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2009 Christmas gifts: What to buy instead of Zhu Zhu Pets

Instead of a Zhu Zhu Pet, why not buy a *real* rodent for your kids this Christmas!  Heehee!
Instead of a Zhu Zhu Pet, why not buy a *real* rodent for your kids this Christmas! Heehee!

Christmas is two weeks away. Unless you're best friends with the teenager who restocks the toy shelves at Toys 'R' Us or Walmart, about the only way you're going to get a Zhu Zhu Pet is to pay five times the retail price online at eBay or Amazon. Is it worth it? Aren't there any other wiggly, noisy, or cuddly little pretend animals that will make kids just as happy as Zhu Zhu Pets on Christmas morning? Here are some alternative Christmas gift ideas for parents who refuse to spend $40 on a single Zhu Zhu Pet hamster toy.

Christmas Gifts to Buy Instead of Zhu Zhu Pets: FurReal Friends (price range: $13- $150). The nice thing about Hasbro's line of FurReal Friends is the variety of battery-powered animal toys. There are dogs, cats, farm animals, wild animals. My daughter has a FurReal Newborn—a sweet little lamb that wiggles its tail, arches its back, and makes “baa-baa” noises when she pets it. I found two FurReal Newborn guinea pigs, but no hamsters. Unfortunately, I can't find the FurReal Newborn guinea pig toys being sold for a reasonable price online.

Christmas Gifts to Buy Instead of Zhu Zhu Pets: Playskool Kota & Pals dinosaur toys (price range: $15-$70). What's better than a pretend pet hamster? A pretend pet dinosaur, of course—one that moves and makes dinosaur sounds.

Christmas Gifts to Buy Instead of Zhu Zhu Pets: Webkinz stuffed animals, by Ganz (price range: $10 and up). Webkinz are more huggable than FurReal Friends and Kota & Pals toys (and Zhu Zhu Pets, I suspect) because they don't contain batteries; what they do contain is a secret code that grants access to a kid-friendly virtual world online, where your child's Webkinz will “come to life.” Webkinz come in just about every kind of animal imaginable...except for hamsters. Here is a Webkinz guinea pig and a Webkinz Lil' Kinz white mouse. (The Webkinz guinea pig, however, is selling for just as much as a Zhu Zhu Pet! Good grief!)

Christmas Gifts to Buy Instead of Zhu Zhu Pets: Zhu Zhu Pet look-alikes! Other furry hamster toys, such as these, might satisfy kids who like the idea of a pretend pet hamster but don't necessarily care if they get a brand-name Zhu Zhu Pet:
A cute hamster puppet, like this one.
A plush hamster toy with its own pet carrier, like this golden hamster and this brown hamster.
Ty Beanie Baby hamsters: “Pellet” and “Pecan.”
Other plush hamster toys: Mister Brown Hamster, Plush Brushy Hamster, Plush Lying Hamster.

If your child must have a hamster that moves on its own, check out these: A toy hamster that runs inside of a wheel, called the Happy Hamster Wheel Runner, and a toy hamster that runs inside of a ball--Hamusuta the Happy Hamster.

Christmas Gifts to Buy Instead of Zhu Zhu Pets: Walmart, Target, or Toys 'R' Us gift card. Put the child in charge of finding and buying his/her own Zhu Zhu Pet! Ha!

Happy hamster-hunting and Merry Christmas!

For more inexpensive Christmas gift ideas for children ($10 or less, no batteries required), click here.



  • Bobbi Leder - Houston Dogs Examiner 5 years ago

    Great alternatives. I used to have a Robo-dog.

  • halina zakowicz- madison craft beer examiner 5 years ago

    I like the idea of giving a kid a real rodent for Christmas! Hey, they're cute- until they bit ya, anyway! I like how they squeak when I used to play with them at the lab...

  • Cathy Montville 5 years ago

    Say "Plush Brushy Hamster" five times fast! Good job!

  • Anna Sanclement 5 years ago

    Whew! I am glad or daughter is still too small to ask for presents! But that will change soon enough... These alternatives you suggest are great ideas, though!

    Ft Lauderdale Science News Examiner
    Space News Examiner

  • Sherri Thornhill 5 years ago

    Yeah the Webkinz are still popular. I don't understand the Zhu Zhu pets, but then again I did not understand why people were dying over Cabbage Patch dolls either!lol Nice alternatives for Christmas gift ideas! I tweeted it:-)

    Dallas Generation X Examiner
    Kaufman County Crime Examiner

  • Loretta Arnold Raleigh Headlines Examiner 5 years ago

    Intelligent reporting on these Zhu Zhu alternatives.

  • Lorraine yapps Cohen, Denver Jewelry Examiner 5 years ago

    In my kid-less house, we have the real thing...unfortunately!

  • John Myers - LI City Guide Examiner 5 years ago

    Great read and nice suggestions Maria!

  • Jennifer Jones 5 years ago

    Great ideas!!

    Dallas Beauty Treatments Examiner & Dallas Volunteerism Examiner

  • Carol Roach 5 years ago

    I there nice to meet you here on the examiner, I just joined. I am out of the loop for these kinds of pets, but I enjoy your articles about them.

  • Kat - Dallas Ethnic Foods Examiner 5 years ago

    How did I not get notice of this? :( Hamusuta the Happy Hamster is worth buying for the name alone!

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