What Are "Fingerlings"? 2017's Hottest Holiday Toy Is Adorable, But Driving Shoppers Up The Wall

Readers, young and old, lend me your ears. There's still time to get those holiday gifts requests in; and if your list for Santa is looking a little barren, I've got what you need: teeny, tiny animals that hang from your fingers and even respond to you. This might just be 2017's answer to Hatchimals, and people are so obsessed that these things are selling out everywhere. So what are Fingerlings, and what's with all the hullabaloo?

If you want to have a companion by your side but can't exactly bring your 30-pound golden retriever with you everywhere you go, Fingerlings are the solution. Made by WowWee, it's a little animal that wraps around your finger; and there are six different monkeys available, a sloth, and a unicorn. Repeat: they have a sloth and a unicorn. If that doesn't seal the deal, I don't know what does.

These aren't just pointless toys that sit there and do nothing (*ahem* Beanie Babies). They respond to sound, touch, and motion. For instance, they react when you brush their hair back. And when you hang them upside down, they'll shake their head and giggle. I do something similar, under the same conditions. If you're carrying around more than one Fingerling, they'll even interact with each other.

They're able to make more than 40 sounds and animations, and will definitely make you feel better about not having any human friends. At least, that's been my experience.

Fingerlings are meant for people five years of age and older, but let's be honest: only a grown-up can truly appreciate having a best pal that can't talk back and is totally cool with never going out. You can find them for various retailers for around $14.99 — if you're lucky. People have absolutely gone bananas for these little friends; although to be fair, not everyone is a fan. When Insider posted about Fingerlings on Twitter, it got all sorts of reactions. Some people are already hooked.

Even people who hate them love them.

And then, there are the nonbelievers. The haters. The anti-Fingerlingers. They won't be asking Santa for any this year.

If you grew up in the '90s, Fingerlings may look familiar to you. Some people have drawn parallels between the trending toy and the '90s staple that haunted every child's dream: Furby. While there might be a slight resemblance, I find Fingerlings far less disturbing than Furby — although they might end up being just as popular (hopefully for better reasons).

Fingerlings owe some of their success to Walmart. The brand initially priced them at $20 a pop; but Walmart encouraged them to lower it. In exchange, they would buy 10 times more of the product. While the price reduction didn't happen immediately, it did happen, ultimately helping Fingerlings explode onto the scene. WowWee also harnessed the power of Facebook and YouTube to help spread the word about Fingerlings, relying on influencers and viral videos to share the joy. All of it worked; and you'll have a hard time finding one now, because they're flying off the shelves faster than stores can keep up.

Some places, like Target, are even limiting them to two per person — that is, if they have any left to begin with. Shoppers are racing to the stores to find the shelves empty. If you're desperate to get your kid (or yourself — no judgment!) one, don't forget to check eBay and Amazon, particularly for people who bought them and are trying to resell them. Yes, some of these people will try to rip you off and make a fortune. But it hopefully goes without saying that if you see a Fingerling online for $400, you should run in the opposite direction. Look for a good deal and grab it if you find it, because it probably won't be around long. And as always, watch out for fakes.