Strings of street lights, even stop lights, blink in bright red and greenAs the Shoppers rush home with their treasures…

Yes, even in 1950 Bing Crosby knew that the true magic of Christmas could be found in finding a special something for your special someone. The impending joy of rushing home with the perfect gift, wrapping it up and placing it under the tree is so goshdarned fantastic that the stress of Christmas shopping can cause mall-meltdowns all over town. Thank goodness we live in London, where you can find everything from Big Box Bogos to Midnight Madness in shopping centres throughout the city. There are also plenty of small, unique boutiques and hidden gems full of one-of-a-kind items you certainly won't find at Wal-Mart. New to town? Out of ideas? Let us guide you in your gift-giving expedition and soon you'll be making a list, checking it twice and finding a present for a reasonable price. Happy Shopping!


Toy Shoppe of London 685 Fanshawe Park Rd. 519-641-8697
This old-fashioned toy store is bursting with incredibly original, highquality toys and games that you cannot find anywhere else in London (sorry, Toys R Us). Children are encouraged to play with the items throughout the store, creating a playful atmosphere reminiscent of a time when kids were still allowed to be kids.

Scholar's Choice
In the past, Scholar's Choice was a store that simply catered to teachers, but not anymore! These stores are full of creative, unique and educational items that kids will actually play with. The best place in town for affordable, adorable stocking stuffers; hands down!

Heroes 186 Dundas St. 519-439-4955
Got a comic-con kid on your list? Hit this downtown shop to find everything from Marvel to Magic. Full of comics, figures, T-shirts and paraphernalia featuring favourite cartoon characters and heroic icons from your childhood; this place is a must for fantastic retro-gifts.

McCormick's Hobby Centre 241 Oxford St. East, 519-439-9786
It's the place to go for toy train lovers and model builders. McCormick's has been a London staple since 1960. With models ranging from aircraft, cars, trucks, spaceships and a whole host of other things, you may help get someone hooked on a new hobby.


Kingsmill's Department Store 130 Dundas St. 519- 265-1500
London's first true department store, Kingsmill's has been open since 1865, and still offers the most beautiful and enjoyable shopping experience in town. Just visiting the store's three-storey shop during the holidays will immediately put you in the Christmas spirit. Festively decorated, with award-winning window displays, you'll spend hours looking at the gorgeous clothing and household items that will wow your folks.

Things Engraved
This tiny store is often overlooked when you get swept up in a bustling, crowded mall, but it's worth stopping in and selecting a quality gift with a personal and significant message. Why not choose a delicate silver ornament for your parents this years and have “Thanks for everything you do, Merry Christmas!” engraved on it? For less than $20, your parents will be crying in their egg nog and handing over next term's tuition.

If you only ever hit the liquor store to quickly grab a bottle of Sour Puss on your way to a birthday party, you are truly missing out. The LCBO carries gorgeous gift sets and baskets at Christmas that are perfect for dads, brothers and in-laws. Most stores offer gift wrapping and carry a fabulous selection of gift bags and boxes as well so be sure to make a sober stop soon.

Billy's Downtown Deli 113 Dundas St. (at Talbot), 519-679-1970
London has many quality restaurants, but at Billy's you are provided with the breakfast and lunch experience you will want to repeat over and over. From homemade jams, spreads and pies, to incredible sandwiches and breakfast items, the food is sensational. A gift certificate to this place will please any appetite.


Stag Shop 371 Wellington Rd. S. 519-668-3334
For those of us without little ones on Christmas Eve, the holidays are all about sexy parties and standing under the mistletoe. Give your partner a fantastic ‘toy' on Christmas morning and you can spend all day playing with it together.

Mystic Book Shop 612 Dundas St. 519-673-5440
A quirky shop perfect for discovering powerful charms and stones, and finding rare books and guides to an enlightened mystical world. Incense, tarot cards and rune stones fill this lush shop with trinkets and tokens for every witchy woman on your list.

Teaopia White Oaks Mall 519-963-0588
Since tea is the new coffee, be sure to stock up on flavors and combinations for friends and family. With over 100 varieties of premium loose-leaf teas, the counter can leave an amateur's head spinning! Use the experts and the free taste testing (yum!) to help you make your choice.

Weezi 2-204 Albert St. (above Price Albert's)
Gorgeous, hand-made, locally-designed clothing and accessories that will make you a holiday hero! Every item is funky and unique with its own personality; no two items are exactly the same! You won't bump into 10 girls with the same dress or handbag when you purchase your gift from Weezi!

Elizabth Noël 569 Richmond St., 519-434-3122
A quaint boutique located on London's Richmond Row. Elizabeth Noël has been serving customers over 40 years. Boasting an inventory of over 700 dress styles, Elizabeth Noël prides itself on having something for everyone. Ranging in styles from casual to high-end formal wear Elizabeth Noël is one of London's shopping gems!


Roll up your sleeves and get clicking. If you're looking to impress the kids this year, try searching for items on Kijiji before heading out to the stores. Sports equipment, outdoor toys and video games can be purchased here if you don't mind buying something gently used. This is also a great source for finding tickets to sold-out concerts and events!

Repeat after me: “I will not buy tape, tags, tissue or gift bags anywhere but Dollarama,” got it? Dollarama's large, bright, clean stores offer name brand items and licensed character merchandise for only $1 or $2. You can pick up gift baskets, cards, candles, ribbon or craft supplies that are identical to the products sold at Michaels or Wal-Mart, but they're only a dollar!

GT Boutique 1251 Huron St., 390 Springbank Dr., 639 Southdale Rd. E.
How many times have you walked into a Giant Tiger and been blown away by the selection of adorable (and affordable) tops, tunics and tights in their fashion department? If you've never checked out the fabulous GT Boutique you are sadly missing out on the best deals in town! The fashion-current selection is marked down to disturbingly low prices that will have you second guessing the quality; but don't! As a devoted GT Goddess, I promise you that these items are the same quality as the stuff at the mall; it's just half the price!

City Lights 356 Richmond St. 519-679-8420
Rare finds, quirky titles and retro classics; this unusual bookstore has so much more than just books. The cluttered, cozy shop is designed for the true book lover — this is not Chapters folks! The store carries a wide selection of books, magazines, CDs and movies. Looking for a great guy gift? Chances are you'll stumble on a few copies of Playgirl dating back more than a few decades. City Lights also trades movies, and music, so if you're super short on cash this year, you can still give a gift by swapping your own titles for something special.

Talize 1345 Huron St, 519-455-1112
With Talize every shopping day is a new experience and no two items are the same. The stock is continually turning over and what you see on any given day is different. While the merchandise is gently used, it comes with a price tag anyone can afford. You would be surprised at the number of designer labels that I've stumbled across and bought for clothing and accessories that are stylish and trendy.

Your Very Own House 123 Your Street
Yes, I've probably confused you, but some of the best, most thoughtful, generous gifts are sitting in your house right now. At this very special time of year, let us not forget the long-standing and respected Christmas tradition of RE-GIFTING! That right folks, time to drag out that photo album you never unwrapped, the body lotion you never opened and the leather journal you never started and consider passing it along to someone who might actually use it!