Christmas 2017: 11 gifts your kids will ask Santa for this season

Published: Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 3:50 PM
Updated: Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 3:50 PM

Take a look at 11 of the must-have gifts for kids this holiday season Orbeez Magic Chef Set Cozmo Worry Eating Plush Pals Power Wheels Wild Thing Star Wars Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder Hatchimals Surprise Twin LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit WowWee Fingerlings Interactive Baby Monkey L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise My Geek Box Kids' Box Subscription Star Wars Furbacca

Some of the trendiest toys for 2017 might surprise you. As a parent, you might look at a few of these toys and wonder why they're such a big deal. 

Although the top gifts for kids this year might seem very different from the classic toys you grew up with, your children will shriek with glee finding a few of them underneath the tree on Christmas morning.

RELATED: The worlds most Instagrammed place for winter is a historic snow-capped wonderland

As you finish up your holiday shopping, take a look at 11 of the must-have gifts for kids this holiday season.

Orbeez Magic Chef Set(Courtesy of Maya Toys/For the AJC)

Orbeez Magic Chef Set

Why: With the Orbeez Magic Chef, your kids can create their own pretend culinary masterpieces using an innovative superfine crush compound that makes the food look extremely realistic. From sushi to ice cream, you'll have to be careful not to take a bite out of your child's creation.

Age: 5 and up

Cost: $29.99

Purchase at Maya Toys


Cozmo(Courtesy of Anki/For the AJC)

Why: One of the most complex robot companions on the market, Cozmo is more than just a supercomputer -- he's a playful sidekick that can recognize your face, play games, identify you by name and react to your movements.

Age: 8 and up

Cost: $149.99

Purchase at Amazon

Worry Eating Plush Pals

Worry Eating Plush Pals(Courtesy of Haywire Group/For the AJC)

Why: Give your children peace of mind this Christmas with a Worry Eating Plush Pal. This soft and cuddly doll has a special zippered compartment on its mouth where your little ones can feed all their worries and fears.

Age: 3 and up

Cost: $23

Purchase at Uncommon Goods

Power Wheels Wild Thing

Power Wheels Wild Thing(Courtesy of Fisher Price/For the AJC)

Why: Let's face it, even adults want to give this ride a go. Unfortunately for all you moms and dads out there, this one's strictly for kids ages 5-10. With dual joysticks, 360-degree spinning, multi-terrain tires and a max speed of 5 miles per hour, this ride-on toy will surely earn you a few brownie points.

Age: 5-10

Cost: $279.99

Purchase at Toys "R" Us

Star Wars Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder

    Star Wars Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder(Courtesy of Radio Flyer/For the AJC)

    Why: Give pint-sized Star Wars fans a gift to remember with a ride-on Landspeeder from Radio Flyer. This highly detailed and film-accurate vehicle has a top speed of 5 miles per hour, features real movie sounds and an interactive dashboard and seats two riders at a time.

    Age: 4 and up

    Cost: $299.99

    Purchase at Toys "R" Us

    Hatchimals Surprise Twin

    Hatchimals Surprise Twin(Courtesy of Spin Master/For the AJC)

    Why: After children tend and care for this magical egg, a special furry friend hatches out of it. In this case, it's twins. Once hatched, your kids can watch the connection between the twin Hatchimals as they share jokes, dance together and more.

    Age: 5 and up

    Cost: $69.99

    Purchase at Toys "R" Us

    LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit

    LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit(Courtesy of LEGO/For the AJC)

    Why: Encourage LEGO fanatics to take their hobby to a new level with this versatile and complex building system. With 874 pieces, your kids can construct five multi-functional robots that they control using coding blocks on a compatible device.

    Age: 7-12 years old

    Cost: $159.95

    Purchase at Amazon

    WowWee Fingerlings Interactive Baby Monkey

    WowWee Fingerlings Interactive Baby Monkey(Courtesy of WowWee/For the AJC)

    Why: Children absolutely love this little interactive monkey, which can respond to sounds, movement and touch. Not only will the Fingerlings Baby Monkey hang on to your child's finger, but can also hang upside down by its tail, responsively blow kisses, blink its eyes, babble and turn its head.

    Age: 5 and up

    Cost: $47.90

    Purchase at Amazon

    L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise

      L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise(Courtesy of MGA Entertainment/For the AJC)

      Why: Children love surprises, especially when they come in a large ball. Each L.O.L. Big Surprise contains one of 50 different limited-edition dolls and accessories inside, which can really add an element of excitement on Christmas day.

      Age: 6 and up

      Cost: $69.99

      Purchase at Target

      My Geek Box Kids' Box Subscription

      My Geek Box Kids' Box Subscription(Courtesy of The Hut Group/For the AJC)

      Why: Celebrate geekiness with a gift that keeps on giving. The My Geek Box Kids' Box Subscription delivers a monthly box containing a selection of thrilling and geeky gifts, including gear, toys, puzzles, plush and more.

      Age: 5 and up

      Cost: $22.99

      Purchase at My Geek Box

      Star Wars Furbacca

      Star Wars Furbacca(Courtesy of Hasbro/For the AJC)

      Why: Your children will love interacting with this Chewbacca-inspired Furby, which reacts to touch and motion and features a special Furbacca app and Star Wars Furby Furblings.

      Age: 6 and up

      Cost: $59.09

      Purchase at Amazon

      The AJC may receive a commission for purchases made through some links in this article.

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      New Year's baby born on freeway after South Carolina police chase

      Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 5:31 AM

      VIDEO: New Year's Baby Born on Freeway Following Police Chase

      A South Carolina father watched his baby girl’s birth while he was in handcuffs.

      >> Watch the news report here

      WCIV-TV reports Carl Alewine’s fiancee’s water broke early on New Year’s morning and he was racing down Interstate 26 near Charleston to get her to the hospital.

      >> On South Carolina woman slips out of handcuffs, hijacks cruiser, deputies say

      The car was traveling at more than 90 miles per hour when several law enforcement officers started chasing Alewine.

      He just kept going until officers eventually boxed him in and forced him to pull over.

      >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

      They had Alewine in handcuffs when his little girl, Anastasia, came out with one push.

      >> On New section in North Carolina DMV handbook explains what to do when pulled over

      "I'm sitting there, watching her born on the hood of the car, fireworks going off in the background, because it's 1 in the morning on New Year's and then they let me out of handcuffs and all the cops started clapping and congratulating us," Alewine recalled.

      >> Read more trending news 

      The baby was born healthy, even though the mother went through a high-risk pregnancy. 

      The family said they're thankful for the first responders' help. 

      Tiffany Trump rings in new year at Playboy party

      Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 1:35 AM

      Tiffany Ariana Trump is the 24-year-old daughter of Donald Trump and his second wife, Marla Maples. She was named after jewelry store Tiffany & Company, which is adjacent to Trump Tower. She is known for her active social life and Instagram with more than 946,000 followers. Tiffany spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention on its second night.

      After a week at Mar-a-Lago with her presidential family, Tiffany Trump headed to California to spend New Year’s Eve with a very different kind of group.

      >> Trump golfs, meets with Florida's governor before hosting gala event

      The first daughter was a guest at a Los Angeles bash hosted by heir to the Playboy throne Cooper Hefner. The 24-year-old was photographed speaking to Hefner and posing beside his fiancee, Scarlett Byrne, as well as other friends, multiple media outlets reported, including the Washington PostPage SixPeople and the Daily Mail.

      >> PHOTOS: Tiffany Trump through the years

      Tiffany Trump and Scarlett Byrne, @playboy #NYE2018

      A post shared by Candace Jordan (@candidcandace) on

      @playboy #NYE2018

      A post shared by Candace Jordan (@candidcandace) on

      Tiffany Trump has joined the @playboy party!

      A post shared by Candace Jordan (@candidcandace) on

      The event marked the first New Year’s Eve bash since magazine founder Hugh Hefner’s death on Sept. 27. He was 91 years old.

      The late Hefner reportedly had wanted Marla Maples — Tiffany’s mother and Donald Trump’s second wife — to pose in his controversial magazine just three years before Tiffany’s birth. However, the actress turned down the offer.

      >> Read more trending news 

      “I’m thankful for my body, but I didn’t want to exploit it,” she reportedly said. “How would I ever be taken seriously?”

      10 tips for sticking with your exercise plan in the new year

      Published: Tuesday, January 02, 2018 @ 8:34 AM

      Tips For Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

      It’s the New Year’s resolution that everyone has and virtually no one keeps: We want to get in shape.

      Here are 10 tips to help you keep on track:

      >> New Year's resolutions: 4 tips for avoiding gym membership scams

      1. Make a plan

      If you made your decision on New Year’s Eve, that’s only making a decision based on your emotional state that day. Make a plan for big and small goals and particular parts of your body you want to target to help keep you focused. A health professional can help with this.

      via GIPHY

      2. Be realistic

      While you might be adamant that you’ll never eat bread, meat or chocolate chip cookies again, making that one of your goals is setting yourself up to fail. Instead, go for what’s attainable: Instead of having your favorite food three days a week, you’ll only have it once. Start small and build.

      >> How to keep your New Year's resolutions this time

      3. Create a battle plan

      Despite all your best efforts, temptation will come knocking. Try to decide in advance how you will deal with wanting to skip that exercise class or have that piece of cake. This could include calling or texting a weight loss buddy, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your “bad” will affect your goal.

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      4. Talk about it openly

      Wanting to live a healthier life is something to be proud of, not ashamed of. Don’t treat your resolution like a dirty little secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve.

      With any luck, they’ll help you find a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and can help you stay motivated.

      >> Read more trending news 

      5. Document your feelings

      Why is getting in better shape a good idea? Write down all the reasons that are motivating you, from wanting to be able to walk up the stairs without losing your breath to wanting to look better on the beach. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.

      6. Keep track of your progress

      It sounds like this list has more writing down than working out, but it is important to keep track of your progress. Being able to see where you were and how far you’ve come is an important way to keep yourself motivated.

      For example, instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, focus on losing the first five. Keep a food journal to help you stay on track, and reward yourself for each five pounds lost.

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      7. Rewards are OK

      Rewards are a good thing. Don’t think that because you’re losing weight, you have to become an ascetic. Instead of going out to eat to celebrate a milestone, treat yourself to new fitness clothes or by going out to a movie.

      >> 9 inspiring New Year's resolution quotes to motivate you in 2018

      8. 21 days

      Exercising and working out won’t become good habits overnight. By Tuesday of the second week, all the newness will have worn off, and it’ll start getting harder to get up and get moving, especially if you’re exercising before work.

      Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. Get through that first three-week stretch, and you’ll be making real progress.

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      9. Give yourself a break

      It’s not the day missed at the gym or the indulgence in ice cream that’ll knock you off track – it’s the obsessing about it afterward.

      Negative thought patterns won’t help maintain your positive plan. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.

      10. Don’t give up

      Maybe you hit the Valentine’s Day wall – or even the Jan. 15 wall. But that’s not a reason to give up.

      Start with one meal, then one day. You can do anything for 24 hours. Once you start building on the 24-hour increments, before long you’ll be back in the groove.

      via GIPHY

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      5 epic New Year's Eve destinations that aren't New York 

      Published: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
      Updated: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 12:04 PM

      Here are 5 interesting facts about this celebratory drink!

      The thought has probably crossed your mind: someday I'll spend New Year's Eve at Times Square in New York City.

      You'll be part of that massive crowd as the whole country watches and counts down to the moment the crystal ball drops. With your friends or significant other, you'll toast the New Year with champagne and, just maybe, one of those TV cameras will take notice and your faces will flash across screens throughout the country.

      RELATED: 5 East Coast ski resorts for the snow novice

      It's a lovely dream, but the reality? New Year's Eve in the Big Apple means shelling out big bucks on hotels rooms, which need to be booked well in advance. On top of that, if you want any shot of being close to the center of Times Square when that giant crystal sphere falls, you'll have to stand for hours and hours in the cold ahead of the big moment.

      It will certainly be memorable and it's a worthwhile bucket list item. But if you didn't plan ahead, don't feel like making the effort or simply want a less mainstream New Year's Eve experience, there's a lot of other great cities to consider. 

      Here are our five suggestions, all of which are sure to help you bring in 2018 with lots of crazy memories:

      Chicago, IL(Pixabay/For the AJC)

      Chicago, Illinois

      The Windy City offers all the excitement and fun you need this New Year's eve. From exciting parties to unique concerts, you'll definitely find something up your alley. For those interested in an epic party, check out the gala at the Congress Plaza Hotel. Canadian electronic duo Adventure Club will also be headlining the Reaction New Year's Eve event at the Aragon Ballroom, for those wanting to party it up at an EDM bash. And if you're looking for the perfect way to mark the start of 2018,  swing by Navy Pier for the spectacular annual fireworks display. 

      Austin, TX(Flickr/Trey Perry/For the AJC)

      Austin, Texas

      Austin is one of those up-and-coming cities that everyone is talking about. So, why not check it out while welcoming 2018. You can bring in the New Year in roaring 20s style at Gatsby House, or party it up at Maggie Mae's Neon Party. For a more family friendly option, check out the city's event at Auditorium Shores. Fireworks go off at 10 p.m., so you can enjoy them with the kids and then go out for a night cap after tucking them in. 

      New Orleans, LA(WikiMedia/For the AJC)

      New Orleans, Louisiana

      It may not be Mardi Gras, but New Orleans promises to be lively as ever on New Year's Eve. Not to be outdone by the Big Apple, the city drops a fleur-de-lis at midnight in Jackson Square. Leading up to the big moment, you can enjoy live music and then ring in 2018 with a giant fireworks display. After midnight, swing by the bars of the city's famous French Quarter to welcome the new year with a toast.

      Orlando, Florida

      Where better to welcome the New Year than at the most magical place on Earth? Disney World's Magic Kingdom will never disappoint and offers fun for the entire family. For those wanting to catch the Disney magic without shelling out big buck for park passes, Downtown Disney offers great views of the castle's fireworks, and you'll only have to pay for parking.

      RELATED: Atlanta named one of the best cities in the US to celebrate New Year’s Eve

      Atlanta, Georgia

      If you can't wander far this holiday, no worries! Atlanta definitely knows how to ring in the New Year. Don't miss the city's iconic midnight Peach Drop. A slew of concerts and other parties will also be happening throughout the city.

      Regardless of where you end up this New Year Eve, make sure you're surrounded by people you love. Whether you're in Atlanta, Chicago or the Magic Kingdom, the people you're with will create the most special memories.