This year, I noticed a huge disparity in my shopping experiences. The beginning of my Christmas shopping began with online and big-box stores. But as the free shipping window closed and time was running out, I needed a few more gifts, so I hit the local stores.
After joining the mobs at larger stores, I was relieved with the calm and pleasant atmosphere of our local shops. There's an element of small-town shopping you just can't get at the national chains. Call it age or nostalgia, but red and white warehouses and yellow smiley faces promising low prices just can't replace a welcoming shop owner.
During the next few days, I will take a look at finds for toys, locally made goods and jewelry right here in Newtown.
Toys were first on my list. From educational to joke toys, stores in town are stocked with goodies to satisfy children of all ages, and here are some recommendations.
is located in Sandy Hook Center, with street parking and a lot in back. This charming building has its shelves stuffed with the latest Legos, plus old-fashioned dolls and board games.
From bead kits (starting at $3.99) to Les Cheries dolls ($44.99), there are a variety of choices for girls. For the boys on your list, check out the Smithsonian airplane model ($12.99) or Jokes on You kit ($19.99). The store even has items for teens, such as puzzles and logic games, jewelry and beaded hanging light fixtures ($69.99).
Plaza South, located just south of Sand Hill Plaza, is home to Good Ideas, a parent teacher store. In addition to a vast amount of teaching material, this new shop has toys for children toddler age through teens.
For toddlers, Kimochi's Cat ($24.99) teaches kids about different feelings and emotions in a playful way. GeoBingo ($19.99) pairs a classic game with geography for students of any age. And for that hard-to-please teenage daughter, browse the store's supply of trendy locker decorations, including magnetic wallpaper ($19.99), mini chandeliers and tiny rugs, all made to fit in school lockers.
For me, slowing down to remember the reason for this season of giving has included visiting some of our town's local shops, where the pace seemed a little slower and the faces comfortingly familiar.