Holidays' Hottest Toys

Everything old is new again. While we hear that phrase at times when fashion seems to merely be recycling itself, it can also be applied to toys. Toy Wishes magazine's annual list of the toys it predicts will be the hottest for the upcoming holiday season was just released, and it reveals several old favorites. Typically, the magazine names 12 toys to its coveted "Hot Dozen" list, but this year, it was unable to pare it below 13.

For the largest toy makers, Hasbro (NYSE: HAS  ) and Mattel (NYSE: MAT  ) , each hoping for a blockbuster holiday season, inclusion on the list brings a sigh of relief and expectations for strong sellers. Several products from both companies got the magazine's stamp of approval. Now, hopefully, kids will agree, leaving their parents to frantically hunt down what should turn out to be some very-hard-to-find toys.

For Hasbro, which was David Gardner's May 2003 pick for Motley Fool Stock Advisor, the throwback My Little Pony franchise has been a winner, and should continue to be so. My Little Pony Celebration Castle made the hot-toy list. Delving into 1980s toy fun again, Hasbro's BTR Transformers also should be a hot item. Hasbro's newfangled Beyblade remote control top with launcher looks futuristic alongside the other Reagan-era offerings.

Mattel is banking on Barbie, again. The curvaceous doll to have this time around will be another Swan Lake Barbie, all prettied up as Odette in the famous ballet.

And then there's Elmo. Last year, Mattel graced us with Chicken Dance Elmo. This year, he's doing the Hokey Pokey. I'm still waiting for Computer Tech Elmo, or Sweep the Floors Elmo. You know, let the little red furry guy do something useful.

Mattel's Powertouch Learning System, an interactive computer that helps children learn to read, also made the list. The similar LeapPad Plus Writing Learning System by LeapFrog (NYSE: LF  ) did, too. (They're so similar, in fact, that LeapFrog is suing Mattel over patent infringement. How's that for holiday cheer?)

Other must-have items are Barbie Cook With Me kitchen, Care Bears Bedtime Lullaby Bear (another 1980s revival), Bratz Formal Funk Runway Disco, McDonald's McFlurry Maker, Neopets, and the Leapster educational game system.

Parents, take note. Save yourself some headaches several months from now when your local Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) , Target (NYSE: TGT  ) , or Toys "R" Us (NYSE: TOY  ) can't keep an Elmo or BTR Transformer in stock.

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