Popular presents this Christmas

By Katie Holland, Teuila Fuatai

There's just 17 more days to go until Christmas but that's still plenty of time to buy the in fashion presents this year. Teuila Fuatai and Katie Holland find out what we should be spending our money on.

Angry Bird merchandise and Avengers costumes are set to be hits with Rotorua children this Christmas.

"Anything with Angry Birds is always popular - clothing, cars, T-shirts,'' Kids Warehouse owner Shifa Shifa Harunani said.

Squishy Orbeez toys, which come in different shapes, grow when watered and light up, should also be big this season, Mrs Harunani said.

"All the kids talk about them.''

The Christmas rush was yet to hit her Eruera St store, but she hoped this would change soon.

Martin's Toyworld owner Derek Hintz said the most popular toy this year had been the LeapPad 2, the kids' version of an iPad.

However it's too late to get one - they are now sold out until late January, said Mr Hintz.

He said Trashies, miniature collectible figures, were also in demand along with the vehicles and accessories that went with them.

"Then it's just dolls, dolls and more dolls . . . dolls' cots, prams etc. They never ever fade, every year they're popular.''

Mr Hintz said there weren't many new toys on the shelves this Christmas.


At Outdoorsman Headquarters on Tarawera Rd clothing has been flying off the shelves so far this Christmas.

Staff member Julie Stanley said merino wool clothes in particular had been popular.

She said last year it had been all about vouchers, but this year people were buying shirts, walking trousers and clothes for the beach.

Fishermen will also be pleased to know the store had also sold "quite a few'' fishing rods.

Ms Stanley said the store was "just cranking along'' and was expecting a busy build up to Christmas.

In the past 45 days, Rotorua and Bay of Plenty online toy buyers have favoured new radio control vehicles and metal toys, according to Trade Me statistics.

Wooden toys are the slowest selling toys for Bay of Plenty Trade Me users.

Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford said more than one million new items were  listed for sale at the end of last month.

New trampoline purchases have clocked up the highest sales value figures in the past 45 days.

Lego and building toys were the website's most popular new-toy purchases, followed by radio-control vehicles and ride-on toys.

South Islanders had been more generous with their Christmas purchases, spending slightly more on average than their North Island counterparts.

Top picks for book-lovers this season include Richie McCaw and Valerie Adams' biographies, according to Whitcoulls marketing manager Maggie Butler.

JK Rowling's first adult novel The Casual Vacancy and Dr Libby's Real Food Cook Book were also selling well, she said.

Whitcoulls' picks for children include storybook Read Me Another One Please, which features stories and poems from various local authors including Tessa Duder, Margaret Mahy and Joy Cowley.

Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid has also been popular.

Shoppers are also being asked to spare a thought for families unable to fill their own Christmas stockings.

Major Pam Waugh of the Salvation Army said Christmas was often a difficult time for many Kiwi families.

"There's lots of pressure for our families and a lot of them are coping with a huge amount of debt - prices, rent and power have gone up over the year.''

People keen to help could place a wrapped gift under any of the K-Mart wishing trees around the country, Major Waugh said.

"That's a wish for every child - a new toy, wrapped under the tree.''

Tear Fund communications manager Helen Manson said New Zealanders could also buy gifts for residents in poverty-stricken countries through the charity's Gift For Life scheme.

Purchasers would receive a Christmas card to send out to their loved one or friend, Mrs Mansen said.

"The card will tell them you have bought a gift on their behalf for someone overseas.

"Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the actual item will be given to the person who needs it more.''


- Rotorua Daily Post

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