Parents will soon be frantically pacing the aisle of toy shops in a bid to get their hands on a new Lego kit, a Furby or a robotic puppy, as predictions for this year's most sought-after Christmas toys have been released by the Toy Retailers Association (TRA).
Each year the TRA, which represents 50% of toy retailers, unveils its list of what it expects will be this year's top ten best-selling Christmas toys, with notable success. Last year it correctly predicted that tablets for children would sell like hot cakes and it named the Furby in its list - the Furby Hot & Cool was the best-selling toy in December 2012.
This year, the list is a somewhat predictable mix of old classics and toys that embrace the very latest technology, but nothing quite rivals the comedic inclusion in the 2011 top ten list of the Doggie Doo, a plastic dog that defecates tiny plasticine stools.
It contains some familiar names, including the Lego City Coast Guard set, a new type of Furby (the Furby Boom), a Nerf gun, and a Monopoly board game set. But in among the traditional toys are two tablet computers (the LeapPad Ultra and the InnoTab 3S), a fairy that spins through the air, and a glittery doctor playset.
The dream toys were unveiled at an exhibition in Marylebone, London, attended by toy manufacturers, retailers – and children. Many were dressed as a Minnie Mouse cheerleader character (embracing one of Mattel's new range of toys), while others were striking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle poses.
Gary Grant, chairman of the Dream Toys committee, said: "Christmas 2013 is set to be a strong year for toys and this is a great Dream Toys list that reflects not only the need for toys to appeal to all budgets and tastes, but also how tech is continuing to increase its influence within toys, from pads and robotic dogs to flying fairies and fish."
Research by NPD Group indicates that children's tablets will become an £80 million market by the end of 2013, with close to one million children's tablets sold in the UK by the end of the year.
But Frederique Tutt, global toy industry analyst with the NPD Group, says this comes against a backdrop of dwindling toy sales: "This is good news for the toy industry as 2013 has seen a soft performance so far, due in large part to the combination of post-Olympics sales declines, poor outdoor toy sales following spring's bad weather and the absence of a summer movie blockbuster. [But] we are confident Christmas 2013 should end the year on a positive note."
That said, the British toy market is worth £3 billion, with around 435 million toys sold each year - Christmas accounting for £1 billion of the total.
This year's Dream Toys list will set some parents back a small fortune, with the LeapPad Ultra alone retailing at £119.99. However, the TRA has this year expanded its list to detail the top 50 most-wanted - 80% of which are toys priced at £25 or under.
"This category clearly illustrates the inclusiveness of the Dream Toys list, and its relevance to parents and families up and down the country," said Grant.
Moreover, the expanded list contains the Silly Moo (£24.99) a cow that either excretes a cowpat or some milk when you pull it's udder - something to rival the Doggie Doo after all.
Here's the 2013 Christmas Dream Toys top 10 list in full:
LEGO's City Coast Guard (£59.99)
Doc McStuffins Doctor's Bag (£19.99)
Flying Fairy (£34.99)
Furby Boom! (£59.99)
InnoTab 3S (£99.99)
LeapPad Ultra (£119.99)
Monopoly Empire (£19.99)
Monster High 13 Wishes Doll (£22.99)
Nerf N-Strike Elite RapidStrike CS-18 (£39.99)
Robo Fishbowl (£14.99) / Teksta Robotic Puppy (£59.99)