Editor's note: The following is the first in a series of articles about hot gift trends for this holiday season.
ELKINS - There are many places in the Elkins area to find this year's hot toy item for that young person on your Christmas list.
Hopscotch, Main Line Books, Big Lots and K-Mart all carry a wide variety of toys and books.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean
A family browses for toys and holiday gifts at Hopscotch on Third Street in downtown Elkins. From left are Courtney Till, 4-month-old Greyson Till, 5-year-old Ellis Till and Martha Tallman.
Elf on the Shelf is a toy that keeps gaining popularity from year to year.
"Elf on the Shelf is flying out the door," said Hopscotch manager Sherry Hammer. "It is popular every year and just grows and grows because it promotes family involvement."
Main Line Books also has experienced an increase in sales of Elf on the Shelf. "We have had to reorder more," said Main Line Books owner Vicki Roidt.
Both Main Line Books and Hopscotch reported sales of Melissa and Doug toys. Melissa and Doug is an American manufacturer of children's toys based in Connecticut. The most popular items this year are their large floor puzzles..
"All parents know of Melissa and Doug toys and they are a constant top-selling item," Hammer said.
Hopscotch has seen upward trends in many other toy sales, as well. Optari Loom, a device used to weave rubber bands together to make jewelry, is "one of our top sellers right now," Hammer said.
She added that "Sophia the First" items are always popular, while a new favorite is a line of toys from the new Disney movie "Frozen."
Books are also a good gift idea for children of all ages. Roidt said her biggest sellers were "Hard Luck" from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinner, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zosak and "A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin. "Hard Luck" is for the 7-12 year old age group, "The Book Thief" is for ages 9 to adult, and "A Dance With Dragons" is geared more toward adults.
Toys featured this season by the Elkins K-Mart and Big Lots stores include oversized stuffed animals, Hot Wheels cars, 2013 Furby Boom, Zoomer the Robot Dog, Monster High dolls and Barbiess.
"Toys are always one of our best-selling categories during the holiday season," said Veto Moots, K-Mart store manager.