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.

Why Are There No Snakes in Ireland?

iStock
iStock

Legend tells of St. Patrick using the power of his faith to drive all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea. It’s an impressive image, but there’s no way it could have happened.

There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

Eightofnine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Once upon a time, Ireland was connected to a larger landmass. But that time was an ice age that kept the land far too chilly for cold-blooded reptiles. As the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, glaciers melted, pouring even more cold water into the now-impassable expanse between Ireland and its neighbors.

Other animals, like wild boars, lynx, and brown bears, managed to make it across—as did a single reptile: the common lizard. Snakes, however, missed their chance.

The country’s serpent-free reputation has, somewhat perversely, turned snake ownership into a status symbol. There have been numerous reports of large pet snakes escaping or being released. As of yet, no species has managed to take hold in the wild—a small miracle in itself.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

If March 15 Is the Ides of March, What Does That Make March 16?

iStock.com/bycostello
iStock.com/bycostello

Everyone knows that the soothsayer in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was talking about March 15 when he warned the Roman emperor to "beware the Ides of March." We also all know Caesar's response: "Nah, I gotta head into the office that day." But if March 15 is the Ides of March, what does that make March 16?

At the time of Caesar's assassination, Romans were using the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar himself). This was a modified version of the original Roman calendar, and it is very similar to the one we use today (which is called the Gregorian calendar). A major difference, however, was how Romans talked about the days.

Each month had three important dates: the Kalends (first day of the month), the Ides (the middle of the month), and the Nones (ninth day before the Ides, which corresponded with the first phase of the Moon). Instead of counting up (i.e., March 10, March 11, March 12), Romans kept track by counting backwards and inclusively from the Kalends, Ides, or Nones. March 10 was the sixth day before the Ides of March, March 11 was the fifth day before the Ides of March, and so on.

Because it came after the Ides, March 16 would’ve been referred to in the context of April: "The 17th day before the Kalends of April." The abbreviated form of this was a.d. XVII Kal. Apr., with "a.d." standing for ante diem, meaning roughly "the day before."

So, had Julius Caesar been murdered on March 16, the soothsayer's ominous warning would have been, "Beware the 17th day before the Kalends of April." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

This story first ran in 2016.

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