Kids often want laptops, iPads and iPhones for Christmas, but in many ways gift buying is the same as it was 30 years ago. Despite an increase in gadgets under the tree, little ones still want dolls, action figures and Legos.  Granted, things changed a bit from when we made our Christmas lists in the 80s and 90s, but after looking at Amazon’s best-selling toys this year, there are several cool things we’d ask for. If you have no idea what to buy or need to know what an amiibo is, we have you covered with some of the hottest toys of 2014.

Lego Minecraft Figures, Accessories and Playsets 

There’s a great chance you know someone who plays Minecraft, the popular world building game on almost every video game system imagineable. Kids and adults can’t get enough of those Creepers, zombies and pigs, and if you think they need a break from staring at the TV, monitor or tablet, stimulate their minds with a variety of Lego Minecraft biomes.  Appropriate for ages 10 and up, Minecraft playsets include The Village, Micro World, The Nether and The Cave to name a few. Each one is available through Amazon at reduced prices if you’re a Prime Member.  

 

Granted, you may not know the difference between an Obsidian Nether Portal and an Ender Dragon, but one (or three) of these Lego Minecraft playsets should put a smile on someone’s face. Just make sure he or she doesn’t have them already. 

Need even more Legos? Buy the 650-piece Bricks & More Builders of Tomorrow Set and a Green Building Plate. 

More Minecraft Toys - Diamond Steve, Core Creeper, Foam Sword

If you want a full Minecraft Christmas, there are several toys available. You can’t go wrong with Diamond Steve, complete with Minecraft sword, and the vicious Creeper with TNT. In addition, there’s the Iron Golem, Core Enderman and Core Zombie with Iron Ore Block. 

Personally, we’re big fans of the Minecraft Foam Pickaxe and Foam Diamond Sword. Granted, they don’t work as well as they do in the video game, but these collectibles will get plenty of attention. Plus, they’re much softer and therefore safer than some plastic weapons. 

Skylanders Trap Team - Trap Masters, Minis

The best advice when it comes to buying Skylanders is to ask for a detailed list from loved ones, because you’ll instantly feel intimidated the moment you stand in front of the giant wall of Trap Masters, Minis and other figures clogging store shelves.  

Skylanders Trap Team is the newest game, and we’re quite fond of the dual hammered Trap Master Wallop, the shield carrying Wildfire and the tough looking Jawbreaker. They’re among the biggest and most expensive Skylanders, but these guys look great displayed on a shelf. In addition, you can also buy Minis, pint-sized heroes that often come two to a pack, such as Spry & Mini Jini, Bop & Terrabite and Drobit & Trigger Snappy

 

Perhaps just as important is Traptanium, brightly colored pieces of plastic that fit into the Skylanders Trap Team Portal of Power, allowing players to essentially “trap” villains and use them in the video game.

Now factor in figures that span previous Skylanders titles, from Spyro’s Adventure to Giants and Swap Force, and make sure you have that list! You’ll thank us later. 

Disney Infinity Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 Edition Figures and Playsets

Not to be outdone by Skylanders, Disney release a sequel to its hit Infinity video game, this one starring iconic heroes from its own catalogue of films and the Marvel universe. Like Skylanders, there’s a lineup of figures, with a new wave appearing in stores just a few weeks ago. 

You’ll see Disney Originals like Donald Duck, Tinker Bell, Aladdin, Maleficent, Hiro (from Big Hero 6) and Stitch, while for Marvel, there’s Captain America, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, Spider-man, Venom, Iron Man and a plethora of others.  Players will unlock the figures’ true potential with the Disney Infinity Marvel Super Heroes game, but you can also display them in a room and they’ll look great in or out of the packaging.

Nintendo amiibo for Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors

Nintendo took a page from Activision and Disney’s books with its own line of NFC (Near Field Communication) figures inspired by some of its most iconic characters starring in Super Smash Bros. for Wii UMario, Donkey Kong, Samus and Princess Peach arrived in Wave 1, with lesser known and tougher to find brawlers like Wii Fit Trainer, Marth and Animal Crossing Villager rounding out the list.  

Out of the packaging, each figure works not only with Smash Bros., but other Wii U games. With Smash, you train the amiibo up to level 50 and then pit the character against a friend’s, or join up in team battle. Meanwhile, amiibo unlock weapons and Rupee bonuses in Hyrule Warriors, and Mii Racing Suits in Mario Kart 8. 

Wave 2 should appear sometime in December, with Captain Falcon, Little Mac, Luigi and Pit destined to become hot for the holidays. We suggest pre-ordering while you still can. 

Connect 4 

According to Amazon, the old but still enjoyable Connect 4 is still going strong, despite being 40 years old. Reviews point to this new set being cheaply made, but the addictive two-person game of dropping red or yellow discs onto a grid to score four in a row remains just as engaging as it was all those years ago. While you’re at it, consider Sorry! 2013 Edition, Simon, Jenga Donkey Kong and Monopoly Zelda.

Frozen - Sparkle Princess Elsa Doll, Olaf’s in Trouble, Travel Dress Up Trunk

Disney’s Frozen continues to dominate the toy charts. Mattel’s Sparkle Princess Elsa Doll comes with an icy cape, blue tiara and glittery dress. Meanwhile, Hasbro’s Olaf’s in Trouble board game features a cool Pop-O-Matic inspired by Sorry!, though it doesn’t come with an Olaf figurine. Finally, the Frozen Dress Up Trunk includes Elsa and Anna dresses, bracelets, necklaces and other things that’ll let fans play their favorite characters from the movie.  Combine with Anna and Elsa figures from Disney Infinity and you’re good to go.