Story by Emily Williams-Robertshaw • Photos by Maury Wald
George Jones – Snoozy’s/george
Do you have any tips for shoppers who are navigating the 2021 holiday shopping season?
Number one tip, if you are remotely interested in buying an item (preferably from a local merchant) and you have it in your hand, buy it! The delay in the supply chain is real.
What is your favorite rising trend in toys?
Trends this year include fidget toys, blind packages (The customer knows what type of item they are buying; they will not know the color or personality of the piece.) and cool tech items. My favorite is the U-Bot. The U-Bot is a personal camera bot with 360 degrees rotation with smart face tracking. This device is brand new. Love it!
If you could be any toy, which would you be and why?
I think I would be a Gel-Blaster. The Gel-Blaster, $69.99, is a projectile that shoots biodegradable water “gellets” over 100 feet. Why? All ages from 9 and up have enjoyed this product that debuted earlier this year. It’s fun and with no adverse effects on the environment.
One of the coolest tech toys this year is the U-Bot, $69.99, which connects to your phone and accommodates hands-free filming, following you through the use of facial recognition.
Educational play is all the rage, and one of the most popular geographic toys is the Intelliglobe II Smart Globe, $169.99. With the stylus, simply travel the globe and click on a country or area to learn more about its population, capitals and other cool facts.
For kids who want to master a true instrument, Jones said they can’t get enough of their ukuleles, $59.99.
A returning favorite from last year’s top toy roundup is the Toniebox, $99.99, a storytelling device with a variety of characters available. Now through December, the purchase of a Toniebox comes with a free set of headphones and one character.
Jones has also stocked a selection of Smart LED Rainbow Lights, $49.99, that kids can use to decorate their rooms and customize.
Kids who can’t get enough of stuffed animals will love squeezing Squishmallows, $29.99, supersoft plush toys that come in a variety of characters and creatures.
Purse Pets, $39.99, aren’t just a purse, they come to life with big eyes that blink as they sing.
Jones also has found that gymnastics mats, $74.99, are popular this year with kids who love physical play, whether it’s jumping, flipping or rolling.
The Retevis Walkie Talkies, $29.99, are more than just fun tools, they also come in bright colors with built-in flashlights.
Playmobil is a standard at Snoozy’s, but this year, Jones has identified the Playmobil Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus, $49.99, as his favorite play car.
Stuffing stockings is a breeze for Jones, who stocks a wide variety of smaller items.
Tactile toys are still on the rise, according to Jones. It’s all about things you can pop, squish and click. A great tactile toy to stuff in your stocking is Dope Slime, $14.99, which is more marshmallow-y than slime-y and comes in fun flavors such as ice cream and star frost.
Another popular trend continuing this season are blind packages like SqueezyMates, $5.99. The collectible mini figures are squishy versions of your favorite NFL players.
The Drop rainbow bath light, $14.99, will liven up bath time. Just drop it in the tub, Jones said, and it will light up the water.
Those with an affinity for fashion will love Watchitude glow watches, $19.99, with silicone bands that come in a variety of colors and designs.
One of the most popular card games this year is Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza, $12.99. The game is a match between spoken word and a fast-paced card game.