Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Unpaid Endorsement of My Holiday Haunts

by Ilina

With the holidays creeping upon us and beckoning us to the big box retailers, there are more than a few ideas brewing my
head to keep it local this year. I'm making my list and checking it twice. Who am I kidding? I'm
not checking it at all. It's all I can do to write the list down on a
scrap of torn envelope from my daily ration of junk mail. There are
some places I will hit this holiday season for sure. Keep in mind this
is not host of paid endorsements; these are independently owned
business that I happen love. I would love to know some of your faves, especially since mine are clearly Raleigh-centric! Here are a few of my favorite Triangle things.

Tookies Toys: Independently owned toy store in Cameron Village that carries an awesome selection of Playmobil
and other European brands. The wall of games is great, and the beefed
up science section leaves my six year old drooling. The best part is no
crazy testosterone laden shoot 'em up flaming, bursting, wheeling toys
that some "experts" think boys must play with. And hands down the best
looking wrapped gifts to boot! Did I mention free gift wrapping?

The Lollipop Shop: Did someone mention candy? This is a newcomer to North Hills that carries a mouthwatering buffet, I mean array, of old school candy and new fangled
treats. My sons love the wind up toys and teddy bear accessories. Deal
recently chose a fire chief hat for his little sidekick "Beary." Bird indulged in colorful rock candy and German-made gummi bears. The rainbow of M & Ms and wall of Jelly Bellys make me feel like, well, a kid in a candy store!

Marbles Kids Museum and Museum of Life + Science:
Wonderful places to wile away the hours, rain or shine. A museum
membership makes a dandy holiday gift (and a fantastic present to a kid
who's going to be a big brother or sister!). There are times we go to
Marbles twice in a week just because the boys want to embrace their
inner Scurvy Dog and Black Beard on the pirate ship or bang the drums
in "Brazil." The Life + Science Museum never disappoints. The bears are
always a kick, and the remote control sailboat racing makes us all
captain for a day.

Moxie Kids:
This is where the cool kids shop. Or in our case, this is where the
cool kids' grandfather shops. If you happen to see my sons looking
particularly snazzy, it's because they're sporting some Tea Collection
or Charlie Rockets garb from Moxie Kids. The store is chic and cute without being pretentious. The girls clothes are simply
breathtaking. It's almost worth having a baby girl just to shop there.

Cameron Village Library: Forget Cheers, this
is the place where everybody knows our names. When Bird turned one we
donated copies of his favorite books to the library to commemorate his
birthday. If you, like me, see the magic of books, donating to your
local library is a fine fine gift. Talk about the perfect gift for the
person who has everything and the gift that keeps on giving all wrapped
up in one handsome cliche package! Look for The Cat in the Hat at Cameron
Village Library with Bird's nameplate pasted in the cover.

One last thing...

Over the holidays and randomly throughout the year, we take a batch of cupcakes or brownies to the fine fire fighters at Station 6. They've come not once, but twice to save my little Deal (once when he was choking and a second time when he did this).
They literally saved my son's life. Twice. A few doses of sugar fail
miserably as a thank you, but think about it, nothing is grand enough
to show our gratitude for the best gift we have ever gotten.

Ilina blogs about her musings and sons' escapades at Dirt & Noise and supports local businesses in her off time. If you want to follow her non sequitors, follow her on Twitter @ilinap. She also somehow manages to run iFactor, her own marketing consulting business, and cooks home cooked meals every night. Almost.

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