Zhu Zhu Pets are the new Cabbage Patch Kids. Share your thoughts!

Bridgette and I were ecstatic this week when the LA Times picked up our How to Score a Zhu Zhu Pet post.  Sweet!  After reading the Brand X article, I noticed a reader’s comment that brought about some valid questions.

latimes “Does just reading about this year’s Tickle Me Elmo make you feel tired?  The holidays are supposed to be a time to relax and have fun, not to get stuck running endless eleventh-hour errands to find elusive toy hamsters. We need to slow down Christmas, and start enjoying it. Kids need limits. This might be a good year to stick to 1 or 2 presents per kid under the tree, and focus on doing holiday activities together instead of buying all that junk. Just like there’s pressure to keep up with their classmates’ Christmas presents, my guess is if any of the other parents hear that you’ve opted out, they’ll be thrilled and relieved that they can do it too. Sanity is contagious.”

For some reason, we were not able to reply on the Brand X site, so we wanted to share our thoughts on this comment here.  We are NOT looking for a flame-throwing smackdown here, but we do want to know what other Moms think.   We feel as if the commenter has some valid points, but to illustrate our views, we wanted to share our stories:

Jennifer’s Story: I am 34 years old, and “the” toy when I was about 8 or so was the Cabbage Patch Doll. Bridgette and I lived across the street from one another and had another friend a few houses down.  They both had a Cabbage Patch doll and I didn’t….yet.  The reason I didn’t have one yet is because you couldn’t get one, much like the Zhu Zhu Madness going on right now.  I can vividly remember news footage showing rambunctious crowds of anxious mothers with their hands raised, clawing and fighting while store managers stood on ladders and tossed out Cabbage Patch boxes to the crowds.  If you caught one, you were lucky.  If you didn’t, you had to go home and break your child’s heart.  But from what I remember, you were just lucky if you didn’t get trampled!

cabbagepatch My parents were never the kind to try and keep up with the Jones’ but for some reason Mom decided that I had to have one like everyone else.  It was probably because she was tired of hearing me beg for one!   She called everywhere, no luck.  Finally, after a lot of persistence, she hit the jackpot.  There was a Zayre’s store right by the house (do they have Zayre’s anymore?) and they had one.  ONE.  Mom, my little brother, and I headed out early and were there when the doors opened.  The manager handed over the box encased in two shopping bags that were sealed shut so no one could see what we were getting or a riot might ensue.  Mom let my brother get the Star Wars Ewok village to keep it fair, and we checked out as fast as we could.  Mom told us that was our little “Out of school for the summer” present.  My Cabbage Patch doll is now in my daughter’s toy box.

Bridgette’s story: I am 35, so my childhood was filled with much of the same “must have items” as Jennifer’s.  I, too, reeeeaaallllyyyyy wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid, and even though my Mom and Jennifer’s Mom stood in line together to try and score a Kid, they turned up empty handed (but probably went out for coffee afterwards).  While she tried as hard as she could, it was my Grandmother who fought the crowd and was lucky enough to snag one for me.  I still remember that her name was “Esther Morgana.”  Who comes up with those names, anyway?!?  Geesh.

So the point in telling you all this is to say that both of these stories turned into fond childhood memories.  We are glad that we remember our Moms going the extra mile to try and get something we really wanted.  Thanks, Mom!  Was our perception of Christmas ruined because we got the dolls we wanted?  No!  Do we now know the true meaning of Christmas? Sure!  Did our families still have quiet time together to enjoy the holidays?  You bet!  When we look back at our memories of Christmas, we remember the “must-have” gifts, but more than that, we remember the Christmas lights, the family parties, and going to midnight Mass.

Bridgette and I found the commenter’s points to be very thought-provoking.  It brings about the question of  what lengths other parents will go to in order to get the “in” thing and do you think it is detrimental to your child?   For our children, Zhu Zhu Pets are within financial reason and are age appropriate, so we will gladly go through a little “endless eleventh hour errand”  to try and get them.  Matter of fact, I think I can speak for my  other cohort in Zhu Zhu crime (my friend Kellee) when I say we actually enjoyed our two hour stint in line at the Wal Mart!  We got to chat for two whole hours without being interrupted!  It was quiet!  We relaxed!  We had fun!  Plus, we got a few good laughs at ourselves while we were there.  When we left shortly after midnight to head home Kellee actually hollered out from across the empty parking lot, “Another memory has been made!”  It’s not like we waited in line to get our five year olds some Madonna tickets.  It was a toy!  And while Christmas IS completely about slowing down, spending time together, and of course remembering the real reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place,  it is also very much about going the extra mile for those we love.  If it’s an eight dollar hamster, I’ll do it.  If it’s the $3,500 bracelet my daughter circled in the latest Tiffany and Co. catalog, I am setting a limit.

The commenter says “Sanity is contagious.”  He is right, but to quote the wise philosopher Jimmy Buffet, “If we all couldn’t laugh we’d all go insane.”  So, if waiting in line for an eight dollar hamster gets my daughter to smile, and I had a good time doing it, I am sticking with Jimmy.

So please, comment and tell us your thoughts!  Do you try and get the “new” thing for the kids if that’s what they want?  Do you put your foot down and say no?   How much is too much?  We can’t wait to see what you have to say on the subject!

~Jennifer and Bridgette


  1. As Bridgette’s mom and Jeanne’s (Jennifer’s mom) cohort in the cabage patch caper, I can say without remorse that I have already started searching the internet for Zhu Zhu pets for the grandchildren. Not much luck there unless I want to spend $40. for the furry little rats (sorry- hamsters). So last year they got mini cabage patch kids and a few other well chosen Christmas gifts from Granny and Pops more as an emotional remembrance for me as I don’t think they were really impressed. So – what do you say Jeanne – are you up for a little Zhu Zhu challenge? I know you’re reading!What do you think, Walmart or Target? At least we could visit for a while!

  2. Jeanne Cook says:

    Diane, What I’m up for is coffee or lunch and talking about all these wonderful memories we have!!
    As much as I adore my 2 grandchildren, I don’t think I would stand in line for the latest craze toy. Each year, I try to decide on one large memorable gift and 2 smaller ones from Gramma and Gippy. I do remember doing everything humanly possible as a parent though to aquire that one “must have” item, and without fail, there was one every year! I vividly remember one year in particular anxiously awaiting a Cabbage Patch Preemie I ordered through Spiegel Catalog which didn’t arrive until Christmas Eve. I’m so glad to find out our girls are making the same memories we made. Merry Christmas!!

  3. Kinga the zhu zhu hamster fan says:

    My kids love thise zhu zhu hamsters. The favorite is Pipsquek the yellow hamster and the kids adore Numnums too. We will try the adventure ball I think.

  4. We tend to avoid the gimmick of the moment with the kids bc we realize they are just that, a gimmick. But sometimes the hottest toys are worthwhile…remember the Wii fiasco…yep, we got into it and it was the best thing I ever hunted down during Christmas.

  5. I never remember my mom or my grandma ever fighting crowds for that special “it” toy but I remember always being happy at Christmas. I did get a cabbage patch doll when I was about 8 but since my birthday is in Nov. I got the “it” present before most of my friends and my mom never had to fight anyone.

    I do set limits on my kids but I also try to do what I can to surprise them with something I know they will love. We limit the amount of gifts we give our kids and make the day more about family and spending time together. I have no problem telling my kids that something costs too much like when my son wanted the new Spike the dinosaur. I told him very plainly that mommy was not spending that kind of money on something he may lose interest in very quickly. However, I did tell him that I would be willing to get him a much smaller and less expensive version. He looked at it and so no thanks momma you can get me something else. Personally, I don’t think it’s horrible for kids to sometimes experience disappointment and the reality of life. If I catered to their every whim I’m setting them up for some big dissapointments as they get older and I don’t think that is fair to them. So I don’t stress and do what I can within reason and if they still want it for their birthday we can talk :).

    I’m not sure about this hamster craze I just don’t get it at all. I’m thankful that my kids haven’t really jumped on the bandwagon because I’m not sure I could bring myself to buy them.

  6. I remember cabbage patch kids.

    Holy crap I could do a whole post just on that…

    I’ll stop myself now.

  7. I love them. Haven’t got any yet, but they are on the list for Christmas.

  8. I think many fond memories are made from cool toys like this. I get that christmas is about MORE, but for kids, its ALSO about the toys. I think its cool, fun, and in no way ruins anyone.


  9. My family has never been into spending huge amounts of money for the holidays. That being said, I was lucky enough to win one of these Zhu Zhu pets, so I will be giving them as a gift this Christmas!

  10. I only buy practical gifts for Christmas. I really put a lot of thought into the gifts. I never buy a fad item or toy. Never have never will. But I did have 5 Cabbage Patch kids.

  11. I’ve never seen these before but after looking at them, they scare the mess out of me and I’d prefer a cabbage patch doll over one of these. LOL!

  12. I think an $8 toy is reasonable, but I would not wait in a two hour line. I am way to lazy for that. Luckily, my kid is not old enough for the toy craze thing yet. He is happy with what ever I give him.

  13. Gayle Clark says:

    Seriously, I had never even heard of these silly little “rats” as I refer to them. My friend’s daughter received the house for her birthday but no hamster to go along with it. I happened to be in Toys R Us the next day and they had 5 left. Decided I better grab them while I saw them since she was telling me how hard they are to find. All my son talks about now is wanting a Zhu Zhu pet and thankfully, by the grace of the lucky you got the toy gods, I got one for him and my daughter along with the house. I did give one to my friend’s daughter as well, but am so thankful I found them when I did, especially since I had not ever heard of these things. And yes, it does bring me back to the days of my Cabbage Patch kid. But see, we never forget those toys!

  14. I still have two of the original Cabbage Patch Kids. My grandmother was at the store and bought them not knowing they would be the hot toy for that year. I ended up with two that year. We have the entire Zhu Zhu set with hamsters and honestly, haven’t played with them since we got them. Well, once we did, but the kids lost interest after the course kept falling apart. The hamsters themselves are cute, but the constant putting back together of the tubes is beyond annoying more than anything. Now we are stuck with an entire box of Zhu Zhu pets that we are looking to gift or donate.

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  16. noone could ever replace cabbage patch kids nomatter what

  17. i like both

  18. The crazy thing about some of these fads is that the items sometimes keep their value over the years. Some vintage Cabbage Patch kids can go for a mint on eBay. Although, those auctions are probably fueled by all the kids who never got one when they were 8. 😉

  19. Christmas is about magic and memories. Traditions, spending time with family, baking cookies – that is the tradition. Watching your child open up that special gift on Christmas – that is magic. I gave my niece a Zhu Zhu pet and the car – I luckily didn’t have to wait on a long line or spend $$$ on it. But watching her surprise and awe when opening it … totally worth just *some* of the madness. Watching a child on Christmas is magic for us – and getting them a *fad* toy does not detract from it.

  20. The way I see it is if my kids should happen to catch the fever for something then I’ll try and pick it up from the store. If I score it…. great! If I don’t it’s not a big deal.

  21. 34 years old says:

    Just like there’s pressure to keep up with their classmates’ Christmas presents, my guess is if any of the other parents hear that you’ve opted out, they’ll be thrilled and relieved that they can do it too. Sanity is contagious.”


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