I’ve been looking around for deals this Christmas and while I’ve window shopped quite a bit, I’ve also done some digging around the internet to see what kind of deals are out there. The internet actually yields a lot of sales throughout the year, but some of its biggest sales come right during the holidays, as you’d expect.
Zhu Zhu Pets: Top Toy For The 2009 Christmas Season
I’m sure you’ve heard of this year’s holiday hit toy, which is this thing called the Zhu Zhu pet. It’s turning out to be the must-have toy this year, much like Tickle Me Elmo or the Cabbage Patch Kids were, in years past. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of these electronic hamsters; I’ve often wondered what it took for something to take off and become a full blown fad.
So what’s so special about the Zhu Zhu pet?
They originally were selling for $9.99 each, but lately I’ve been seeing them for up to $40 on eBay and $26.55 on Amazon. They’re a type of electronic friend for our kids — and maybe even for you and me if you’re the type who likes toys. Powered by batteries, the Zhu Zhu pet scoots around a track that’s a little like a Habitrail, drives a miniature hamster sports car, and spins in a wheel just like a real hamster.
But here’s one of their selling points: they have a bit of artificial intelligence to them. As the commercial jingle goes, they’re real without the mess. Their artificial intelligence helps them understand which room of their little hamster habitat they’re in, and they make appropriate sounds. For example, when they’re in the bathroom, they make sounds as if they’re flushing the toilet or brushing their teeth. While in the bedroom, they make alarm-clock sounds and sleeping sounds.
You know what they remind me of? Remember those “virtual pets” that were around some years ago? Way back when, I was swept into a similar type of toy craze. Out of curiosity, I got myself one of those “Tomagotchi” pets. They were interesting for all of a few days, then the novelty wore off. I gather if you like collecting interesting toys or want to be a part of the latest toy fad, then the Zhu Zhu pet will fill the bill in the same way.
Zhu Zhu Pets and Health Questions
So who manufactures these electronic pets? It’s Cepia, a toy startup based in St. Louis. The Zhu Zhu pet is actually based on CEO Russell Hornby’s own pet hamster.
You may also have heard that there have been some concerns about these toys. GoodGuide.com, which analyzes the health impact of consumer products, says that the Zhu Zhu pets have unhealthy levels of anitomy, a toxic metal that can lead to cancer, among other conditions, if ingested in high levels. And whose kid doesn’t put toys in his or her mouth? But the company says that the Zhu Zhu pets have passed tough tests and are perfectly safe for kids to play with. Let the buyer beware.
Last Minute Gift Ideas
If the Zhu Zhu Pet doesn’t light your fire, rest assured you’ll find plenty of other Christmas deals out there trying to get your attention. If you’re still cramming for last minute gift ideas, you can check out these deal sites that could help you save money this Christmas.
Discount gift cards can also save you a Christmas fortune, and allow you to stuff your stocking just a little bit more. Try Restaurant.com for gifts to give to your foodie friends — you can even send an email gift certificate, avoiding any shipping and handling charges. Meanwhile, over at CityDeals.com, you’ll find discount gift cards for Christmas deals from 10 to 50 percent off a multitude of gifts including movie tickets, trips to health and beauty spas, and consumer goods at chains such as Best Buy or Barnes and Noble.
For more savings, you can also visit Ebates.com as a terrific way to save money during the holidays. Check out our Ebates review to learn more about this online retail site.
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