Republished extract from the original article by Toby Walne for The Mail on Sunday printed/published on Sunday 15th November 2015. see full article here
Father Christmas will be swamped with a wishlist for £1billion worth of toys over the next few weeks. But you can help keep down the cost of those toys he delivers with a bit of smart planning.
Top of the Christmas wish chart this year is Pie Face, a game from toy manufacturer Hasbro that retails at £20. Load the throwing arm with squirty cream or tomato sauce, turn the handle and wait to get splattered – or even better splash your best friend.
Then there is the new Star Wars movie opening in cinemas a week before Christmas Day. This is creating a frenzy of interest for a £50 Jedi Master Lightsaber and a £120 The Force Awakens Millennium Falcon – again manufactured by Hasbro. Another likely Christmas hit is a £39 Disney Frozen sing-along doll called Elsa.
According to the Toy Retailers Association, more than two-thirds of the 370 million presents that will fly off the shelves this year into the Christmas stockings of children will be purchased online – with the average overall family spend on children being £285.
Parents, wishing to keep costs down or give a little bit to charity when buying gifts, should follow our essential guide.
Charity TheGivingMachine enables customers to use its website to buy toys from more than 2,000 shops – including Amazon, John Lewis and Hamleys – with the commission it earns on the sales being passed on to a chosen charity or other good cause.
The donation can be as much as 10 per cent of the sale price. Customers pay the same price as they would if they bought directly from the retailer.
Laura Hollis, 37, from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, has used the website to do some early Christmas shopping. She has spent £150 on toys for children Martha, four, and Dot, two.
This earned commission of £10 that she requested the website donate to the local school which Martha has just started.
Laura, a customer services manager, married to David, 37, says the website allowed her to tap in details of the toys she wanted and find them. ‘I ended up via the website shopping online at the Early Learning Centre, Mothercare and Tesco.’ She bought a watch, trainset and zoo for Martha while Dot was bought a plastic building set.
She also ticked a Gift Aid option box which meant that her £8 donation was topped up to £10 by the Government as a result of her being a basic rate taxpayer.