Hot holiday toys for 2004

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It's the time of year when the stresses of holiday shopping and finding the perfect present begin to set in.

That's why national publications and morning talk shows try to make things easier for people by offering lists of what others consider the "must-have" items of the season.

This year's frequently referred-to list is courtesy of Toy Wishes magazine and consists of a dozen dolls, electronic items and other games.

Alonso Tarango, toy manager at Kmart in Craig, said several toys, including dancing Elmo and Robosapien, a human-like robot, are popular, but the rush after Thanksgiving is when he really learns just what items are must-haves and which ones are not.

"Right after Thanksgiving, that's when we start getting busy," Tarango said. "(Kmart shippers) basically send me 1,000 of each toy."

The first item on this year's Toy Wishes' list are Barbies dressed as Princess Anneliese and Erika from The Princess and the Pauper. The second item is a Bratz Tokyo-A-Go-Go Dance 'n' Skate Club that includes a retro-disco club and a doll.

The third item is a favorite among young parents looking to buy a present for their child's first Christmas: Cabbage Patch kids. The original dolls are back on the market this year.

The fourth item is a game called Balloon Lagoon.

The fifth item is E-L-M-O, the latest Elmo doll in the line. This year's version of the Sesame Street character sings and plays along as he spells out his name.

"Since the first one came out, it's been popular every year," Tarango said.

The sixth item of Toy Wishes' list is Bella Dancerella, a complete ballet studio that includes a video.

Nitro Battlerz, or customizable toy cars, are the seventh item on the list.

InteracTV, the eighth item, is made by Fisher-Price and allows children to watch DVDs of their favorite characters, answer interactive questions and try play-along activities on an electronic tablet.

Ms. Pac-Man TV Games is ninth on the list.

Tenth on the list is Tamagotchi Connection. This version of the original virtual pet includes different modes of play, including the option to interact wirelessly with other virtual pet owners.

All items on the list are basically for toddlers to pre-teen children.

Christmas falls on a Saturday this year, leaving holiday shoppers 29 days from Friday until Christmas morning.

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