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Gracie Cat in a bike basket

TRUST ME…YOU’LL LOVE THIS: young at heart

There is nothing quite as magical as a children’s shop during the holidays, so I am especially excited to share Sprout’s first Christmas with all of you! We opened Sprout this past spring with our focus on wee ones from newborn to age three, but this time of year we are chock-full of fun for anyone young at heart!

Gracie Cat

We love Gracie in her red elf jacket and river green romper! All handmade in Brooklyn by our friends at Hazel Village.

Our wall of animal friends from Hazel Village brings joy to everyone who passes by – including me! I never walk by this collection without stopping to admire a sweet face or detail or to straighten a little skirt or romper.  These delightful animals are handmade in Brooklyn and each bears a tag with its own whimsical description that leaves you wanting to take every one of them home. I am so enthralled with this company – the quality, the detail, the whimsy – simply the best! This collection is suited for girls as well as boys, and many are limited editions and highly collectible. They make precious heirloom baby gifts as well as fun companions for toddlers and keepsakes for anyone who finds them as irresistible as I do!

wooden tea set

Charming wooden tea set from the UK – just right for little hands!

With entertaining on our minds, don’t forget how much our little ones love to participate! One of my favorite new vendors is out of the UK and it seems fitting that they would offer an adorable set-up for afternoon tea! The weight and hand of their chunky wooden toys are so perfect for young toddlers. Charming wooden tea sets (complete with teabags!) and tiered pastry trays are sure to delight any aspiring mini-pâtissière as well as their grown-up guests! (This is a perfect “grandparent gift” to keep at your house!) I am equally taken with their adorable “Friend Ship” pull toy and Noah’s Ark shape sorter – incredibly well done and the best I have seen in this category. From a decorative standpoint, their pleasing color palette means these toys are also lovely additions to a shelf in a child’s room when not in use.

fairy costume

Our white tulle fairy costume is embellished with gold flecks and detachable fairy wings. Perfect for your little Christmas angels.

For the angels in your midst, Meri Meri has created the most wonderful Fairy Dress-Up kit that includes a gossamer white tulle dress, headband and wand – all packaged in a stylish drawstring bag. Our dress-up closet is always filled with fantastical fun – dragons, mermaids, flamingos, superhero capes and on and on – to spark imaginary play.

sheepdog puppet

Our lifelike Sheepdog puppet from our friends at Folkmanis is an armload of fun!!!

I adore hand puppets, and an exhaustive search for something really special for the shop ended with Folkmanis which I deem to be the best on the market. Realistic, easy to manipulate, and in a range of sizes – these puppets are so captivating. Our range includes everything from life-size dogs that actually “pant” to little white mice (such a great surprise to pull out of one’s pocket!) – all guaranteed to wonder and delight any age!

rocket music box

Our whimsical spaceship souvenir box plays has a small storage compartment for treasures and plays “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Made by one of my favorite vendors in France.

From France comes a family-owned company started by a woman in Paris in the 50’s (a time when few women embarked on adventures of this kind) that continues to deliver the most charming creations. I have so many favorites in this collection, but one of the most loved is their adorable array of souvenir boxes. Each of these little musical boxes has a spinning figure matched to the theme of the box with a storage compartment and/or little drawers in which to store one’s treasures. We rarely see these boxes for boys, and their spaceship that opens to reveal a tiny astronaut spinning to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is such a special find and another example of an heirloom quality gift.

With all the “disposable stuff” out there for children these days, we wanted to bring back keepsake-quality options that would be loved and cherished for years to come…sentimental pieces a child would remember and one day want to hand down to the next generation. There are so few shopping destinations of this kind anymore. If you are on a treasure hunt for the wee ones on your shopping list this season, we hope you will discover and explore the magic of Sprout – and in the process, rekindle the kid in you!