40353

This LEGO Christmas kit features three Brickheadz: Elf, Elfie, and Christmas Reindeer. The elves are elf-sized builds, making them a unique addition to your Geek’s Brickheadz collection. Also included are Santa’s mailbox and the North Pole, bringing the wintry home of the elves into the scene. This set is a perfect gift for collectors and casual LEGO enthusiasts, because it is fun to build and play with and attractive when on display.


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Image: LEGO

LEGO Creator Expert Assembly Square 10255
Suggested By: Rory Bristol
Mfg: LEGO
Price: $279.95
Purchase: LEGO Creator Expert Assembly Square 10255

The LEGO Assembly Square is a behemoth kit featuring over four thousand (4,000) pieces, making it the perfect gift for your dedicated LEGO enthusiast. Whether your geek has an entire collection of LEGO Creator buildings or is just looking for a fun LEGO set, this is the kit for your geek. The set features 8 minifigures (plus a LEGO baby) and promises hours of imaginative play long past the entertainment provided by the complex build. The best value, though, is in the average cost per brick. Usually, we look for kits which are novel or less than 10 cents per brick. This kit fits both bills, with an average brick cost of 7 cents per brick. This makes the Assembly Square one of the more affordable large kits, despite its high sticker price.


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Image: LEGO

“Steamboat Willie” LEGO Ideas set
Suggested By: Jenny Bristol
Mfg: LEGO
Price: $89.99
Purchase: “Steamboat Willie” LEGO Ideas set

Do not adjust your set! Transporting us back to the 1928 screen debut of the Disney animated short “Steamboat Willie,” this monochromatic set celebrates the first Disney film to have synchronized sound. This LEGO version of the S.S. Willie has steam pipes that move up and down and paddle wheels that rotate when the boat is pushed along. It has a boat bridge, ship’s wheel, life buoy, and buildable bell. It includes a potato bin cargo, Minnie’s guitar and music sheet, adjustable crane, and a parrot. It also contains brand new minifigures of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. You can recreate scenes from the original cartoon, or make up your own stories with your kids. See more photos at my GeekDad post about this set here.


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Image: LEGO

Friends LEGO Central Perk Set
Suggested By: Jenny Bristol
Mfg: LEGO
Price: $59.99
Purchase: Friends LEGO Central Perk Set

One of this year’s exciting new LEGO releases (for us Gen-Xers, anyway) is the LEGO Central Perk set, showing off Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey in their favorite hangout spot (with Gunther looking on enviously from behind the counter). It’s a super fun build, and has a number of options and configurations for more active play, and has so many little details, you’ll keep finding new favorites. It also blows my 10 cents per piece rule out of the water with 1070 pieces! Read my GeekDad review here. (If backordered, you can order it from the LEGO website directly.) Note: Do not get this set mixed up with the LEGO Friends line of toys!


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Round One — Fight!

Street Fighter II CE x RepliCade Arcade Machine
Suggested By: Shaun Manning
Mfg: New Wave Toys
Price: 119.99
Purchase: Street Fighter II CE x RepliCade Arcade Machine

This 1/6th-scale arcade machine is as much a conversation piece as a video game. Playing Street Fighter II on this authentic but miniaturized cabinet adds a unique joy to the familiar fighter.


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Hogwarts Express Electric Train Set, Image: Hornby

Hogwarts Express Electric Model Train Set
Suggested By: Sophie Brown
Mfg: Hornby
Price: $250
Purchase: Hogwarts Express Electric Model Train Set

The Hogwarts Express electric train set is a model railway starter set designed for older collectors and model railway enthusiasts. It is built to exacting specifications and is a perfect scale model of its real-world counterpart. Because it is a starter set, you’ll get a locomotive, carriages, tracks, and other accessories so you can set up a model railway of your own right out of the box. It’s easy to set up, requires no knowledge of electrical circuits, and runs beautifully when built correctly.There’s also a wide range of accessories available so you could set up your very own railway line from Platform 9 3/4 to Hogsmeade if you have the space and budget.
This is not a cheap present but for the die-hard Potterhead in your life, there’s really nothing better. My ten-year-old son spent hours sending it around the legs of our dinner table, his Potter-loving friend’s jaw dropped open when she saw it while visiting for an afternoon, and my father-in-law instantly became a kid again when he came over. This will make for an amazing gift and will bring joy for years if not decades to come. However, I would hold off on purchasing it for families with young children as little fingers getting too close may well lead to disaster.


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Playmobil Christmas Bakery

Playmobil Christmas Bakery
Suggested By: Will James
Mfg: Playmobil
Price: 49.99
Purchase: Playmobil Christmas Bakery

Playmobil’s Christmas Bakery is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit with your kids, especially if they love Playmobil and baked goods. And honestly, how many of us, adult or kid, don’t enjoy a baked good? Check out our unboxing video too : https://youtu.be/Bavva_z-aPc


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Hanayama Delta and NEWS puzzles disassembled.

Hanayama Puzzles
Suggested By: Anton
Mfg: Hanayama
Price: $5-20
Purchase: Hanayama Puzzles

My son and I recently got hook on Chris Ramsay’s channel and as a result are now also hooked on puzzles. While we can’t afford, or even find, most of the ones he solves, he frequently featu
res some puzzles by Hanayama. These are quality built die-cast puzzles for a reasonable price. Some are super easy, others I’ve ye
t to solve. Pay attention to the level of each puzzle. 1 is super easy, and 6 is very difficult.

Disclaimer: Some items in this list may have been provided free to us for the purpose of review.

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