What NOT to ask Santa for this Christmas: The most abandoned toys in South Africa

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
"By the end of the first week in January, a spike in our listings tells us which toys kids weren't as excited about over the holiday season."
"By the end of the first week in January, a spike in our listings tells us which toys kids weren't as excited about over the holiday season."

Every parent knows the frustration of buying their child a toy that they've been nagging about for ages, only for them to abandon it within a few days. 

Thankfully, according to Gumtree Marketing Manager Estelle Nagel, the local online marketplace can easily spot which toys didn't live up to the hype by analysing the listings on its site.

"Parents start listing abandoned toys around 28 December. So, by the end of the first week in January, a spike in our listings tells us which toys kids weren't as excited about over the holiday season," says Nagel. 

Gumtree's analysis of toy listings shows that these are the most commonly abandoned children's items between 2018 and 2021: 


These adorable animals remain a surprise until they noisily hatch from their eggs. 

But, unfortunately, that's usually where the excitement begins and ends. 

Although Hatchimals cost anything from R800 to R1000 per toy, hatched Hatchimals are often resold for between R250 and R500. 

Also see: Experienced aunt advises on five gifts NOT to give your kids this festive season


Similar to Hatchimals, Build-A-Bear is a fun experience that allows children to make their very own soft toys and custom teddy bears.

These toys range in price from R250 to R1000 depending on the accessories and toy type. 

"To cut costs, take your little one to assemble their stuffed bear and buy your accessories second-hand," says Nagel. "You can pick up wardrobes full of shoes, sunglasses, and clothes for bears for a tenth of the price," says Nagel.


Hoverboards were all the craze in 2018, but frustrated parents started listing their hoverboards by 25 December 2020. 

"Last year, we had dozens of hoverboards listed by Boxing Day for half price," says Nagel. "The cause is unknown, but reports of injuries and accidents might be behind the steep abandonment rates."

Also read: Carol Ofori shares the six gifts your child will love this festive season


LEGO is incredibly popular, but pieces invariably go missing once assembled, and the novelty wears off. 

"The good news is that you can often buy second-hand LEGO in bulk as incomplete sets – leaving your little ones free to use their imagination to assemble their very own LEGO world."

Battery-powered cars

Car enthusiast parents will often shell out thousands for mini Ferraris and BMWs for their kids, but they usually end up for sale soon after. 

"The batteries in these toys need to be replaced quite often, which usually leads to kids losing interest in these cars or simply outgrowing them." Nagel says kids outgrow toys quickly. So, before committing to a big-ticket item, parents should shop second-hand. 

"You can teach kids healthy money habits by having your child sell their old toys to buy new ones. Also, make a point of donating or repairing old toys rather than throwing them out."

Submitted to News24 by Gumtree. 


Share your stories and questions with us via email at Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Don't miss a story!

For a weekly wrap of our latest parenting news and advice sign up to our free Friday Parent24 newsletter.

Follow us, and chat, on Facebook and Twitter.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.