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Available in avocado shapes, as Disney characters and cuddly animals, Squishmallows are the latest soft toy craze, and the market for these oversized, pear-shaped plushies ranges from toddlers to 20-something-year-olds like me.
The hype over Kellytoy’s Squishmallow plushies really hit peak popularity in 2020, and the brand says it has sold more than 100 million of these huggable toys since launch. Most recently they debuted a Pokémon-themed collection with a Pikachu and Gengar-themed plush making an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con.
Though Squishmallows have won the hearts of millions of followers, one might find it rather weird why fully-grown adults like me love purchasing these stuffed animals (some have even turned into die-hard collectors in their quest to land that perfect plushie).
My own obsession with these stuffed creatures started a year ago when I was wandering around my local Duane Reade and came across huge, animal-themed plushies in various colors and types. After quickly inspecting the tag and learning that these cuddly toys were called Squishmallows, I was incredibly intrigued — mainly because of their abnormally large sizes and secondly because of their soft, pillow-like material.
I quickly went home and googled the term, getting caught in a web of articles about these giant stuffed toys. I read that there were hundreds of different Squishmallow types available and you could purchase them at your local drug store or even at Target, Amazon or Walmart.
I tried convincing myself my New York City apartment had rather limited space for me to store a giant 12 or 24-inch plushie and that I was too old to be collecting stuffed animals. But at this point, I’d already grown to love these marshmallow-soft plush toys.
I love that each Squishmallow is designed to have a different personality and name — the tag on each plush lets you know the story behind each toy. I love that people all over the world would spend hours at their local Target ‘squishunting’ for their ideal toy. And, I love that these odd-sized plushies provided comfort to both kids and adults alike during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many shoppers have also talked about how Squishmallows help with their anxiety. I was curious, considering there hadn’t been any studies done (yet) about how these squish toys helped with rising stress levels or chronic anxiety. I’ve suffered from anxiety all my life and struggled with dealing with it, to the point where the mere thought of the next day used to keep me up at all hours of the night. For someone who’s tried everything from breathing exercises to CBD, the idea of a simple stuffed animal helping with my high-stress levels sounded almost like a far-fetched dream. Nevertheless, I decided to take the plunge and shop for a Squishmallow myself.
It’s been over a year now since I’ve owned a Sqishmallow and I can safely say that while I still deal with anxiety and stress on a daily basis, I’ve been able to sleep much better while hugging my soft toy against my chest. It’s similar to the feeling I get when I sleep under a weighted comforter or blanket, designed to deliver deep pressure stimulation — the feeling of being hugged that relaxes your nervous system.
That’s not the only reason adults like me flock to these giant stuffed plush toys. Ever since their conception, Squishmallows’ rise in popularity has also made them a rather rare commodity, especially due to the fact that you can only purchase current collections on the main Squishmallow website. This means every past release is only available through third-party retailers like Walmart, Target and Amazon or through resellers on sites like eBay. In fact, certain collector’s edition Squishmallows can retail for as much as $999.99, like this limited edition Jack the Cat Squishmallow available for bid on eBay. Some Squishmallows even retail higher than collectors edition Beanie Babies, making this the next must-have item for those looking for high-ticket collectibles that appreciate in value.
Even if you’re not looking to spend more than the original retail price on these stuffed animals (12-inch Sqishmallows retail at $19.99), there are still many available Squishmallows available for you to shop. I originally purchased my Squishmallow on Amazon, mainly because I happen to be a Prime member and didn’t want to be charged a hefty shipping free for my new toy.
Amazon is an easy way to shop for your new plush toy, and the e-tailer has a wide selection of available Squishmallow collections, types and sizes — albeit usually at a slightly higher price tag. Right now, you can shop this adorable 14-Inch Blue Jay Squish toy named Babs. Babs weighs close to two pounds and can be hugged, squeezed and squished right out of the box. Squishmallows are known for their soft ‘marshmallow-like texture,’ designed to be hugged straight against your chest while you’re seated and anxious on an airplane or when you’re struggling to fall asleep at night.
While 14 inches might seem slightly large for a plush toy, Squishmallows are actually available in even larger 24-inch sizes. If you’re looking for something more travel-friendly, you can even purchase 3.5-inch clip-on Squishmallows or slightly larger five-inch Squishmallow.
Squishmallow Mystery Plush boxes are extra popular, where you might get any plush from a certain collection. This five-inch Mystery Plush hails from the popular food series, where you might even catch a cappuccino-themed Squishmallow — honestly, half the fun is guessing which one you’re going to get.
My personal favorite is the Disney Squishmallow collection and I especially love this 14-inch Peek-a-Pooh Plush. It’s super soft, weighs about 1.5 pounds and is an officially licensed Disney product. You can even complete the collection with the Eeyore plush (which I own and love) designed accurately off of the real Disney character, even including its wide flappy ears.
There are even non-binary Squishmallows available that identify with they/them pronouns if you don’t want to gender-type your new plush. There’s something available for everyone and as of right now, Kellytoy has over 1,000 Squishmallow character types available, in 12 different sizes. Start shopping for your new soft toy at Amazon, Walmart or Target.
As for me, while my Squishmallow collection is growing at a rapid pace, there may also be a time where I stop buying these stuffed toys. And it has nothing to do with getting over my anxiety or selling off my collection either: in my tiny New York studio apartment, space is scare for Squishmallows and so I recently started shipping them to my parents’ home in New Jersey — something they were not exactly fond of. In fact, they have forbidden me from ordering any more Squishmallows, citing the boxes (and stuffed toys) that would undoubtedly be piling up at their place. At the end of the day, I may be a fully-grown adult woman, but when it comes to Squishmallows at my parents’ place, they still call the shots.