Christmas Shopping: Independent toy shops can offer surprising special gifts

Two-year-old Zahara El-Salahi with the Melissa & Doug Giraffe, �68.99

Two-year-old Zahara El-Salahi with the Melissa & Doug Giraffe, �68.99

SHOPPING for kids at Christmas is perhaps the most stressful part of the whole festive season.

They know what they want – television adverts have been memorised, catalogues thumbed through until the photos are worn, the letter to Santa longer and more technological than the previous year – but you know what the old man in the red suit really wants to give them. And it doesn’t come from the Apple store.

But even though their demands can prove a headache, it is still possible to shop for kids’ stuff without having to resort to Toys R Us and Argos. Yes, they could probably give you almost everything in one fell swoop, but why not dare to venture elsewhere and discover gifts your kids might not have realised they wanted until they open their presents on Christmas Day?

Edinburgh has many independent toy stores – from the veteran Toys 
Galore in Morningside which has been giving children exactly what they want for 30 years – to the new kid on the block, Cloudberry in Barnton. There’s the magical Helios Fountain in the Grassmarket with fillers to stuff any stocking, and the aptly-named Wonderland in Lothian Road for those with a more creative twist, or who just like remote controlled vehicles.

Of course, if you really have decided your kid needs a mobile phone/
laptop/iPad this year, then fair enough. But how about some marbles instead? At least then you know you won’t lose yours charging up some new-fangled piece of technology every half hour.




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