With the glow of Halloween gone--barely--from the rearview mirror, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are literally right around the corner. Inevitably, the holiday season comes with tinsel, trees, tidings--and toys. Oh, the toys

From Fingerlings to furReal friends, Scruff-a-Luvs to Scribble Scrubbies (among other predicted favorites for 2018), it's literally impossible to keep up with what they all are or where the trends begin. Luckily there are old standbys like LEGO (which never loses its value) and Barbie that are almost impossible to go wrong with. 

Still, in the interest of ensuring there are smiles amid the piles of torn wrapping paper, it pays to know what your kids really want. That means keeping up with the craze, without going crazy. Here's a tip that will hopefully help you do just that.

The one thing your child really wants to be surprised with during the holidays: 


Nope, I'm not being redundant. L.O.L Surprise! is an actual line of toys -- and one of the hottest items on shelves this year. They're already fiercely on the rise and over the past six months, more than 148,000 were sold on eBay. Unsurprisingly, this explains how they landed on both eBay and Amazon's 'top trends' list of 2018.  'top-trends' list of 2018. The product family includes L.O.L. Surprise! HouseL.O.L. Biggie Pet Figure, and L.O.L. Surprise! Bigger Surprise, which is supposed to be the holiday hit. 

Okay, so...what exactly is it? It's basically a ball with a collectible doll inside. The catch is that you don't which doll until after you've bought and opened the L.O.L. Surprise! ball. 

At face value, the toys themselves are really pretty forgettable. Why, then, did some of them command prices way over retail in 2017?

It's all in the anticipation (and unknown)

MGA Entertainment, the company behind L.O.L. Surprise!, has brought over 20 products to market and has reported revenues of $2 billion. MGA has joined a number of toy makers who are driving profits by pushing kids' biological buttons. 

It's simple, really; we're primed to be excited when anticipating a positive experience. It's the same concept that had parents feeling desperate during the harrowing Hatchimal hunt of 2016 (those haven't gone away, for the record, and now we've got 'Hatchibabies', too.). 

It doesn't just work on kids, either--creating anticipation amounts to genius marketing. It does work exceptionally well on children, though, as pointed out by the Washington Post in their rundown of the 'unboxing' phenomenon.

Why bother? 

Unwrapping a gift just to unwrap another gift might seem silly on the surface, but there is a science to it, and it's clearly something kids love. That doesn't mean you have to like it. 

If you do plan to buy any L.O.L. Surprise! toys this year, it would be wise to start shopping immediately.

That's a wrap (see what I did there?).