There seem to be more people enjoying Christmas this year. Consumer confidence is up and, as a result, so is Christmas spirit.
More people are shopping online than ever, but many people are also shopping “the old-fashioned way,” in real stores.
Toys R Us is no longer an option for toys, so Target, Kohl’s, Walmart, Amazon; even drug stores, supermarkets and gas stations have upped their toy game trying to absorb some of those sales.
But if you really want to feel Christmassy, shopping mom and pop shops will make you feel like you’re living in a Bing Crosby Christmas carol. Plus, you’ll get free gift wrapping, attentive service and knowledgeable employees to help you hand-pick unique gifts that are perfectly suited for each child on your list.
Here are some local options.
Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe, 1 West Main St. in Lancaster. The store has added more mainstream toys such as superhero action figures, LOL Dolls, Hatchimals and Kawaii Squishies.
It has traditional toys, such as puppets, and the latest fads, such as slime. It also has a gift registry where buyers get 10 percent off. Visit Bloomsburylanetoys.com or call 609-2002.
Raff and Friends, Eastern Hills Mall, 4545 Transit Road in Clarence. Child visitors can put their gift requests in the store’s “wish box” and the store will convert their wish list to an online gift registry.
The sprawling store has some of the season’s hottest toys, including LOL Dolls, Polly Pocket, Disney Doorables and Scruff-a-Luvs. Visit RaffandFriends.com or call 632-4202.
Clayton’s Toys, 5225 Main St. in Williamsville. This 102-year-old store still has carried over its five-and-dime section with little, inexpensive doodads.
While many small toy stores focus on plainly educational toys, here there’s an additional emphasis on learning through good, old-fashioned play. There’s a big selection of dolls, trucks, magic sets, plush animals, costumes and games. There are also unique gifts such as matryoshka dolls. Visit claytonstoystore.wordpress.com or call 633-1966.
The Toy Loft, 719 Main St., East Aurora. You likely already know about Vidler's 5 & 10 across the street. But this place is a destination in itself. Check out its fun toys such as scented, slow-rising Squash Buddies, Pinch Me Therapy Dough or children’s slap band watches and karaoke machines. Visit Facebook.com/toyloft or call 652-3277.
The TreeHouse Toy Store, 793 Elmwood Ave. Open since 1996, it’s a staple in the Elmwood Village. It carries a wealth of educational toys, fun science kits, rockets, Legos, pretend play toys, dolls, games and craft kits. Visit TheTreeHouseToyStore.com or call 882-1322.
Made in America Store. Its toy section includes such classics as TinkerToys and Pik-Up Stiks, as well as more modern games, crafts, kits and sports accessories. There are locations in the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, Boulevard Mall, Walden Galleria, McKinley Mall, Eastern Hills Mall and its flagship store at 1000 West Maple Court in Elma. Visit MadeInAmericaStore.com or call 652-4872.