Holiday Toy Fads: Ever Gotten Sucked In?

Every parent eventually gets caught up in one of the latest holiday toy fads. Whether Zhu Zhu Pets, Tickle Me Elmo, or something else, we've all been there.

I’m so ashamed. I have officially become *that* parent. The kind of parent I used to laugh at and deride as a shmoe. I’m a Tickle Me Elmo mom!

Except it’s not Tickle Me Elmo. It’s those &%#@ed Zhu Zhu Pets!

Have you heard of them? They’re these little animatronic hamsters that run through a maze of little tubes, ride in mini-cars and basically act like glorified wind-up toys. For some reason they are THE HOT THING for Christmas this year.

And I just let my mother spend $50 on Amazon for one.

$50 – for a toy that normally would retail for $10. This after I realized people were lining up outside of Toys R Us and Target every morning hoping to snag one of the little buggers. I even drove to one of the stores the other morning, hoping to get lucky. I did not, however, wait in line, and for this I am proud.

In my defense, I wouldn’t normally go all gaga over the latest “must have” holiday toy fads. I still feel the same way I did when parents were climbing all over each other for Tickle Me Elmo. But here’s what happened.

My daughter saw commercials for these things over the summer and wanted one, so I told her I’d treat her if she did a good job her first week of kindergarten. She was so excited when we went to the store, only to find that nobody carried Zhu Zhu Pets. No problem, I thought, I’ll go online and order. Which I did. From Target. AND THE STUPID THINGS STILL HAVE NOT ARRIVED! (I just checked my order, and it says they haven’t shipped yet, but the estimated arrival date is November 18. OK…)

So, for the past three months, every time the UPS guy comes (or simply drives by our house), my daughter gets insanely happy. “My Zhu Zhu Pets are here! My Zhu Zhu Pets are here!”

Only no, it’s not the Zhu Zhu Pets, it’s a CPA study book for Daddy or clothes for her little sister. The other day, when the Zhu Zhu Pets commercial came on TV, she started crying. And normally that wouldn’t phase me, but I’d offered them to her as a treat for starting school and the child doesn’t understand the whole “people are knifing each other to get these things and apparently Target is lining its shelves with any they can get instead of fulfilling their online orders first, so sorry, Sweetie, that’s the law of supply and demand, and Mama will camp out to get you into a good school but she’s not going to camp out for a stupid wind-up hampster” thing.

I finally called my mom to see if she could keep her eye out for Zhu Zhu Pets in Manhattan, Kansas, because maybe people there are not as crazy as people here in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, though, Zhu Zhu mania has hit the entire freaking Midwest because Mom couldn’t find one in the Little Apple. Finally, she decided to just order a hamster at Amazon.

For $50.

So help me, God, my daughter better love and cherish and sleep with that thing until it falls apart. Because I know by February the stores won’t be able to give them away. Meanwhile, I feel like Veruca Salt’s dad from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Not because my daughter has behaved like a spoiled brat, but because I’m so ashamed of what I’ve become.

What about you, WMAGs? Have there ever been holiday toy fads for which you were willing to sacrifice your dignity?

(Oh, and Target, WTH?!?! You can send shipments of Zhu Zhu Pets to your stores for all of the people who are willing to line up for them, but you can’t fulfill an online order that was placed BACK IN AUGUST? I haven’t canceled that order, btw. If one of your little elves happens to read this, perhaps they can check and see what’s taking so freaking long, kthxbai.)

Every parent eventually gets caught up in one of the latest holiday toy fads. Whether Zhu Zhu Pets, Tickle Me Elmo, or something else, we've all been there.

10 thoughts on “Holiday Toy Fads: Ever Gotten Sucked In?

  1. How funny – I haven't and I don't think my kids have heard of Zhou Zhou pets. Good thing, because it sounds like they're a headache to get a hold of. That is terrible!

    I did however cave and get my son an expensive Star Wars clone tank that he wants for Christmas. The original price was $99.99. So I thought "no way am i buying this for him." But then it went on sale at Toys R Us for 79.99 and I had a 20% off coupon, so I went into one-of-those-kind-of-parents mode. Of course when I got to the store, they were out. So I waited a few days and went back up, and found one. I felt like I won a prize, I was so happy with myself. Then it sunk in that I paid $63 for some plastic truck that will probably break or lose a piece in a week.

    Ugh. The things you do for those little suckers!

  2. Oh, crap! Jonah just came over and saw the Zhou picture on my monitor and said "Oh, I like those things!"

    I guess he does know what they are. 🙂

  3. Funny, Sara. I heard John Materese talking about those on Q102 one morning on the way to work. I was all "Wow, that is what Sara was talking about Margaret wanting way back when… she's so ahead of the curve." I thought she/you already had one/some! If I knew you were still searching, I would've listened closer to the segment. Darn!

    Luckily we haven't hit that age just yet, but I know it's probably just a matter of time…

  4. Grateful Twin Mom says:

    Cutest toy ever. I would love to get this for my twins, but OMG, I can't get over the price of that stuff. And I know they'd want the ball and the car and garage and all of it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the honest perspective, but it's also a valuable opportunity to teach our kids that we can't have everything we want in life.

  6. Grateful Twin Mom, they aren't that expensive when people aren't clamoring to get them.

    And anon, thanks for the bon mot, but please don't assume my children haven't learned that lesson. Remember, I told her she could have the toy as a treat after completing her first week of school. Yes, I got carried away trying to make good on that promise, but I certainly don't rush out to buy her every little thing she desires.

  7. Robyn -Who's the Boss? says:

    Reminds me of the Cabbage Patch craze when we were kids. My dad and older brother ran in a crazed mob to get one at ToysRUs one year. Ah, the things we do for our children.

    BTW… I'd much rather have a Zhou Zhou pets obsessed kid than a Bakugan obsessed kid. Those toys are lame, and yet I still find myself picking a couple up since he asked Santa for them.

  8. Liz@thisfullhouse says:

    Every year it's something, right?


    I may just break down and get them the "real" guinea pig, they've been begging for.

    [one beat, two beats]

    Nah…think your mom would get my kids one?



  9. My 8 year old daughter wants one for Christmas too, and we've already talked her out of the Nintendo DS, so I guess we'll be ordering it from Amazon since it seems unfortunate to talk her out of everything she wants!

    I remember the Cabbage Patch Kids craze from when I was a little girl. I had seen them during the summer and mentioned that I wanted one for Christmas, but told my mom never mind when I saw on the news that people were actually getting hurt trying to get those toys. But my clever mother had purchased it before the holiday rush. Man I wish I was more like her!

  10. Oh dear, what can you do when your child is literally crying over it??? My 3 year old BOY is insisting on a PINK camper he saw in the Target ads. Not sure what to do about that one yet, but he brings it up ALL THE TIME.

    Moms…what we won't do for our kids.

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