Out with screens and in with nostalgia: the top toy trends for Christmas 2016

As another Christmas approaches, it would seem there's a direct correlation between the recent seismic shifts in world order and toy buying, as parents look to the comforting icons of their childhoods for Christmas this year. It's a shift noticed by the trend-watchers, with eBay's Megan English saying there's a move away from screen-based toys in favour of gifts that require nurturing and care, as well as active toys.

She says Hatchimals are the toy no-one saw coming. They were launched in October to little fanfare and zero predictions about their popularity, then just exploded.

"They're really a Furby in a Kinder Surprise," which explains their sudden popularity. Some of the most popular YouTube videos for kids are Kinder Surprise reveals, so these are extension of that surprise factor.

Tech is still a huge focus. Megan notes that a lot of the toys such as Pokemon and Hatchimals are just our old favourites with a tech boost. "The move away from screens is quite stark this Christmas. Kids are using screens at school to learn, so a return to good old fashioned interactivity is something parents are very excited about."

"Nostalgia is always there in gifting trends..." says Megan, "...however this year I think it has really ramped up, possibly due to unusual political shifts and also the acknowledgement that technology plays an amazing role in our lives but isn't everything." Parents are looking for simple toys that brought them joy as a kid, to give to their own children in uncertain times.

In terms of movie trends, Star Wars and Troll dolls are going to be huge this year. "If it's big at the movies, it's big under the Christmas tree," says Megan, adding that Trolls are the new Elsa for this year. Of particular note is the move away from gendered toys, with Star Wars making more effort to engage female fans and Troll toys being unisex.

People are also making a return to family fun with board games. Pie Face is at the top of many a wishlist this year, with eBay anticipating selling one every five minutes in the lead up to Christmas.

One of the few toys this year that uses a phone is the Selfie Stick where kids can make their very own music video while singing into a mic, with the phone filming. Nerf guns are as popular as ever, with two new models hitting shelves as we speak.

A motorised Razor scooter for ages 8+ is predicted to be a top seller for older kids whose wishlists tend to centre on increased independence and active socialising. Older kids will also be unwrapping robots this year with the R2D2, Wow Wee Chip Robot Dog and Zoomer Chimp all hot search items right now.

Click through the gallery of eBay's toy trend picks for Christmas 2016 to see what toys are going under Australian Christmas trees this year.