The Top 5 Best Selling Gifts of the 2013 Holidays

While the holidays are supposed to be centered on goodwill and cheer, family, food and thankfulness, much of the season is in fact defined by rampant, unbridled consumerism. Like it or not, the holidays mean big business for everyone from greeting card makers to food producers and, of course, for toy companies. Each year, many companies do a substantial percentage of their business just in the last weeks of November and the first weeks of December. After all, there has to be something under that Christmas tree or menorah: disappointed kids (and adults alike) just don’t fit with the spirit of the season.

5 Microsoft Xbox One

The Xbox One, the long awaited gaming console from Microsoft, came out at the right time. In just over two weeks after the system went on sale in November, it sold more than two million copies worldwide. The system retails for around $500 in the US (it is even more expensive overseas), so Microsoft is having a fine holiday season indeed, with more than a billion dollars in gross receipts following the Xbox One’s release.

4 Sony PlayStation 4

Not to be outdone by their rival, the Microsoft Xbox One, Sony seems to have sold several hundred thousand more units of its newest generation of gaming console, the Play Station 4. The PS4’s sales outpaced the Xbox numbers in November and that trend looks to be holding true in the final run-up to Christmas. The Play Station 4 sells for around a hundred dollars less than the Xbox One, and that price difference may have something to do with the sales figures.

3 Cards Against Humanity

According to Amazon.com, this wildly off-color game is the best seller in the online retail giant’s Toys & Games section. To play “Cards Against Humanity” the players create responses to questions or directions assigned each turn using an arrangement of cards sporting phrases, words, names. Most of the cards contain profanity, sexuality or absurdist statements that, when properly combined, can make even the most liberalized thinker blush. No wonder it sells so well.

2 Barbie

Believe it or not, this half-century old brand is still going strong in 2013! For much of the year the venerable Barbie doll seemed to be in a slump, out sold by newer offerings such as the “goth” dolls of Monster High. But Barbie’s sales soared in the run-up to the holiday gift giving season. Unless countless retailers have totally misread the demand of their customers, Barbie is on track to sell in record numbers and retain dominance in the lucrative arena of doll sales.

1 Gift Cards

The perennial favorite gift (or at least the most common) in recent years has been a thing which some people see as the best gift around, and that others see as the least thoughtful gift possible: the gift card. People spend billions of dollars every year giving other people spending money relegated to Best Buy, Whole Foods, Target or any of hundreds and hundreds of other retailers. For those not quite sure of what will make the perfect gift, the most popular move for the giver is to put it in the hands of the receiver.

Steven John is a published novelist and competitive pole vault champion. (The latter is not true.) His writing runs the gamut from speculative fiction to essays fueled by a mix of mirth and derision. He has never been to Lisbon but, statistically speaking, is probably taller than you.

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