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Fashion / Holiday

Holiday Shops

A Houston Toy Store That Adults Love, Too — Step Inside a Real Santa’s Wonderland

BY // 12.23.15

For many, the holiday gifting process is a frenzied affair. What will satisfy the girl who has everything, the guy who wants nothing, and the children who want it all? And more importantly, where are those perfect gifts hiding? PaperCity has selected a range of Houston shops brimming with Yuletide treasures, and we’re letting you in on the bounty. It’s our way of making your shopping experience a little easier and a lot more fun.

We’ll tell you about some of our favorite merchants, and share gift recommendations from the people who make the stores special. Today, we take you to Toys To Love.

Legend has it that Santa’s workshop is stationed at the North Pole. But after a visit to local toy emporium Toys to Love, I’m convinced that Saint Nick’s warehouse has actually been nestled in a Post Oak Blvd. shopping center all along.

If Santa hasn’t been tapping the Toys to Love stock for his annual world tour, he should definitely reconsider. Owner Bailey Kinney has managed to stay on top of all things toys, stocking everything from traditional products like collectible dolls to action-packed options like the Two Bros Bows (a kid-friendly bow and arrow created by actual brothers).

I try to buy items that are different from the big-box toy store. We want to stay on the trends while remaining unique at the same time,” explains Kinney. 

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Dolls from Madame Alexander are some of Toys to Love’s bestsellers.

The shop’s envy-worthy toy collection isn’t the only thing that makes TTL one of our favorite stops for the holiday season. We know that when you’re on the final leg of an exhausting shopping marathon, the details really matter. Luckily, Kinney leaves no stone unturned (she’s even created her own holiday catalog).

Our customers are shoppers who are looking to buy a special gift and have a nice shopping experience, all at the same time. Most of our customers enjoy having us assist them and give them advice on the correct toy for a particular child. They also love the fact that our gift wrapping is complimentary and we help customers to their car. Our staff enjoys getting to know our customers and the children in their lives,” says Kinney. 

The vivacious owner shares some of her favorite toys, top gift picks and more:

THE BEGINNING.
Toys to Love was started 25 years ago by Cindy Beckham. Cindy had a passion for toys and children, and she grew the business from the ground up. I bought the store eight years ago. I was an education major and have always loved working with children. Before I bought the store, I was a toy sales rep for mom and pop stores for nine years and learned the ins and out of buying, selling and running a business.

Toy sales were a perfect fit for me, because I am still a kid a heart and love watching the impact of a quality, educational toy on a child. There is nothing more exciting than to see a child light up and use their imagination as they interact with toys.

FAVORITE TOYS?
I have to say, I’m a huge fan of any of our outdoor toys. I feel kids need to be outside as much as they can and get away from the video games that surround them. The Swurfer Swing is amazing to me, because it can work for so many ages and is innovative and new. I have always loved the Ezy Roller as well, because it provides exercise while the kids are having a blast.

I also love all of our crafts, especially the Yarn Tree, paper bowls, Aquabeads and Trace and Draw. 

The baby toys we carry are so wonderful and updated. I love selling and showing toys for babies, because it could be one of the first toys they play with.

WHAT ARE YOU GIFTING THIS CHRISTMAS? 
I am gifting fun crafts and board games. I think that, during the holidays, crafts and games are fun to do with friends and family. It is important for parents to interact with their children during the the holiday break. I treasure that time with my children.

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Dinosaurs galore at Toys to Love

TOP 10 TOYS TO LOVE GIFT PICKS:
1. The Swurfer Swing — this is a new, hot swing for your front or backyard. It is wooden, and you can swing normally or surf on it.
2. Joki Hammocks — it’s a hanging pod for your children’s rooms or outdoors. Kids can get in the pod or swing on it.
3. Remote Control R2D2 — A blow-up remote control R2D2 that’s easy to use and fun for all ages.
4. The Yarn Tree  — an older craft for girls; it allows them to make their own jewelry tree.
5. Turbo Twister — a perfect remote control light-up twisting car for all ages; it is durable and easy to use.
6. The Quadcopter — this drone flyer is great for older boys.
7.  The Ezy Roller and Drifter — wonderful fun ride-on toy for ages 4 to 14.
8.  Kick Scooter — three-wheeled scooters for ages 2 to adult. They are durable and smooth.
9.  The Bells Game — a great game of hand and eye coordination that’s fun for the entire family
10. Legos of all shapes and sizes

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SHOPPING LOCAL? 
I truly believe in shopping local. Our economy in Houston depends on it, and our stores are one of the main attractions that make Houston special and make people want to visit and support the economy here.  

TOYS AREN’T FOR CHRISTMAS ONLY. WHAT ARE SOME OTHER HIGHLIGHTS CUSTOMERS CAN LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEW YEAR? 
Our Easter season is different from any other store. We make custom Easter baskets that are filled with whatever items customers choose to put in them. We let them leave the basket at the store, and they can pick it up the week of Easter. We also love summer camp. Our store turns into a Camp Store in April, and we sell items children need off of the camp list. We also ship packages to the camp, a bonus for parents.

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