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The Hardest-to-Get Holiday Toys of 2021 — and Awesome Alternatives, Too!

The supply chain shortages are real, but they don’t have to dash anyone’s holiday dreams.

Nicole Kear · 2 months ago


Holiday cheer and shipping delays go together like ... absolutely nothing. They don’t go together at all. They should never be found in the same sentence. And yet, thanks to the global shipping problems and labor shortages Covid has caused, some of the most sought-after toys are, regrettably, going to be hard to get this year.

But do not despair! The elves are busy working overtime, crafting amazing alternatives to the most in-demand toys, so that your kids will have all their holiday dreams realized — without you losing your marbles in the process. 

Hot Holiday Toy #1: The Magic Mixies Cauldron

magic mixies front packaging

The velocity with which this “It” toy is flying off the shelves will have you believing in magic for real. This cauldron offers a nuts-to-bolts magic experience: kids sprinkle potion ingredients, recite a spell, watch the cauldron mist and then — the big reveal! — an adorable pet emerges. With refill packs, kids can repeat the misting marvelousness over and over again. But it might be easier to pull a literal rabbit out of your hat than find this toy on a shelf. 

If You Can't Find It: Reversible Sequin Unicorn Pillow

Like the creature that emerges from the Mixies cauldron, this  unicorn-shaped sequin pillow just begs to be petted, and its flippy, color-changing properties are nothing if not magical. The shimmery cuteness is sure to keep your little one enraptured until that cauldron gets restocked. And if you feel so inclined, you can always attach a cauldron IOU to the unicorn’s sparkly horn.

Hot Holiday Toy #2: Paw Patrol Adventure Tower

At an impressive three feet in height, this tower, pulled straight from the movie, is a no-brainer for those passionate Paw Patrol PhDs (ok, stopping now). There’s a vehicle lift! And a pup elevator! And a command center! And a rescue ramp that lights up and transforms! Plus, the tower comes with Chase and five of his fellow pups, as well as a cruiser and a clip-on backpack. But if you want to get your hands on this in-demand toy. you’ll need to be the one with speed-racing abilities.

If You Can't Find It: Paw Patrol Mighty Lookout Tower

At only half a foot shorter than the adventure tower, the Mighty Lookout Tower packs all the same Paw Patrol punch. With the press of a button, kids can delight in each character’s catchphrase, and there is no end to the interactive sounds and lights. The piece de resistance is a vehicle launcher that will send cars (and hearts) a-racing. 

Hot Holiday Toy #3: Snacking Grogu


Yoda = adorableness. Baby Yoda = adorableness in overdrive. Your very own Baby Yoda who you can feed snacks to = must-have toy of the holiday season. It’s no surprise stores can’t keep this animatronic Grogu doll in stock. Not only does it make yummy / yucky / lip-smacking noises depending on what you feed it, it raises its hands to tell you it wants to be picked up and even does a signature “channeling-the-force” move if you pet its head just so. 

If You Can't Find It: Star Wars The Child Talking Plush

This Baby Yoda may not gobble food with all the sound effects, but it has a posable head, ears and mouth, makes cute noises that may or may not contain the secrets of the galaxy, and comes with Grogu’s favorite snack, a helpless blue space amphibian.

Hot Holiday Toy #4: LOL Surprise Magic Movie Studio


If your kid is looking for a LOL Surprise bonanza, this is pretty much it. The Magic Movie Studio comes with twelve original girls, plus a fleet of fashion dolls, l’il sisses, baby pets and absolutely all the movie accoutrements. Kids will probably still be unboxing these bbs come New Years — if you can nab a set to begin with. 

If You Can't Find It: LOL Surprise OMG Plane Remix

It might be slightly less epic in scope than the Magic Movie Studio but the Plene Remix has just as high a glamour quotient and all the same three-letter acronyms. Your kid will indulge their most fabulous jet-setter fantasies, which are bound to include a secret on-flight recording studio, sleep masks and over fifty surprises. OMG indeed.  

Hot Holiday Toy #5: Rainbow High Color Changing Car

Question: what’s the coolest color for a car? Answer: all of them! For the doll that doesn’t want to have to choose, a convertible that actually changes color. This Rainbow High ride is as fashionable as the dolls that roll in it, with a plain white exterior and a button on the hood that allows kids to choose from eight LED colors.

If You Can't Find It: Rainbow High Doll: Sunny Madison

If what’s underneath the holiday wrapping paper is a Rainbow High doll, it is impossible to be disappointed. Sunny Madison, golden from her space buns to her platform heels, packs a whole lot of fabulous into one doll. If your kiddo’s got their heart set on the convertible, the gift can come with a card that promises Sunny a car for her very next birthday. 

Hot Holiday Toy #6: Nintendo Switch


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Nintendo Switch was easy to come by. It was an item you could buy, like socks and pancake syrup. Then Covid struck, and Switches were as scarce as toilet paper, only to be followed by the great microchip shortage, which has caused the company to announce they’ll be cutting production by twenty percent for the rest of the year. It’s not impossible to get your hands on a Switch, but a betting man probably wouldn’t put money on it.

If You Can’t Find It: 3Doodler Pen

Video games are uber-cool, not gonna lie, but they aren’t the only gift that’ll blow the minds of tech-loving kids. Consider the possibilities of a 3D printing pen that kids can use to actually make stuff — from jewelry to models to art. Budding engineers will be busy for weeks!

Hot Holiday Toy #7: Tonka Steel Classics: Mighty Dump Truck


You just don’t get more classic than a Tonka truck. Since 1947, the company’s been providing nonstop entertainment to kids via this iconic steel yellow truck. The appeal is simple but inarguable: fill it! Dump it! Fill it some more! After all, sixty years of kids can’t be wrong. 

If You Can't Find It: Green Toys Recycling Truck

When does a bunch of old, used-up milk containers make for an amazing holiday gift? When they’re recycled into a sturdy, sustainable and seriously good-looking truck, naturally. Green Toys’ earth-protecting mission has made the company an award-winner, but it’s the easy-to-play-with toys that hook kids. 

Hot Holiday Toy #8: Purse Pet


It’s a purse! No, it’s a pet! No, it’s a purse pet! Whoever said you can’t have it all never encountered this toy/fashion accessory. When you pet her, she blinks her huge pop art eyes — and that’s the tip of the interactive iceberg. Plus, unlike any other pet — real or plush — she’ll store stuff for you. 

If You Can't Find It: Bari Lynn Unicorn Clutch

Designed by celebrity designer Bari Lynn, who creates accessories for Neiman Marcus among other places, this hard acrylic clutch lacks the sound effects and blinking eyes, but it more than makes up for those with style. As the purse announces in pearlescent letters, this clutch (like the kid who carries it) is 100% UNIQUE.