If you're already panicking about the latest hi-tech toy for your child's Christmas stocking, then worry no more. This year, with the credit crunch hitting seasonal sales, it is the traditional big-name brands that are reaping the rewards as parents return to the simpler and less expensive children's toys.
Top toy searches:
According to the Toy Retailers' Association, Lego, Monopoly, Sylvianian Families and the obligatory talking, moving fluffy animals are expected to be Christmas hits... and most cost £40 or less.
Every year the biggest retailers choose 72 popular products which are then whittled down to the 12 "Dream Toys" that are expected to be under every tree. And this year the average price of those 72 has fallen from £40.63 to £22.89. Many retailers are already cutting prices. Asda is selling more than 100 toys at half price, while Sainsbury's has knocked 50 per cent off their toy range – that amounts to a reduction of £12 million.
Marco Ilincic, head of Lego UK, told the Telegraph: "The majority of toys that have been chosen this year don't involve technology. They are simpler, more traditional toys and that has brought down the price."
And with parents searching for the trusted brands, many have updated some of their old classics. Lego has created a game that allows children to build their own 3D boards and characters, for a board game they'll never get bored of, while family favourite Monopoly have incorporated sky scrapers, property auctions and planning permission into their new 'City' version of the game.
Nick Austin, president of the Toy and Hobby Association which represents manufacturers, said: "Consumers will continue to spend money on toys this Christmas, but they want value. There are still elaborate, hi-tech toys for those that can afford them, but the public has gone back to tried and tested brands that they know kids will like and won't abandon by the end of Boxing Day."
Are you down with the kids? If you have some great ideas for reasonably priced toys for Christmas, share them here by leaving a comment and help make other parents' lives, if not quieter, as least a little easier this year.