Christmas is nearly upon us so kids will soon be writing their letters to the big man at the North Pole.

It means a lot of parents will be left scratching their heads at what’s been included on this year’s Dear Santa lists.

If you’re confused by the new-fangled must-haves for 2018 and haven’t a clue why you kids are so excited that they may actually stop playing Fortnite for five minutes to unwrap their presents on Christmas morning, don’t despair.

Here’s a handy guide courtesy of online marketplace to 12 of this year’s hottest toys that will be on many a child’s wishlist.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall, £89.99

Fun for little Harry Potter fans as the boy wizard and his friends get put into brick form in this superb representation of the Great Hall. It features various characters and props from the magical realm so they can create their own adventures. An added bonus with this one is building it should keep them occupied for several hours – though you might get roped into the construction too.

Creator Pirate Roller Coaster, £64.99

If Lego is still their thing but more pirates than witches and wizards, this is quite likely the set they’ll be asking Father Christmas for. It's a functional rollercoaster with pirate-themed props, including a sunken galleon, skull archway, palm tree and an octopus. The working carriages are shark-themed and the ride’s main drop has a water splash feature and a cannon that fires water elements. Other features include a ticket booth and a balloon stand.

Myla the Magical Make-up Unicorn, £44.99

Now any child can be a super stylist having hours of fun with the magic make-up brush. Select any colour from the palette, apply it to Myla’s horn, eyes, and wings and then watch as they light up in that colour. Other features include a microphone, so they can sing-along with Myla. A good choice if you don't want little ones smearing your walls or clothes with actual cosmetics.

Toot-Toot Friends Kingdom Pirate Ship, £39.85

More pirate fun with this interactive ship that can open up to reveal a treasure island play set. It comes with three Toot Toot Friends characters - Captain Monty, Sailor Stanley and Monkey – who can be placed on the MagicPoint location for fun responses. Discover the island, battle the octopus and find the treasure chest.

Leap Start Leap Frog, £37.49

An educational toy so it might be Santa has to put this into his sack himself rather than it being asked for. The new LeapStart device is recommended for school readiness with its interactive 3D-like display and touch-and-talk games to deepen the learning through a combination of video, audio and print.

Playmobil Family Fun 9060 Aquarium with Fillable Water Enclosure, £42.49

If your kids love visiting places like London Aquarium, this is a great toy to bring the fun home. There is a viewing area with rotating platform and a cave to watch all the animals swimming underwater, the performer is ready with her bucket of fish to show the crowds the seal performance with a ring to jump through, and the information board shows visitors the various feeding times, with a clock to show the current time. As the title says, it comes with a fillable water enclosure, so watch out for any splashes.

Baby Alive Real as Can Be, £74.99

Things have moved on a bit from Tiny Tears. This doll has more than 80 lifelike movements, expressions and real baby sounds, and it responds to a child’s voice and touch by turning towards the sound when spoken to. If baby makes fussy noises, put on her bib and give her a bottle as she makes slurping and drinking sounds. Then pat her back to hear her burp. And after playtime, this baby can nap with your child too.

Nerf Laser Ops Deltaburst, £49.99

Expect a noisy house on Christmas Day thanks to this blaster and its live-action laser battles. The blaster fires a multi-shot infrared burst with each pull of the trigger and registers hits with lights and sounds. An LCD screen on the back displays health status and ammo capacity. With the Nerf Laser Ops smartphone app they can access real-time battle intel that allows them to customise the blaster, track their performance, earn power-ups, and locate opponents during battle. It might turn your home into a real-life Fortnite arena, but at least it gets them on their feet.

FurReal Friends Ricky the Trick Loving Pup, £134.99

Ricky’s full of surprises and affection, and responds with 100-plus sound and motion combinations that keep kids guessing. He’s all about tricks, licks, and treats. He can balance his bone toy on his nose and, with a voice command, flip it into his mouth. Reach for his paw and he’ll raise it for a friendly handshake. When he’s excited, he’ll shuffle his paws and bark happily. Great fun without the mess of having a real dog.

Barbie Careers Care Clinic Ambulance Play, £48.58

As with Lego, it’s another classic toy of Christmas past that keeps reinventing and staying popular. Aspiring doctors can respond to calls and deliver the care with the Barbie care clinic, which is both an ambulance vehicle and hospital playset in one with more than 20 themed pieces. Roll the ambulance to the rescue and activate the working lights and siren with a button, then lift the lever at the back of the vehicle to instantly transform the ambulance into a care clinic with three distinct areas.

Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash, £49.99

Toy cars on another level. The unique corkscrew design sends cars flying around the track at dizzying speeds and crashing and smashing through the triple loop with three high-action crash zones and three high-speed boosters.

Shimmer and Shine, Shine and Zoomdust, £44.99

You may have seen this cute TV show on Nick Jr or Channel 5 about twins and trainee genies Shimmer and Shine who grant wishes for their best friend Leah. Inspired by the show, these Zahracorn toys come to life with realistic fluttering wings along with more than 35 sounds, phrases and songs. Also, when kids bring the genie dolls close to the Zahracorns, the creatures will give them a sweet nuzzle and kiss.