Our Christmas this year was dominated by the toy that has every French school-boy under the age of ten going nuts. They call it Toupie; and they play Toupie at breaktime, Toupie at lunchtime, Toupie after school and Toupie at home.
It’s like a perpetual conker season without the conkers (buck eyes).
A toupie is literally just a spinning-top but thanks to a successful Manga cartoon series named Beyblade they have become the new must have toy to do battle with.
The reason for their success lies not just in the TV tie-in but in the quality of the toy itself. Beyblade tops are made from steel and plastic parts that can be dismantled and rebuilt, meaning that kids can try out different configurations or swap parts in the playground.
Much like conkers, the idea is that you do battle against other tops, ideally in an arena of some sort (in other words a plastic bowl), and the winner is the top that spins for the longest.
The game seems to have zero appeal for girls however. My little niece just could not understand the Toupie obsession that seemed to grab her two cousins, uncle and grandfather on Christmas Day.
Naturally we were very pleased that the letters to father Christmas did not include requests for Nintendos, mobile phones, tablet PCs or portable media players – for one thing spinning tops are far cheaper. One wonders though how long it will be before our kids start pining for high-technology.
Happily one of our offspring, who has already written to Santa with his requests, says that all he wants for Christmas 2012 is more toupies.