Coffee Nebula and NJ's ToyBox Hot Christmas Toy List '18:
When Geeks Collide
Just a couple of weeks ago, our family had the best time hanging out at Tulsa Pop Culture Expo with our favorite kind of people--AKA all the weirdest and wonderfullest fandom-loving geeks in and around Tulsa. It was a wild and wonderful time filled with strange and beautiful creatures like a coven of wizarding folk, Trekkies, Van Gogh, and even a manicorn!
As I wrote last week, while we were there, we made friends with the bestest new people, YouTuber NJ of NJ’s Toybox and her chill fam. After Arthur, Noah, and Lucy had so much fun doing their first-ever official unboxing for NJ’s YouTube channel, we decided to stop by their studio this week and get some legit tips on unboxing, Christmas, and living that geek life.
NJ’s studio boasts the most resplendent collection of Pop! Vinyl figures we’ve ever seen. We have exactly two of these things, Sawyer and Kate from LOST--and for all you Dharma Initiative fans, no, we’re still not over the final episode.
NJ has hundreds of these little Pops, each representing her family’s various fandoms. I thought about how our family’s fandoms play such a big role in our lives, giving us something to bond over and share. One of us might love a certain fandom a little more than the others, but everyone gets into it, and that’s exactly how it is for NJ’s family. Hanging near one wall was a Harry Potter-print suit NJ’s super cool mom Falyn was making for the Fantastic Beasts premiere this week. It was hard to control our giddiness at all of their cool geek swag.
At the "Fantastic Beasts" premiere, courtesy of Tulsa Pop! Kids
We had a super fun interview during which my kids only completely lost their minds about four times, and we recorded the whole thing digitally for posterity of future generations. Here is an excerpt from our visit with NJ presented in the style of a one-act play to fully articulate what it’s like to interview someone with my family in tow:
Me: What YouTubers do you watch?
NJ: I watch a lot of reaction videos on YouTube. I just watch all kinds of stuff on YouTube...no particular YouTuber.
Lucy dances in background for no clear reason while Arthur looks bored.
Me: You said you got started as part of a project, right?
NJ: Yes. I started my YouTube channel out as a Girl Scout project. One of my badges I had to work on was I had to make a video about things that I like to do. I love toys, and so I made a video where I unboxed some toys. I convinced my dad to let me post it on YouTube when he was half asleep, and now he questions…
General LOLing. Lucy places a stuffed bunny on Noah’s head like a hat.
Me: When you first did this, were you watching a lot of unboxing videos yourself?
NJ: Too many. I was watching a lot.
Chaos erupts among the children.
Me: Hey Noah. I want you to go find Dad, please.
Me: So what is it about the unboxings that you got into?
NJ: I don’t know...at the time, I was obsessed with Shopkins, and I’d watch the Shopkins videos and pretend that I was a YouTuber and pretend to make videos.
NJ’s mom adds: She liked the Shopkins, the blind bags, and so she’d watch them to find out where the Shopkin she was missing from her collection was and she wanted to make it easier for other people to complete their collections.
Noah has returned at some point and is now in active hand-to-hand combat with Lucy, who has materialized a Shopkin from her own pocket.
Kids settle down.
Me: Who has the best toy section in town?
A discussion takes place over which Target is the best in town, and the verdict is the Bixby one for complicated reasons relating to toy collecting.
Me: What are your top fandoms?
NJ: Definitely Harry Potter and Marvel. Star Wars. The Fast and the Furious.
Falyn: What’s your favorite Marvel?
NJ: Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor movies.
Me: Because they’re funny, right?
NJ: Yeah, we’ll go with that.
Falyn: She’s a huge Chris Pratt fan.
Me: Is there an art to the unboxing?
NJ: Definitely get the new stuff. You want to be one of the first ones to get your video out.
At this point, my kids start hitting and poking each other in unison.
NJ, continuing: I just go with the flow. I do what comes to mind, point out the things I find interesting. Talk about why I like it. If you’re talking versus being quiet, it kind of gives your video character.
Somehow the conversation turned to sushi for a while. Sushi is yum.
Me: What do you want to unbox on Christmas this year?
NJ: Anything pop culture nerd. Definitely something Harry Potter. A laptop.
Falyn: She’s asked for BoxLunch and Hot Topic gift cards so she can get more Pops.
NJ: I also want the Harry Potter Herbology 3-pack of Vinyl Pops. There’s a couple more of the Fantastic Beast ones I need. The Asia Comic-Con Thor Pop.
We talk about Sabrina and Riverdale for a while. I admit I’m a bad mom who lets her seven-year-old watch Sabrina.
Exit, pursued by a bar.
A little Shakespearean humor for you there, or as I like to call it, the original pop fandom.
Then we finally got into the meat of it, a discussion of the best Christmas toys for this year.
Without further ado, these are NJ’s top toy predictions for Christmas this year.
Scruff-a-luv. This is a rescue pet that looks like it came right off the street. Kiddos clean them up and they become sweet little fluffy toys. I love the idea of how this helps kids to realize that rescue pets are so very special.
Hatchimals Hatchababies. These are baby Hatchimals, smaller and cuter.
Walmart Exclusive Black Friday Fingerlings. Fingerlings remain a hugely popular item. These holiday-themed Fingerlings will only be available for Black Friday.
Laser X Fusion. This is a great gift for older kids. It’s like laser tag for your house and Dear Santa, I totally need this.
Anything Pokemon is still a sure bet.
Air Hogs Super Nova. This is a super cool flying orb toy, but our family history with flying toys is not good. Tl;dr we can’t be trusted with flying toys.
Monopoly for Millenials Edition. This is completely hilarious. While it has been stirring up a bit of controversy this week--its tagline is “Forget real estate--you can’t afford it anyway”--as a xennial still paying off my student loan debt nearly twenty years after I started college, I can’t say its cheeky jokes are entirely off-base.
Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit. NJ says this is going to be one of the hottest games of the year.
The Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall Lego Set. I know all about this because Arthur has been talking about it for months. It’s incredibly detailed and gorgeous as far as Legos go.
Fortnite Edition Monopoly. Fortnite is such a massive hit among tweens that this pretty much speaks for itself.
And remember, if you have a special geek in your life, you can’t really go wrong with getting them literally any geek swag. Good luck to all you daring shoppers heading out next week for Christmas gifts, and thanks for the visit, NJ!
What gifts are your kids asking for this year? Comment below to give me ideas and have a beautiful week!