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Baby AliveRecommended for Ages 3+, I had no idea just how big a deal BABY ALIVE was until we actually received one from Hasbro this Fall. While my oldest had been eyeing the BABY ALIVE REAL SURPRISES BABY DOLL on each visit to the store, this doll rekindled childhood memories for my wife as well, she having had a Baby Alive back in the 80s. Yes, this is the doll that eats... and "pees" and "poops," and after changing this doll's diaper (I'm well-versed in diaper duty for both children and toys) I vaguely remember my sister having one of these, too. One of this season's hottest toys, the REAL SURPRISES BABY DOLL now makes an appearance in my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father.

bdaman125Recommended for Ages 6+, this game from Hasbro's B-DAMAN CROSSFIRE line is one more entry into that realm of "stuff that battles" being BIG this Holiday Season. While it's character based in appearance, the B-DAMAN CROSSFIRE Break Bomber Battlefield is a game of skill that's addictive even to grownups, as you face off against an opponent while shooting "marbles" toward a wall of blocks in hopes of knocking them toward the "enemy" side. It's a lot of fun, and thus lands a spot in my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide.

pjboard125The second PAJANIMALS item to make my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father (see the first here), the Pajanimals Bedtime Routine Board by TOMY features all four Pajanimals - Apollo, Squacky, Sweetpea Sue and Cowbella - each paired with a corresponding nighttime activity: Taking a Bath; Putting on Pajamas; Brushing Teeth; Reading a Story. Once each task is complete, slide the character into bed for a musical jingle. When they're all tucked in, the full "Lullaby" theme song will play while accompanied by glowing lights.

beywarriors125Recommended for Ages 8+, the BEYWARRIORS SHOGUN STEEL Octagon Showdown Battle Set by Hasbro continues a trend that I've previously-noted here on The Rock Father: Battling is BIG this holiday season. Taking into account this "octagon" shape made popular in extreme fighting, this set works very simply, with two rip-cord-powered Shogun Warriors (they're basically really cool tops) that can be customized to battle. Last character standing, wins. This set scored big among even slightly younger than-suggested kids.

UPDATE: An update to this story follows after the original post with a statement from the manufacturer/importer.

With the Holiday gifting season getting into full-swing, I've been getting a lot of interesting items showing up here at Rock Father HQ - sent by their makers and publicists with hopes of landing a spot within my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide. Sometimes, it's completely unexpected, such as the case with the Mario Kart Wii Donkey Kong Mini Radio Control Kart (what a mouthful) by Goldie International. I'm going to go back to something that I've said here on the site before: Toy makers - STOP SELLING GARBAGE TO FAMILIES. This is also about the point were PR reps will get irritated, and will scold me for not coming to them with a problem first - all so they can try to "correct" it and keep some mud off of their client's faces. That wouldn't be honest, and certainly wouldn't be representative of my true experiences with a toy... especially when a safety issue is involved. Five days ago, I received a toy that burned my child (and me) today. And, I took the damn thing apart and am going to show all of you exactly how it happened.

BattroborgRecommended for Ages 6+. "Battling" is a BIG thing for the 2013 Holiday Season, and at the head of the pack is BATTROBORG Battling Robots from TOMY. When I first came face-to-face with these pint-sized robotic combatants, I was with a group of fellow Dad Bloggers who had come together on the streets of Chicago in order to "Settle the Score." What score were we settling? I'm still not quite sure, but I didn't get a real good grasp of the game while surrounded by 20 or so other grown men that were huddled around like some sort of "Fight Club" while awaiting their chance at glory.

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