Predicting the 20 Hottest Toys of the 2018 Holiday Season

iStock/gpointstudio
iStock/gpointstudio

It's hard to believe that November is over and we are back in full swing of the holiday season. For weeks, retailers like Amazon, Target, Walmart, and eBay have been preparing shoppers by offering their prediction on which toys will be this year's hottest sellers. While each list is a little different, there are dozens of items they all seem to agree on—some of which seem like a blast from the past.

One of the bigger names on the toy market this year looks to be the L.O.L. Surprise! Bigger Surprise. Who knows what lies inside? All you know for sure is the bang for your buck: 60+ surprises in one box.

The newly revamped Teddy Ruxpin is ready for his big comeback this holiday season as well. The old bear is back with new tricks, like animatronic talking, color LCD eyes, and an accompanying app as well so kids can read and sing along with his songs and stories.

Another interesting find is the Harry Potter Coding Kit by KANO. After connecting to the toy’s app on your tablet, you build your wand and learn to code with intuitive and informative challenges. Wave your wand and watch what happens as you learn the magic (and basics) of coding.

There are some classics predicted as well, like various LEGO builds and the updated Barbie DreamHouse. There’s also a new Elmo and Fingerlings. Here are 25 toys that are sure to be on your kid's gift list—better grab 'em while you can.

1. L.O.L. Surprise! Bigger Surprise

2. Teddy Ruxpin

3. Harry Potter KANO Coding Kit

4. Fingerlings Hugs
5. Hatchimals Hatchibabies

6. L.O.L. Surprise! Under Wraps

7. FurREAL Critters

8. Boxy Girls

9. Hairdorables
10. Harry Potter Great Hall LEGO Kit
11. Barbie DreamHouse
12. Sesame Street PlaySkool Friends Let's Dance Elmo
13. Power Action Pikachu
14. Air Hogs Supernova
15. Ryan's World Giant Mystery Egg
16. Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash Track Set
17. Imaginext Jurassic World Rex
18. Paw Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck
19. 4M Crystal Growing Experimental Kit
20. KumiKreator Friendship Bracelet Maker

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we're only happy if you're happy.

The 3 Best Mattresses You Can Order Online Right Now

iStock.com/diego_cervo
iStock.com/diego_cervo

So you're ready to ditch your lumpy old mattress for a newer, more comfortable model, huh? (Hello, memory foam.) If you don’t feel like fighting off the crowds while shopping at your local mattress outlet, there are plenty of great online deals you can take advantage of—and you don't have to sift through a thousand reviews to find the best one. Check out our buying guide to the three comfiest mattresses on the market right now from Leesa, Allswell, and Linenspa. Several models are on sale for Memorial Day weekend, so grab a deal while you can.

1. Leesa’s Universal Adaptive Feel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress

Leesa's universal adaptive feel memory foam cooling mattress
Leesa, Amazon

Do you kick off the covers in the middle of the night because you get too hot? Try Leesa’s 10-inch-tall cooling mattress. It has three unique foam layers: The first layer is designed to keep you cool, while the second offers body-contouring comfort, and the third helps relieve pressure and provide core support. The “adaptive feel” label refers to the fact that it adapts to your body no matter what your preferred sleeping position may be. The mattress comes in twin through California king sizes, with prices starting at $425.

Buy it on Amazon or from Leesa's website. The latter is currently offering 15 percent off plus two free pillows with any purchase for Memorial Day.

2. Allswell’s Luxe Hybrid Mattress

This extra-thick mattress is so popular that it frequently sells out from Allswell and at other retailers. It packs 12 inches of high-end material into one mattress, including quilted memory foam and an outer layer designed keep you cool in hot weather. Similar mattresses tend to go for thousands of dollars, but the Luxe Hybrid retails for far less. Prices start at $345 for a twin, $485 for a full, $585 for a queen, or $745 for a king. (Not sure about the difference in mattress sizes? We've got you covered.)

Buy it from Allswell's website or at Walmart starting at $345. Through May 27, you can get 15 percent off mattresses and 30 percent off bedding using the code SUMMERTIME.

3. Linenspa’s memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress

The Linenspa memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress
Linenspa, Amazon

Amazon customers swear by Linenspa’s hybrid mattress, which comes in sizes twin ($144) through California king ($288). Ideal for people who like medium-firm mattresses, it combines the benefits of memory foam with the support one gets from a traditional innerspring mattress. The standard version is 8 inches thick, but Linenspa also offers a 10-inch version in all sizes. (We also love the company's incredibly affordable down-alternative duvet, which is only $30 on Amazon.)

Buy it on Amazon, where the 8-inch queen mattress is regularly on sale for up to 20 percent off. It's $225 right now.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

What's the Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

iStock/flySnow
iStock/flySnow

It may not be easy for some people to admit, but certain national holidays often get a little muddled—namely, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. In fact, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sees the confusion often enough that they spelled out the distinction on their website. The two days are held six months apart: Veterans Day is celebrated every November 11, and Memorial Day takes place on the last Monday of May as part of a three-day weekend with parades and plenty of retail sales promotions. You probably realize both are intended to acknowledge the contributions of those who have served in the United States military, but you may not recall the important distinction between the two. So what's the difference?

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day. It was first observed on November 11, 1919, the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution making it an annual observance in 1926. It became a national holiday in 1938. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to recognize veterans of the two world wars. The intention is to celebrate all military veterans, living or dead, who have served the country, with an emphasis on thanking those in our lives who have spent time in uniform.

We also celebrate military veterans on Memorial Day, but the mood is more somber. The occasion is reserved for those who died while serving their country. The day was first observed in the wake of the Civil War, where local communities organized tributes around the gravesites of fallen soldiers. The observation was originally called Decoration Day because the graves were adorned with flowers. It was held May 30 because that date wasn't the anniversary for any battle in particular and all soldiers could be honored. (The date was recognized by northern states, with southern states choosing different days.) After World War I, the day shifted from remembering the fallen in the Civil War to those who had perished in all of America's conflicts. It gradually became known as Memorial Day and was declared a federal holiday and moved to the last Monday in May to organize a three-day weekend beginning in 1971.

The easiest way to think of the two holidays is to consider Veterans Day a time to shake the hand of a veteran who stood up for our freedoms. Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those who are no longer around to receive your gratitude personally.

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