In the past, it seemed that the only time people brought up the topic of packaging and toys at the holiday, it was to complain about how hard it was to open thermoformed clamshells.
This year, they're taking their packaging adventures online.
The L.O.L. Surprise, a toy that includes film and rigid packaging as part of the present, is among the hottest toys in the United States this year. Made by Van Nuys, Calif.-based MGA Entertainment, the L.O.L. taps into the YouTube trend of "unboxing" videos.
Kids (and adults ... many, many adults) post videos of themselves as they peel off film, open containers and expose the toys within. The exterior packaging doesn't reveal exactly what toy or pet is inside, so the unboxing becomes part of the process of playing with the toy.
Each Surprise has at least seven layers of items, each containing "clues" to what is at the center, such as a piece of clothing, a small charm such as a miniature water bottle or stickers.
The L.O.L. Surprise Big Surprise (yes, that's actually the toy's name) is a supersized version, with 50 individual pieces enclosed in plastic.
Retail tracking firm NPD Group named the L.O.L. Surprise Tots the top selling toy of the year in the U.S., according to MGA Entertainment in a Dec. 11 news release.
And that's a very big deal, even for a company that has had hot toys before.
"This is the first time since 2004 when Bratz dolls became the No. 1 doll worldwide that we are experiencing this level of success," CEO Isaac Larian said in the news release.