Predicting the 20 Hottest Toys of the 2018 Holiday Season

iStock/gpointstudio
iStock/gpointstudio

It's hard to believe that November is over and we are back in full swing of the holiday season. For weeks, retailers like Amazon, Target, Walmart, and eBay have been preparing shoppers by offering their prediction on which toys will be this year's hottest sellers. While each list is a little different, there are dozens of items they all seem to agree on—some of which seem like a blast from the past.

One of the bigger names on the toy market this year looks to be the L.O.L. Surprise! Bigger Surprise. Who knows what lies inside? All you know for sure is the bang for your buck: 60+ surprises in one box.

The newly revamped Teddy Ruxpin is ready for his big comeback this holiday season as well. The old bear is back with new tricks, like animatronic talking, color LCD eyes, and an accompanying app as well so kids can read and sing along with his songs and stories.

Another interesting find is the Harry Potter Coding Kit by KANO. After connecting to the toy’s app on your tablet, you build your wand and learn to code with intuitive and informative challenges. Wave your wand and watch what happens as you learn the magic (and basics) of coding.

There are some classics predicted as well, like various LEGO builds and the updated Barbie DreamHouse. There’s also a new Elmo and Fingerlings. Here are 25 toys that are sure to be on your kid's gift list—better grab 'em while you can.

1. L.O.L. Surprise! Bigger Surprise

2. Teddy Ruxpin

3. Harry Potter KANO Coding Kit

4. Fingerlings Hugs
5. Hatchimals Hatchibabies

6. L.O.L. Surprise! Under Wraps

7. FurREAL Critters

8. Boxy Girls

9. Hairdorables
10. Harry Potter Great Hall LEGO Kit
11. Barbie DreamHouse
12. Sesame Street PlaySkool Friends Let's Dance Elmo
13. Power Action Pikachu
14. Air Hogs Supernova
15. Ryan's World Giant Mystery Egg
16. Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash Track Set
17. Imaginext Jurassic World Rex
18. Paw Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck
19. 4M Crystal Growing Experimental Kit
20. KumiKreator Friendship Bracelet Maker

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we're only happy if you're happy.

6 Facts About International Women's Day

iStock.com/robeo
iStock.com/robeo

For more than 100 years, March 8th has marked what has come to be known as International Women's Day in countries around the world. While its purpose differs from place to place—in some countries it’s a day of protest, in others it’s a way to celebrate the accomplishments of women and promote gender equality—the holiday is more than just a simple hashtag. Ahead of this year’s celebration, let’s take a moment to explore the day’s origins and traditions.

1. International Women's Day originated more than 100 years ago.

On February 28, 1909, the now-dissolved Socialist Party of America organized the first National Woman’s Day, which took place on the last Sunday in February. In 1910, Clara Zetkin—the leader of Germany’s 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party—proposed the idea of a global International Women’s Day, so that people around the world could celebrate at the same time. On March 19, 1911, the first International Women’s Day was held; more than 1 million people in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark took part.

2. The celebration got women the vote in Russia.

In 1917, women in Russia honored the day by beginning a strike for “bread and peace” as a way to protest World War I and advocate for gender parity. Czar Nicholas II, the country’s leader at the time, was not impressed and instructed General Khabalov of the Petrograd Military District to put an end to the protests—and to shoot any woman who refused to stand down. But the women wouldn't be intimidated and continued their protests, which led the Czar to abdicate just days later. The provisional government then granted women in Russia the right to vote.

3. The United Nations officially adopted International Women's Day in 1975.

In 1975, the United Nations—which had dubbed the year International Women’s Year—celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th for the first time. Since then, the UN has become the primary sponsor of the annual event and has encouraged even more countries around the world to embrace the holiday and its goal of celebrating “acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

4. International Women's Day is an official holiday in dozens of countries.

International Women’s Day is a day of celebration around the world, and an official holiday in dozens of countries. Afghanistan, Cuba, Vietnam, Uganda, Mongolia, Georgia, Laos, Cambodia, Armenia, Belarus, Montenegro, Russia, and Ukraine are just some of the places where March 8th is recognized as an official holiday.

5. It’s a combined celebration with Mother’s Day in several places.

In the same way that Mother’s Day doubles as a sort of women’s appreciation day, the two holidays are combined in some countries, including Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan. On this day, children present their mothers and grandmothers with small gifts and tokens of love and appreciation.

6. Each year's festivities have an official theme.

In 1996, the UN created a theme for that year’s International Women’s Day: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future. In 1997, it was “Women at the Peace Table,” then “Women and Human Rights” in 1998. They’ve continued this themed tradition in the years since; for 2019, it's “Better the balance, better the world” or #BalanceforBetter.

Presidents Day vs. President's Day vs. Presidents' Day: Which One Is It?

iStock
iStock

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" implies that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

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