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Shopping for toys is more than fun and games

November 2011

Shopping for toys for the holidays is both fun and frustrating. The fun part is that those of us who are still kids at heart can indulge our child-like impulses.

You can go into all those toy stores and not feel foolish playing with and ogling the stuff that kids get to play with these days and giggling at goofy things.

The frustrating part is having to choose things to buy. If the kids are not your own, it’s quite intimidating to even begin to guess what excites them at their age.

Forget the last century, when you brought a kid a sled, some building blocks or a board game. When you attempt this shopping trip in a huge toy store or the toy department of a large store, you can become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of products and the lack of help.

What to do? Go back to the small toy stores that you used to enjoy shopping in. You know—the ones where the proprietor knows his stock and knows what kids of each age like and what is selling this year. Shopping becomes a pleasure again when you are guided through the decision process by a scholar in the art of giving.

Kidlink opened in 1993, and this book/toy store is oriented toward children, but has items for all ages. They have an excellent reputation for an uncanny ability to choose just the right toy for a child and book for an adult.

For kids’ stuff, they concentrate on award-winning toys and games, music CDs and DVDs and arts and crafts. They choose products and toys with long-term value, and it all comes with free gift wrapping and excellent customer service.

To really make choosing a gift a breeze, starting right before the holidays, an entire wall of the store is set up with award-winning toys from Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

5604 Monkland. 514-482-4188.

Golteez Novelties stays on top of the latest toy trends and still has the time for personal help. If you want some of those hard-to-get toys, child/baby-safe ones for 3 and under, crafts or building sets, this is your store. Bath toys, classic board and strategy games are here along with Hello Kitty and Montreal Canadians T-shirts and piggybanks.

7013 Côte St. Luc. 514-486-6668.

Tour de Jeux was started on the premise of one-on-one service, where the staff can help you choose from educational or classic games. There are family group games, kids’ classics and strategic mind challengers.

There’s a wall of games with role-playing components like Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassone, Red Dragon Inn and Dominion. You’ll discover Schleich collectible Smurfs, animals and dinosaurs, jigsaw puzzles, baby things, Playmobil, Lego and the ageless chess, backgammon, cribbage and mahjong.

705 Ste. Catherine W., 514-845-1853; Centre Eaton Centre Rockland, 514-739-9037; Fairview Pointe Claire, 514-630-4886.



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