Worthington stores ready for holiday gift-giving with lots of options for children
Many local stores carry gifts for children, whether the kids are too little to walk or just learning to drive.
WORTHINGTON — Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Epiphany or St. Lucia’s Day, the winter holidays are fast approaching, and local stores are filling their shelves with toys and other gift options for children.
“We try to go all-ages,” said Sheri Van Der Brink, owner of Serenity Gifts, which carries everything from soft hooded towels, tiny socks and knitted dragon plushies for the littlest ones to chapter books, glow-in-the-dark stars and planets and NASA mugs for older kids.
Serenity Gifts, which recently moved from Oxford Street to a new location on Tenth Street in downtown Worthington, has expanded its inventory to fit its new space, Van Der Brink said. As such, it has an even wider variety of things geared toward children, such as colorful rain boots, hand-made trapper hats that resemble Elmer Fudd’s, and a vast array of games, art supplies, puzzles and educational toys.
For the gift-givers who like surprises as much as they like seeing gift-receivers surprised, Runnings has Zuru’s Rainbowcorns — eggs that contain one of several stuffed animals with a unicorn-like horn.
“I’m getting more toys in,” said Cyndy Stofferan, seasonal department manager at Runnings. “Pets Alive has a line of toys and they’re kind of robotic.”
The Pets Alive and Robo Alive lines from Zuru include dogs and other animals such as lizards, snakes and dinosaurs, some of which move in realistic ways. Farm toys and puzzles are also popular at Runnings, along with remote-controlled toy vehicles.
“It’s not too early to be thinking of next summer, and I do have some summer games,” Stofferan added.
For children who want a more realistic take on animals, Tractor Supply Company has a selection of Schleich miniatures, including chickens, pigs, horses and cattle, as well as dragons and more exotic creatures, said Todd Thier, store manager. And there’s a selection of Breyer horses, and hunting playsets geared toward both both boys and girls, with miniature animals, vehicles and tents.
“We’ve got some classic board games — Trouble, Yahtzee and Candyland,” Thier said. “Plus we’ve got a good selection of -opoly games, like Farm-opoly and Fish-opoly.”
What isn’t available in the store can be ordered at the Tractor Supply Company’s website, he said, including thousands of toys. Active kids might appreciate a zipline, a wagon or a trike, and bigger kids or adults might dream of a go-kart or a four-wheeler.
“We get quite a few people shopping just for kids’ gifts, and we’ve got a good selection of Christmas décor as well,” Thier said.
Much of southwest Minnesota’s economy runs on agriculture, so a wide variety of agricultural toys are sought after for the holidays too, by both children and nostalgic adults. At C&B Operations, the local John Deere dealership, the tractors are mainly of the green variety, though they still come in a wide array of styles and sizes, from pedal tractors kids can ride to 1/64th scale tractors and combines, and many in between.
There are reproductions of antique tractors as well as futuristic tractors with giant wheels and more of a Batman vibe, too, said Terry Reisdorfer, parts manager at C&B Operations.
“It’s constantly changing,” Reisdorfer said. “We might have a whole different spread one year (to the next).”
For those who prefer their tractors to be red, Jaycox Implement might be the place to go for a Case-IH toy, whether it’s for a collector or a child. The toy implements also come in many sizes, including pedal tractors to ride and tiny 1/64 scale tractors to play with. There are reproductions of antique tractors from the 1950s through today, said Daryl Kruse, parts man at Jaycox.
“We do have some barns, or cattle sheds,” Kruse said. “I also carry Bobcat skidloaders, and you can buy attachments to put on those — pallet forks and brooms, augers, combination buckets.”
There’s apparel options too, including T-shirts and onesies, plus tractor keychains, mugs and tumblers that might make good gifts for older students or grown-ups.
Schwalbach Ace Hardware, too, has gift options for all ages, newborn to grown-ups, including stuffed animals, books and toys of all kinds, like the wooden pull-rope toys for toddlers, or the Demdaco Giving Bears meant to be given to those in need of a comforting hug.
“We do have a variety of fun things,” said Deb Steinle, store manager at Ace, pointing out the Magic Tracks Dino Chomp, a flexible dinosaur-themed race track set for kids that glows in the dark.
For parents who want to encourage more family time, Ace has card games and board games such as Sorry, Battleship and Boggle, as well as a variety of 500- and 1,000-piece puzzles. For the artistically-inclined, there are some Christmas-themed coloring books, crayons and markers, and a variety of home décor and gifts for older kids who want to personalize their rooms.