If A Toy Garden were a store in my neighborhood, I imagine it would be tucked away between the larger businesses, but something about it would call out to me -- perhaps there would be a ginger-colored cat napping in the sunlit window, or window boxes of red geraniums. A bell would jingle softly as I opened the green-painted door, and the proprietor, Sonya, would greet me with a friendly "just let me know if you need any help" and leave me to explore. The store would be packed from floor to ceiling with playtime treasures, and unexpected surprises around every corner. Most of it is easily affordable, so my only problem would be deciding what I want.
Fortunately, A Toy Garden is a store in all of our neighborhoods and we can get in with just a click of the mouse. While the store sells some items from the big European brands like Haba and Selecta, it also sells toys that I haven't seen anywhere else. For example, this beautiful wooden puzzle and this handmade felt castle play set. For those who are desperately seeking non-Chinese toys this season, A Toy Garden offers one of the best selections of fair trade toys and toys made in the USA, Europe, and Thailand, along with just a few really great toys that are made in China, but aren't available elsewhere.
Many of the toys have customer reviews right on the page, so you can see what other customers liked about the toys. The store is well-organized, but there are surprises in each category, so I feel the need to look through everything before placing my order. I think Sonya's views on play must echo my own. She has a wonderful selection of dress-up clothes, tons of play silks, beautifully illustrated books, an assortment of small dishes for play cooking, dolls, gnomes, blocks, art supplies, craft kits and so much more. Oh, how to decide.
But, I did it and now I'm just waiting for my order to arrive. I'll tell you about our new toys when they get here, and you can bet I'll be doing Christmas shopping here, too.
A Toy Garden has generously given us a coupon code: STB1007, is good for 10% off, until the end of 2007. Sonya says "Remind folks to use my Gift Registry so they can fill it in and then share it with their relative and friends so their children will receive toys they'll love to have in their homes. I always offer FREE GIFT WRAP, and FREE SHIPPING for orders over $200. My customers always enjoy these two offers."
I've heard a lot of moms complain that the relatives give tons of plastic junk for Christmas and birthdays. And gift registries can help with this. You can say, "If you are looking for ideas, I have a wish list at (insert store of your choice) that has the kind of toys I wish little (insert child's name) had to play with." I think most relatives have no clue, so they go into their discount store and ask a customer with kids "What do you think my grandson would like?" So, making it easy is a good way to get what you want.