“Dance Star Mickey” better not bust a move in my house

Does anybody really base their purchasing decisions on retailers’ so-called “hot lists”? I’m asking because now that there are only 72 shopping days left until Christmas, my inbox at work is fast filling up with suggested gift lists from national names.

The one from Toys R Us this morning stood out, partly because we do not have a Toys R Us in Missoula and partly because one of the “hottest” gifts on its kids gift list is a Pillow Pet – and my daughter just got one of these for her birthday, courtesy of my grandparents. The one that looks like a bee. She loves it. Sleeps with it every night.

Browsing through the list, however, I see a lot more stuff my kiddo can do without. Stuff I don’t even recognize. What in the world are Zoobles? Sing-a-ma-jigs? Squinkies? Am I officially an old fuddy-duddy already or do these toy names sound like they came from somebody 12 months old?

Even the toys I do recognize – such as Dance Star Mickey, whom I remember making a fool of himself gettin’ jiggy with Donny Osmond at his big unveiling earlier this year – look horribly annoying. Dance Star Mickey, in fact, bears too close a resemblance to Tickle Me Elmo, once considered the hottest of hot gifts, who has lived in the back of one of our closets for several years now. He, too, was a gift from a grandparent – but he terrified the bejeezus out of Willow, and after the first 20 minutes or so, her terror ceased to amuse us. So into the closet he went.

Funny thing is, I know that whatever gift we end up getting for our daughter, even at the ripe old age of 6, she will still show a marked preference for the box it came in.

– MM

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What’s in a name?

I know this ran a couple of weeks ago, but I still wonder if “most popular name” lists have any impact. Would knowing that Ethan was the most popular name for boys in Montana influence your decision to name your baby Ethan? Or, for girls, Madison?

You would think that Montana place names would be more popular in Montana. I’ve met a couple of Libbys and Conrads, but I can’t say for sure they were named for those towns in Montana. On the other hand, places like Butte and Beaverhead don’t really lend themselves to baby names, do they?

– Tyler Christensen