Believe it or not, Christmas season is already lurking in the distance, which means that kids everywhere are already scribbling lists of Christmas toys for Santa to bring them.
As always, the upcoming holiday season will mean big spending — bad news for consumers, but good news for the companies making the toys and the retailers hoping to empty their shelves. Make no mistake, a lot of products fly off the shelves once parents go shopping for Christmas toys, but there are a few every year that end up being bigger sellers than the others.
We’re talking about the hottest Christmas toys for 2014.
Take a look at the games, playsets and other toys that are expected to be the biggest sellers in the upcoming holiday season.
Lego Minecraft Sets
The video game Minecraft has become an undisputed mega-hit. So when the game paired with reigning building-block champions Lego, the place among hottest Christmas toys was practically guaranteed.
The Minecraft video game has a variety of game modes, the most popular of which is a creative mode that allows players to build just about anything they can imagine. So the jump to real-world Lego Minecraft blocks was an easy sell.
There are a variety of Lego Minecraft sets out there, including The Village and The End, each of which contains hundreds of pieces to keep kids busy building for hours. Each set runs in the range of $30 to $35.
Transformers Stomp and Chomp Grimlock
Does your kid love playing with dinosaurs? How about robots? Well, here’s your chance to win Parent of the Decade with Transformers Stomp and Chomp Grimlock.
That’s right, we’re talking about a dinosaur robot transformer that comes with a little Optimus Prime to ride along. Sure, the MSRP is lofty at $80, which sounds ridiculously expensive for an oversized action figure. But can you really put a price on your child’s happiness?
The Transformers Stomp and Chomp Grimlock is an easy bet for this year’s hottest Christmas toys. What else would you expect from a gigantic dinosaur robot?
Frozen Sparkle Elsa and Anna Dolls
One of the best movies of last year — and the most popular — was Disney’s Frozen. The story about princesses Anna and Elsa warmed the hearts of audiences and set fire to Disney’s merchandising.
Just look at the Frozen Sparkle Elsa and Anna dolls as proof of how popular these characters are. A full year after the movie’s release, they’re still expected to be some of the top-selling Christmas toys, with Elsa and Anna ranking #3 and #9 on Amazon’s list of most-wished-for toys.
Depending on where you find it, you can get the Disney Frozen Sparkle Elsa and Anna Dolls for roughly $15.
Frozen Complete Story Playset
Sitting between the Frozen Sparkle Elsa and Anna dolls on Amazon’s list is the Disney Frozen Complete Story Playset, which includes both princesses, Prince Hans, Kristoff, the reindeer Sven and — perhaps most important — Olaf the snowman.
Basically, the set includes all the major characters from the movie, so your kids can re-enact all their favorite moments, or play out the movie as they wanted it to happen. (More Olaf!)
The Disney Frozen Complete Story Playset is certain to be one of the most popular Christmas toys, and it sells for $25.
Monster High Dolls
The Monster High dolls remain a popular choice for Christmas toys, especially with the release of new “Freaky Fusion” dolls earlier this year.
For anyone unfamiliar with the line of toys, Monster High dolls feature the children of famous monsters like Dracula and Medusa. There’s also whole series of videos and video games that follow the characters’ adventures at Monster High. The children-of-famous-fictional-characters theme has been such a hit, Mattel started another, less monstrous version of it with Ever After High.
For anyone whose kids complain that their dolls don’t have enough in common with classic horror monsters, the Freaky Fusion Monster High dolls sell for $20-$25.
Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes
As if Frozen wasn’t enough of a hit for Disney, the company has also found huge success with Marvel superheroes.
And now, anyone can play as some of their favorite superheroes, thanks to the Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes video game, which includes characters like Spider-Man, Thor, Black Widow, and even Gamora and Star-Lord from this summer’s smash hit, Guardian of the Galaxy. Disney Infinity 2.0 is sure to be one of the hottest Christmas toys of 2014.
In Disney Infinity 2.0, players get to take their favorite characters and play through various missions and stories — or create their own worlds and games in the toybox mode. The Marvel Superheroes edition is a sequel to the original Disney Infinity, which features characters from Disney’s animated and live-action films.
Disney Infinity 2.0 is available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Wii U. The starter pack, which includes the game and three playable characters, sells for $75.
Nintendo Wii U
The Nintendo Wii U might be older than its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One competitors, but the video game console is likely to make a comeback as one of the best Christmas toys, thanks to a handful of great games released this year.
Nintendo’s core Super Mario series came to Wii U with Super Mario 3D World, featuring new suits and abilities for players to use on their quest to defeat Bowser. The best-selling Mario Kart franchise returned in May, with Mario Kart 8, which lets players race across all kinds of crazy courses, including upside-down! And Nintendo fans got their first taste of The Legend of Zelda on the Wii U with September’s release of Hyrule Warriors, in which players can fight as Link, Zelda and many other series favorites as they fight to save Hyrule.
Perhaps best of all, the much-anticipated Super Smash Bros. will be released on Nov. 21, giving players a chance to slug it out as many of their favorite Nintendo characters, as well as other classics like Sonic the Hedgehog.
Most Wii U consoles sell for $300, though some come bundled with games at a slightly higher price.
Doc McStuffins Mobile Clinic
Sometimes, even toys get sick. At least, that’s the idea behind the TV Show Doc McStuffins, which follows a young child as she talks to broken toys and helps them fix their problems. And thanks to the Doc McStuffins Mobile Clinic, your kid can be the one to save the day.
The Doc McStuffins Mobile Clinic has everything that toy doctors need to keep their toys healthy:
“Future doctors can use the light & sound EKG, horoscope and thermometer to give on-site checkups and fix boo boos with the bandage sticker dispenser.”
This is sure to be one of the hottest Christmas toys for 2014, which means it’s also difficult to find and pretty expensive. The Doc McStuffins Mobile Clinic sells for $49.99 … if you can find it in stores.
Never underestimate a classic.
Despite not having the high-tech power of a Wii U or the novelty of Frozen toys, the classic game of Jenga might be one of the most popular Christmas toys of 2014. Despite being around in the U.S. for almost 30 years, Jenga remains very popular — landing in the top 40 most wished-for toys on Amazon.
What explains the lasting appeal? Maybe it’s the simplicity of the rules. Perhaps it’s the tense excitement of pulling out each block. Or, just maybe, it’s the simple joy of watching a good ol’ fashioned tower topple.
Adam Benjamin is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.