Gifts for those children who have been nice
BY WENDY ALTSCHULER For Sun-Times Media
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Don’t pull out your hair in frustration while trying to find the ideal holiday gift for every kid on your list. With a little due diligence, the children in your life will receive the best gift matched purposely to their personalities and interests.
Peek at these toy store leaders and their suggested popular items that are sure to sell this season:
The stuff that makes holiday dreams
Walking around Beanstalk in Highland Park will grow any Grinch’s heart three sizes. This majestic toy store has something for every hopeful child in the family. What’s more: the shop offers top brands as well as competitive prices, and they will wrap and deliver your purchases free of charge.
Here are selections that are going to be big this year:
“For girls, the Majestic Mansion Doll House by Kid Kraft is a perfect choice. At 5 feet tall, this doll house works really well with Barbies, and it includes a chandelier, elevator and a garage,” said Alyson Pedowitz, buyer at Beanstalk.
“For boys, Magna Tiles has a brand-new 48-piece set,” Pedowitz said. “It is a must for the child who loves to construct and build. This set includes pieces that can transform the child’s inventions into cars as well.”
“Toddlers will love the Scramble Bug, a safe ride-on toy. This year they have added some really fun new colors to the mix,” said Pedowitz. “The Scramble Bug works well on carpet or hardwood floors and folds up nice and compact when the child is done playing.”
For more information, visit www.beanstalktoyland.com.
Make it personal
For unique and handmade gifts, visit Little Piggies & More, located in Northbrook. Purchase gifts online, and free gift-wrap is included with every order.
“Personalized gifts are always well-liked for the holidays. It makes the recipient feel special,” said Dori J. Mages, owner of Little Piggies & More. “With a name like Dori, I could never find my name on items. I love seeing my clients’ smiles when they see their names on their unique gifts. Gifts that are personalized are always memorable.”
Mages is also a licensed private practice clinical social worker in Deerfield, which gives her an interesting insight into how receiving a personalized gift might make a child feel.
“As a social worker, I know that special gifts also build self esteem. I have had clients tell me that their teenager still loves using the personalized gift they received as a baby,” Mages said.
For more information, visit www.littlepiggiesandmore.com.
Something for everyone
Snickelfritz Toys, a Vernon Hills family-owned and operated independent toy store, has a colossal variety of toys. If you have a particularly difficult-to-buy-for child on your holiday shopping list, this shop is sure to hit the mark.
“This year we have added at least a dozen new toy companies to our already large selection of brands,” said Carol VanDeHoef, owner and buyer at Snickelfritz Toys. “We are really well stocked for the holiday toy season.”
Spooner Boards, an amalgam of a skateboard, surfboard and a snowboard, are really trendy this season.
“You can use them inside, outside, on carpet, grass, snow or concrete,” said Rachel Bailey, store employee.
Another must-have gift is a Duct Tape craft kit from Alex.
“Duct Tape crafting has become very popular, and there are a lot of decorative duct tapes available,” said Bailey. “What is really great about these kits is that they teach you how to work with the duct tape and how to make the different items.”
A classic gift that is sure to please most children is a Lego set.
“They are great for promoting creativity and imagination and they come in themes that appeal to just about everyone,” Bailey said.
“The best part about working at a locally owned toy store during the holidays is being able to provide personal service and to help parents and gift-givers find that perfect gift: a toy that is engaging enjoyable and sometimes even educational,” said Bailey.
For more information, visit www.snickelfritztoys.com.