Before we dig in, reader, a humble request: don't shoot the messenger. Yeah, it's only September. Yeah, the leaves have just started to turn colors. But do you feel the chill in the wind? That can only mean one thing. In just a few weeks, it'll be Halloween, and then barely any time will pass before Grey Thursday and Black Friday arrive, and before you know it, it'll be Christmas. As a result, Target, Amazon, and Walmart have all unveiled predictions for the hottest toys of 2018.

Yes, it's probably a harsh slap in the face to start thinking about unwrapping presents before you've even enjoyed your first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year. But winter is coming, and with it comes the bane of every parent's existence. Christmas lists.

If you want to be a savvy shopper, you should know what you're on the hunt for, lest you have to wake up at 3AM and drag yourself to the nearest Target to wait in line for this year's Tickle Me Elmo or Hatchimal or SNES Classic. Or, even worse, paying a 600% markup on eBay because you thought to yourself, "No, I shan't, 'tis far too early to think of Christmastime." The stores have made the lists. Now it's up to you to check them twice and start considering what you'd potentially like to get. Your friends at Thrifter will be here to help you save some money on 'em when the time comes.

First up, let's start with Target. The retailer announced that over 2,500 new and exclusive toys will grace shelves in its stores for the holidays. Unsurprisingly, there's a big emphasis on surprise toys, with a mysterious "new surprise from Hatchimals" coming soon, a Target-exclusive Party PopTeenies Mega Party Surprise Set, and an L.O.L. Bigger Surprise that'll probably sell out faster than Kris Jenner. There's also a new Plush Fingerling to look forward to. Hoverboards will potentially be making a comeback as well. Don't forget your free Target REDcard when shopping this year for your extra 5% discount and free shipping.

Next, over at Amazon, the Top 100 Toys are ready to go too. The L.O.L. Bigger Surprise is listed there, and the retailer also shone a giant spotlight on the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall Set. The tech-obsessed will find fun in the LittleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit, and your little Pokemon trainer will probably love the Pokemon Elite Trainer Box. You can look over all of Amazon's Top 100 Toys if you'd like some more inspiration.

Finally, over at Walmart, there are some more goodies vying for your attention. These toys are top rated by (shudder) kid influencers, so chances are your little one has seen 'em all over YouTube. One silver lining is that the list was narrowed down to the Top 40 instead of the Top 100, so there's a little less information to sort through. There's an L.O.L. Surprise! House, which is separate from the "bigger surprise" that other stores mentioned. The Imaginext Jurassic World Rex made an appearance here, too. Another fun featured toy is the Incredibles 2 Jack Jack Action Doll.

Basically, these toy lists are just here to get you thinking. The sales will come later in the year, and prices will be competitive as retailers scramble to take over the gaping hole that Toys R Us left behind. RIP, Geoffrey.

Did any of these catch your eye? Has your kid started talking about the Big Man from the North Pole yet? Hit us up on Twitter and let us know what you'll be looking for this holiday shopping season.

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