"It's the most wonderful time of the year", or so goes the song, but for many parents trying to find (and afford) the presents their kids are asking for it is just stressful.
While some of us outsource the list of demands to the man in red, grandparents or child-free relatives, as a parent we feel responsible for our children's happiness.
So we go out of our way (and often max out our bank accounts) to get them the perfect gift. But, I'm sure we all have stories of how a gift was not as well-received as expected.
This might be one reason why parents start listing abandoned toys for sale on various online platforms so soon after Christmas day.
This is so common, in fact, that according to Gumtree Marketing Manager Estelle Nagel, Gumtree.co.za can easily spot which toys didn’t live up to the hype by analyzing the listings on the site.
And it's not just random toys: Nagel provided us with a list of the most frequently abandoned gifts and some of the brands we spotted surprised us.
Adorable (or creepy, depending on your views of these creatures), Hatchimals offer short lived excitement, and are listed for between R250 and R500 each within days of hatching.
At R800-R1000 a pop, this might not be the best way to indulge your kids at Christmas.
The fun lies in customising these pricey teddies, so Nagel recommends assembling the bear with your kids, and then buying the accessories secondhand on Gumtree.
"You can pick up wardrobes full of shoes, sunglasses and clothes for your bears for a tenth of the price," she told us.
As incredibly popular as Lego is, it seems that once a kit has been assembled the novelty wears off.
Nagel says that pieces invariably go missing, so the good news is that you can often buy secondhand Lego in bulk as incomplete sets with a much smaller price tag.
Car enthusiast parents shell out thousands for mini Ferraris and BMWs, Nagel says, but they often end up for sale soon after.
"The batteries need to be replaced, kids lose interest or simply outgrow them," she told Parent24.
Hoverboards"Last year we had dozens listed by Boxing Day for half price," Nagel reports. She says the reason is unknown, but reports of injuries and accidents might be behind the steep abandonment rates.
So what to buy then?
Nagel says there are a few tips parents should deploy before shelling out on big presents.
"Kids outgrow toys quickly. Before committing to a big-ticket item, shop secondhand," she advises.
You can teach healthy money habits by having your child sell their old toys to buy new ones, or make a point of donating or repairing old toys rather than throwing them out, she says.
Buy a bargain now
We did a quick Gumtree search and found Build a Bear creatures from as little as R80, with sets of accessories on offer from as low as R180.
There is a wide range of Lego kids currently available, with most listed at about half the new retail price.
Plenty of hoverboards are on offer too, but at a still hefty price of a few thousand rand.
We also found used Hatchimals from around R250, with "Played with ONCE" stressed by the seller, perhaps indicative of how quickly kids lose interest once the toy is revealed.
Another item listed as "hardly used" is a number of battery-powered cars, but they're still pricey at several thousand rand for a used car.
What are your top toy picks for 2019? Share with us!
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