Improve your odds of scoring one of this year's hot holiday gifts

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - If you're hunting high and low for a hot holiday gift -- like a Fingerling, Hatchimal, or classic Nintendo -- there are things you can do to boost your odds of finding one.

Josh Keller, assistant manager of the Target in Newport, says every morning customers get there early in search of the hottest toys this holiday season. Among them? Fingerling toy monkeys, LOL Big Surprise Dolls, and the Super Nintendo Classic Edition game console.

The trick? timing your shopping trip to get there right after a new shipment.

"Right now we're taking anywhere from five to seven trucks a week, so it be anywhere, we don't know what we're getting, it's what the distribution sends to us, but it could be anywhere on those five to seven trucks," Keller said.

So how do you know the best time to check the shelves? Well, there are some websites that could help.

You can search for Fingerlings, and you'll see where they could be in stock near you. But Keller says that information may not be up-to-the-minute.

"They'll say we have five or six things, when realistically, maybe we got that in the morning, but we sold through them, or we never actually received that product," he said.

The Simply Money point: You may have to be willing to invest the time to hit stores early (and often).

So what's your best bet? Well, those websites give you an idea where to start, but the key is getting to stores early, even before they open. For hot toys, managers will often hand out tickets to people in line until they're out of that item.

But if you're thinking about buying a bunch of Fingerlings or LOL dolls to turn for a profit on eBay, think again. Most stores -- including Target -- limit hot toys to "one per customer."

And if you're thinking of avoiding stores altogether to buy a hot toy online, be careful. Counterfeit Fingerlings are a real problem this year, even on sites like Amazon and e-Bay.

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