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Festive Inspiration

MR STANLEYS LIQUORICE PIPEIt’s the time of year when toys, games, puzzles, pocket money items and other gifts for kids are flying off the shelves like hot cakes and into Christmas stockings around the globe.


This is a great moment to take some inspiration from the UK’s only dedicated toy and hobby trade show, Toy Fair, due to take place on January 24 – 26 2016 at London’s Olympia.

Now in its 63rd year, the 2016 show will once again occupy the entire upper and lower sections of the Grand and West Halls.

Traditional wooden toys are always good for gift shops seeking to inspire grandparents. Sector specialist Lanka Kade (stand F1) will be using Toy Fair to showcase its educational, chunky wooden alphabet and number jigsaw. The fairtrade, UK designed, wooden blocks can be used to create multiple animal figures.

PUKATORWhile ideas for kids abound, there is no shortage of gift for adults either, as recent trade events such as Autumn Fair and Top Drawer demonstrated and with much more to come at the spring shows. An early preview of Spring Fair reveals the like of Pukator and Apples to Pears which presented some great unusual and novelty gift items.

MAX BENJAMINCandles are a great gifting staple year round but especially relevant for Christmas. The handmade flat candles from Flatyz are a bit different and can be posted as a card, while some of the most delightful scented candles on the market are available from Heaven Scents, which also produces own-label product at very reasonable prices. For sheer luxe glamour we love this Max Benjamin candle in an on-trend warm metallic hue.

MISS HAVISHAMS ATTICThere is also, of course, an abundance of greetings cards available for Christmas, the most important sending occasion in the industry’s calendar. It’s worth bearing in mind (whatever one’s personal denomination or lack thereof!) that cards with a spiritual/religious subject matter tend to sell very well at this time of year. There are some interesting contemporary options about if traditional imagery doesn’t suit your store.

WIDDOPChristmas decorations are another staple for great festive merchandise displays and there is wonderful choice out there, from the hand-crafted and home-spun to the luxurious, contemporary and design-led.

For British retailers Spring Fair will offer one of the best general selections of Christmas decorations in Hall 2 of The NEC in February. Expect to see spectacular stand displays from the like of Kaeminck, Premier and other major suppliers in this sector.


Images from top to bottom: Mr Stanley’s Liquorice Pipe, Lanka Kade wooden animals, Pukator novelties, Max Benjamin Coffee & Cardamon Candle, Miss Haversham’s Attic greeting card, Widdop Bingham decorations and Plum & Ashby cracker tea towels