Looking for last-minute gifts for kids? Here are seven shops that could save Christmas

Are We There Yet? Do not panic, there is plenty of time left to buy presents

There is still time to pick up some delightful presents for Christmas morning.

There is still time to pick up some delightful presents for Christmas morning.

 

The good thing about my kids thinking I am deeply uncool, slightly unhinged and a bit of a bore – quite multi-tasking of me to manage to be all of these things at the same time – is that they don’t read this column.

This means I can tell you about some of the gifts they may find themselves unwrapping on Christmas Day. I am not one of those people who has everything done and dusted by the end of November. This weekend you’ll see me flustered and flapping around Dublin town as I get what are traditionally known as “the last of my bits”.

Thank goodness then for certain small shops around Dublin that I always visit in the knowledge that they will offer up great presents that I otherwise would not find. And not forgetting their equivalents outside of the capital.

Here are the shops that, when it comes to kids, could save Christmas if you’re not as organised as certain other people or even if you just to need to add a little last-minute magic to the season of giving.

Happy Christmas (and happy shopping).

Dublin

This Wonder Woman door wedge from Mira Mira is €17
This Wonder Woman door wedge from Mira Mira is €17

Mira Mira, Sandymount, Dublin 4

If you are looking for original and crowd-pleasing gifts, you won’t go wrong with the treasure trove that is Mira Mira in Sandymount. As a little girl I spent a lot of time there in what used to be Miss Roddy’s shop buying penny sweets and pink cake. These days Mira Mira is a great place to find cool kids’ stuff and if you are looking for emergency presents, I guarantee you’ll find something here from quirky night lights to gorgeous kids’ clothes. I really like their “wedgie” doorstops (€17) and this Wonder Woman one is brilliant. For more see miramira.ie

Mini activist doll
Mini activist doll

Designist, South Great George’s Street

Designist on South Great George’s Street is another place that always makes me happy when I’m feeling frazzled and under pressure to find stuff for certain children in my life. I bought some gorgeous “feminist” playing cards here recently and some Mad Mattr. which is an intriguing substance I am hoping is not as messy as slime. They also have the full range of Lottie Dolls including this mini-activist doll (pictured) which is timely given #Vote100 and #RepealedThe8th. This latest Lottie Doll is inspired by real life activist, Mari Copeny aka ‘Little Miss Flint’. She even has her own mega-phone. Always handy, I find. See designist.ie

These Savannah animals are available from Article in Dublin for €15.95
These Savannah animals are available from Article in Dublin for €15.95
Dog Dominos are a great stocking filler. Woof.€12.95
Dog Dominos are a great stocking filler. Woof. €12.95

Article, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre

The Powerscourt Townhouse Centre is such a pleasant place to be in the days running up to Christmas. The yuletide dial is turned up to 11 here and there are loads of great shops which make present shopping a joy. My favourite is Article for unusual, original gifts and lots of Irish designs. For children, we’ve picked up Bird Bingo and Cat Bingo here in the past – they tell me the bingo is gone unfortunately – but the gorgeous Savannah Animals and the Dog Domino will both go down really well with all small animal lovers. See article.ie

Cogs The Brain Shop, Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre

This is where we go to buy things likes Dobble (€15.95),the card game that pretty much made our Christmas last year. If you are looking for a surefire hit present for kids or any gameloving families this is the one. This shop is packed with ingenious games that you won’t find anywhere else. We also love Exploding Kittens card game (€26.95) but there are plenty more brainteasing options which might get them away from the video games for five minutes. See cogsthebrainshop.ie

These magnetic dress up dolls are adorable and are €22.50 from Barn on Exchequer Street in Dublin
These magnetic dress-up dolls are adorable and are €22.50 from Barn on Exchequer Street in Dublin

Barn, Exchequer Street

I love browsing in this shop, it brings out the never-far-from-the-surface kid in me. In terms of imaginative play, the best toy we ever bought for our daughters were wooden dress up dolls from Melissa & Doug which you can find in the bigger toy shops like Smyth’s and Toymaster. The girls created whole worlds for them and years later these beloved wooden characters are still very much part of our family. In Barn, they’ve got something close to them with these magnetic dolls with loads of clothes for the characters to change into and a lovely play and display case. There is also a superhero version. Dress Up Magnetic Set – Best Friends is €22.50. See wearebarn.com

And outside Dublin ...

Wooden Heart toy-shop in Galway is great for last minute kid’s presents
Wooden Heart toy-shop in Galway is great for last-minute kids' presents
You can’t go wrong with these gorgeous metal wind-up toys from Wooden Heart in Galway
You can’t go wrong with these gorgeous metal wind-up toys from Wooden Heart in Galway

Wooden Heart, Shop Street, Galway

Anytime I’m in Galway I always try to pop in to this shop which is just a lovely place to be and very useful at Christmas. At the more expensive end there’s a beautiful sit-on fire engine (€135) for the boy or girl who has everything but most of the goodies in this shop are really affordable. They’ve a great selection of those tin wind-up toys priced from around from €20 and this lovely wooden carousel (€26.95) for a child’s bedrooms is beautiful. See woodenheart.ie

Fire! This sit-on engine is €135 from Wooden Heart in Galway
Fire! This sit-on engine is €135 from Wooden Heart in Galway
Heirloom toys: The fully jointed Gotz doll is €123 from Pinocchio in Cork
Heirloom toys: The fully jointed Gotz doll is €123 from Pinocchio's in Cork

Pinocchio's, Paul Street, Cork

When I asked people for their favourite small toy shops around the country this got a few mentions. I love that they carry loads of games – it’s not Christmas without a brilliant game or two – and they have Mastermind (€18.95)which is one we spent hours playing with as kids in the 1970s. If you are a fan of retro children’s toys, they have Steiff bears (this one is €72.50) and fully jointed Gotz dolls which are of such high quality that they inevitably become heirlooms. See pinocchios.ie

Mastermind is a great brainteaser game available from Pinocchio in Cork for €18.95
Mastermind is a great brainteaser game available from Pinocchio's in Cork for €18.95
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