Shop Local! Support Small! Independent Shops for Children’s Gifts in Sussex

Shop Small For Xmas

On the Eve of Black Friday, I thought I’d publish a guide of the brilliant independent shops that are right here at home in Sussex. Toy shops haven’t been able to officially open for nearly a month, and have had to adapt in the face of lockdown 2.0 measures, in the run up to Christmas. All of the businesses featured in the guide have put together a great selection of beautiful toys for Christmas 2020 and have soldiered on through choppy waters. No mean feat.

I’ve done most of the girls’ Christmas shopping this week and have been totally wowed by the gifts I’ve been able to find for them in our local indies. There’s a lot of inspiration for really wonderful gifts in each and every shop mentioned in this guide. I hope you enjoy reading the list and that you find a big ol’ twinkly sprinkling of inspiration for your children’s stockings this year.

One. Wigwam Toys – Fiveways

Independent Toy Shop front of store with click and collect sign held by Playmobil Pirate. Wigwam Toys, Fiveways, Brighton.

Wigwam is an award winning independent shop selling a wide range of super cute traditional toys, books, gifts, 1980s toys and new innovative finds. It’s one of the loveliest little independent shops in Brighton’s ultra family-friendly Fiveways and the website’s a real treat to browse too.

If you’re done with 2020 and just want to drink gin and watch Masterchef in the evenings – who can blame you? – Wigwam offer a gift wrapping service to make life just that little bit easier.

Wigwam Toys

Two. Junior Edition

Independent Toy Shop window with festive display. Junior Edition, Brighton.

This is one of our absolute favourite independent shops. Better than any big retailer and tucked away in the North Laine. A real treat.

Junior Edition meticulously choose well-designed and high quality products. It’s not the cheapest place to shop but we’ve had incredible use out of all the items we’ve bought over the years – especially the clothes – which are perfect hand-me-down and heirloom pieces.

Junior Edition is an independent family-owned store providing a curated mix of clothing, accessories, gifts and home decor for kids aged 0-11.

Their customer service is second to none. I’ve bought online, in store, have asked all the questions and returned items without issue. I love when you can phone a shop and speak to a human who knows. It’s very reassuring.

I LOVE that they don’t separate the shop into things for boys and things for girls. Most of the clothes chosen can be worn by either, with more emphasis on strong and quirky design detail, prints and quality fabrics.

They stock loads of cool accessories for parties and events too. I’m in love with their Christmas decorations this year.

Junior Edition

Three. The Little Natural Co.

3 Maileg toy pandas with crowns an wands from independent toy shop The Little Natural Co

This is a shop for the littler of the little people, specialising in natural & organic products for babies and toddlers.

A dreamy store of beautiful, wholesome toys and sustainable clothing. From Malig mice to the most gorgeous 7-piece Konges Sløjd wooden make-up play sets, the website’s full of perfect gifts just waiting to be wrapped in eco-friendly paper and popped in a stocking.

The Little Natural Co.

Four. P.J. and The Hare

A selection of Christmas toys in independent toy shop P.J. and The Hare in Cuckfield, West Sussex

P.J. and The Hare is another cute independent children’s store. You’ll find them over in Cuckfield, overflowing with Maileg mice, great books, gifts and super sweet clothes and accessories. Christmas pudding wooly hat anyone? The shop is owned by children’s author, Sue Monroe, and is offering a “by appointment” click and collect service.

They’ve listed all of their stock on Facebook @pjandthehare and Instagram @pj.andthehare during lockdown 2.0 if you’re getting Christmas ready this week.

Five. The Little Reading Corner Sussex

2 Usbourne Christmas children's books on a carpet

The Little Reading Corner is run by Burgess Hill Mum, Sabrina Holloway. She sells a huge range of brilliant Usbourne books including the ubiquitous That’s Not My series. The festive themed versions are perfect to read with pre-schoolers in the run up to Christmas. She’s currently stocking a huge range of Christmas books – story books, activity books, colouring books and sticker books too.

Our Christmas is looking much more home-based this year, I’m planning to order sticker, colouring and reading books to keep us all sane during Twixmas. The last day for delivering from Sabrina is 10th December and delivery is £3.50.

If you fancy being in with a chance of winning a couple of Christmas books head over to Instagram where you’ll find all the details of the competition we’re running together from 27th November.

The Little Reading Corner

Six. I Want That Present

Maileg toy Christmas scene with a gingerbread house and mice

Brighton-based I Want That Present caters for the under 10s with a diverse range of toys, games and gifts from all over the world. The emphasis is on good quality toys that stand the test of time.

They’re proud to support UK companies such as Martin Gulliver & Sew Heart Felt and sell ranges from Maileg, Djeco and Ebulobo too.

There are some beautiful personalised, Christmas gifts available – named stockings, my first photo frames and teddies. And if you fancy a bargain, there’s up to 60% off some items until 30th November.

I Want That Present

Seven. Conscious Craft

Are you looking for a Grimm’s rainbow with all the trimmings this year? Or real workshop tools for small hands? Or eco craft materials? Then Conscious Craft is for you!

They stock lots of practical toys, awesome if your small people are into woodwork, DIY, or more hands on practical crafts – think awls for conkers, fire starting sticks and tin can nightlight kits.

All of their products have been selected carefully to be toxin-free and have as little impact on the environment as possible. So good for you, your little ones, and planet Earth too!

The family-owned store is run by a husband and wife team who are happy to answer your questions whether you want to ask about which crayons are best for a 2-year-old, or the ideal paints for a child with allergies. They can give you first-hand advice on toys that you’re interested in, what they’re made of and how they last.

Conscious Craft

Eight. Wickle

Wickle isn’t just a shop for toys but a department store, full of beautiful homewares, gifts, accessories and clothes too. Everything is carefully chosen and sourced, with sustainability in mind. There’s a heavy Scandi nod, influenced by owner Elisabeth’s Norwegian heritage.

I’m absolutely in love with their Christmas decorations this year and their inexpensive pocket money treats for great stocking fillers, quirky Elf on the Shelf props, DIY crackers and Christmas treasure hunts. Who wouldn’t want a giant tube of Lovehearts or tiny glass bottle of gems?


Nine. Buddy Pockets

Do you have a child that just loves pockets? Who has a favourite toy or object they love to carry around everywhere? Then you need a buddy pocket sweater in your life.

Show and Tell Sweatshirts are created by Mum duo Debbie & Cath from Brighton, made from 100% cotton and have 4 pockets – 2 for trading cards, a secret fabric pocket and an extra large zipped pocket. Giving your child the option to squirrel away and display their favourite stuff in a super cool jumper.

Buddy Pockets

Ten. Whirligig

A truly fantastic toy shop for Christmas shopping. Whirligig specialise in ‘things to make and do’ – toys that engage and delight. It’s one of my favourite shops for a mooch before the girls’ birthdays and Christmas. I always buy games and crafts from here; they’re always popular too. This year is no exception. I’ve bought jigsaws, slinkies and a lovely selection of stocking fillers to play with over the Christmas holidays and beyond.

Whirligig buy toys from smaller brands and seek to find toys that are engaging, fun and positive.

The website’s especially good if you’re looking to get your Christmas shopping underway – they’ve made it super easy to find gifts for children of different ages, browse toys by type and have blog articles full of inspiration.

Benefit from free delivery while shops are closed and £5 off for first time orders over £20.

Whirligig Toys

If you’re looking for things to do in and around Sussex for Christmas this year, check out the bumper guide below.


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