Updated to "Do Not Buy" Status: Our projector has malfunctioned after just three weeks of normal use. While we are awaiting a resolution (if any), in the interest of sharing my true experience, I feel it necessary to update this review. First the motion function failed, and three days later the projector was completely dead. As of this writing (12/11/2016), the projectors had been marked-down on the Deck the Home site from $129 to $79, and as low as $59 on Amazon. We are not alone, as "1-Star Reviews" are stacking up on Amazon.
Every few years there's a "revolution," or more accurately - a super-hot trend when it comes to holiday lighting that everyone wants to get in on. Back in the late 90s, I was working "Big Box" retail when icicle lights first came out, and I remember the frenzy those first two years in which everyone just had to be like the neighbors. Right now the trend is laser light shows, and this is one I've been waiting for the right chance to get on-board with - an easy way to cover a lot of area at once, while finally reaching those high-up spots that I'm too cautious to mess with (pre-kids, I would've climbed all over the place). So while the neighbors may all have starfields of red and green, the folks at Deck the Home have upped the game, presenting the first-ever licensed Laser Light Projector, and they couldn't have picked a more perfect property to do: A CHRISTMAS STORY.
This weekend, audiences everywhere have begun discovering Walt Disney Animation Studios' 56th animated feature, MOANA, turning out in record numbers for a big adventure unlike any other. With buzz that began long before the film's release, items from Moana have quickly become must-have gifts for the holiday season, and for kids and collectors alike, a variety of new figures from Funko have taken a spot in my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide, sponsored by Entertainment Earth.
It's been 26 years since Home Alone first hit theaters, and with the holiday season entering full-swing once more, families around the world will soon be catching up with Kevin McCallister and The Wet Bandits. Following last year's excellent Ultimate Collector's Edition of the five films in the Home Alone series, this year we spin back to where it all started, thanks to a new collection of bobbleheads released by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee. Designed and created by the team at NECA under license from 20th Century Fox, this trio of "Head Knockers" is one of the instances where the real product looks even better in person than it does in marketing materials - these are fantastic.
I've been singing the praises of PJ Masks for quite some time, and with the Holiday Season upon us, it's time to take a look at more great gift ideas for the little superheroes in your life. I've already touched on some of the fantastic toys that my friends at Just Play have been releasing (and will have more on those soon), with the sought-after HQ playset becoming my Toy Insider Parent's Pick for the Best of 2016. But there's more than just toys when it comes to keeping kids engaged in the world of PJ Masks, and today we'll look at a few of those...
"Dream Big, Princess" - that's a message that little ones have heard often this year as part of Disney's mission to inspire girls and kids around the world to dream big, and to unlock their full potential. Being a modern-day princess brings with it a spirit of adventure that accompanies a passion for friendship and kindness, and there's no better way to seek adventure with friends than to hit the open road... or in this case, sidewalk. The term "horseless carriage" has new meaning with the release of the 24-volt Disney Princess Carriage Ride-on vehicle from Dynacraft - almost unanimously-chosen as one of 2016's Hottest Holiday Toys, and a featured pick in both my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide™ on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine™ and the The Toy Insider's 2016 Hot Holiday Toy Guide!
During my "big box retail" phase of the mid-late 90s, there were a few of us who would, on occasion, replace a certain baby in one of our display Nativity sets with Yoda. His size was just about right to replace the manger and all, and surprisingly, I don't think there were ever any complaints - it was like an "Easter Egg" hidden within the seasonal department. Fast forward two decades and much has changed, but the Nativity has remained largely untouched - though someone did pitch me a zombie version last year that was sadly unsuccessful in its Kickstarter phase. But, for 2016, there is something new! Behold, the "Modern Nativity," aka "Millennial Nativity" aka the "Hipster Nativity."