What's hot for the Christmas shopper

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN: Tamanda Chinula with some gift ideas for Christmas buyers at Wellington's Kirkcaldie & Stains.
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN: Tamanda Chinula with some gift ideas for Christmas buyers at Wellington's Kirkcaldie & Stains.

iPads for kids, toys that resemble rotten food, sport star biographies and smartphones will be filling Christmas stockings this year, retailers say.

The end of Labour Weekend heralds the start of the Christmas countdown and Santa's list this year is a mix of the usual - and slightly unusual - suspects.

Toyworld national buyer Repeka Haurua said the $200 LeapPad 2 - a child-friendly tablet computer with apps and cameras - would be among its biggest sellers.

"We did a pre-order when it wasn't even in the country in September and it sold out. People wanted to make sure they've got that product for Christmas."

Micro Chargers - speedy race cars the size of a thumbnail priced from $14.99 for a two-pack - were an exciting new product, and Lego, which had introduced a "Friends" range aimed at girls, was a perennial favourite, she said.

Kirkcaldie & Stains buyer Tamanda Chinula said $20 Strawz - build-your-own extendable straws with different connectors - were likely to be favourites in the popular kitchen novelty category. Those with finer drinking tastes could fork out $249 for a pair of coloured crystal Mixology whisky glasses by Waterford Wedgwood.

The new violet-scented Balenciaga Paris perfume (from $130 for a 30ml eau de parfum) would be a popular pick for women, while leather luggage (starting at $295) and premium Tivoli radios (from $175 to $595), were likely to be hit presents for men. Realistic Rolly ride-on construction and farm vehicle toys - for between $175 and $325 - would appeal to parents of young boys, she said.

A spokesperson for The Warehouse said it was also expecting a rush on LeapPad 2s, and on last year's favourites Pillow Pets - $34 soft toys that double as pillows - and the $10 Trash Pack series toys - which resemble rubbish contents such as rotten food. Sports fans were odds on to get the Richie McCaw and Valerie Adams biographies, and JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy and Annabel Langbein's latest recipe book would also be hot tomes.

British singing sensation Susan Boyle's latest Christmas album would sell well, and CDs of pop classics violinist Andre Rieu were a hardy annual.

Noel Leeming Group merchandise manager Jason Bell said this Christmas would be the biggest yet for sales of smartphones, now priced from $99.

Trade Me's Paul Ford said members would be after the usual suspects for Christmas, including barbecues, bikes, the latest iPhone, iPads, Lego, and clothing by designers Trelise Cooper and Karen Walker.

Jacob and Matthew Dawson, owners of online toy store Simply Clever Toys, said magnetic putty ($24.95) was a hot seller, and they expected a $100 remote-controlled helicopter with small blades would fly out the door.

Oxfam spokesman Jason Garman said altruistic shoppers could buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift for communities in developing countries.

The Dominion Post