Updated: Nov 20
With the pumpkin-spice season in full swing, we all know the holidays aren't far behind, which means shopping for gifts! Whether you're looking to get ahead on your holiday shopping or need fresh ideas - bookish, musical or for that quirky homebody you love - we've got you covered with the 4Squares Gift Buying Guide. And now, kids!
Henry Bear's Park (locations in Cambridge, Arlington, Brookline and beyond!)
If you’re the auntie or uncle known for bringing the biggest and best to holiday gatherings, Henry Bear’s Park is where you want to shop. And if you're the auntie that hates to wrap, even better - the shop's distinctive gift-wrapping service is free with any purchase, all year round.
Devoted to providing the highest-quality, developmentally appropriate toys and games that inspire creativity and imagination for all ages, Henry Bear’s Park has been an institution for generations. Their staff, known as the “Defenders of Playtime” take immense pleasure in helping shoppers find the perfect gift and their online gift finder is a work of pure genius. Take all the guessing out of what to buy and let Henry Bear’s guide you to the goods! And they have online ordering with easy in-store pick up - all this, with a discount club that keeps their prices competitive.
If you know an adult with a playful side, they also have painting and coloring books, and LEGO kits, for adult skill-levels in stock too.
Playtime 283 Broadway, Arlington, MA
When heading to a big-box store like Michael’s or A.C. Moore is too much to bear this holiday, head over to Playtime in Arlington Center for your arts and crafts fix! Fill your budding Picasso’s stocking with colored pencils and markers, or paint brushes and oil and acrylic paints. Have an avid knitter or embroidery devotee in the family? Then stock up on skeins and needles or sewing kits galore!
They also have a wonderful selection of art & science kits, model airplanes and other ready to go projects. And be sure to snag a few pre-made decorative items for decking the halls at home while you’re there.
Fox & Robbin Resale Shop (Arlington)
Located inside the Fox Branch of the Arlington Public Library, the story behind the Fox & Robbin Resale shop is a tale worth telling: In 2008, Susan Dorson and Amy Weitzman, two Arlington friends who wanted to raise funds to support the library, converted an unused spot in the Fox Library into a thrift store. Soon parents were bringing in gently used toys, books, and children’s clothing, and within a few years, the Fox Robbins Resale Shop was born. Shelves and racks are a treasure trove of new-to-you toys, books, board games, and infant and toddler clothing for every season from designers like Hanna Andersson and Boden. Moms-to-be can also find a colorful and comfortable selection of maternity wear and infant gear like baby carriers and wraps.
Charles Ro 662 Cross Street, Malden, MA
Who knew that the Number One Train Dealer in America and largest Lionel model train dealer in the world is right next door in Malden, Massachusetts? Well, now you do! Charles Ro has been selling anything and everything train-related for 50 years. Their 5,000 square foot retail space is where you’ll find any Lionel train products, as well as trains by American Flyer, USA Trains, and – of course – Thomas the Tank Engine! Whether your locomotion-loving little one is embarking on their journey of model trains or they’ve been an avid collector for years, Charles Ro is the station to pull into!
Pandemonium Books & Games 4 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA
Not sure what to get for the Dungeons & Dragons devotee on your gift-giving list? Then look no further than Pandemonium Books & Games, the one-stop shop for the science fiction-loving, fantasy, and role-playing gamers in your life. Pandemonium stocks collectible card games (CCGs) like Magic the Card Game, Pokemon, and Digimon; Role Playing Games (RPGs) like D&D and Call of Cthulhu; and an array of accessories to boot.
Pandemonium now has a freshly renovated space - and they offer classes!!
Comicazi 407 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA
You may already know that Comicazi is a Best of Boston winner for the best comic bookstore - in a competitive field (we've still got lots of indie comic book shops all over the area but that's a different post). True comic arts enthusiasts also understand that the Somerville-based store has earned one of the highest awards in the industry: the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award.
Yes, Comicazi is the real deal. Whether you’re looking to introduce your teen to your favorite anime authors or explore the worlds of Marvel and DC Comics on their own terms with a gift certificate, Comicazi is the place to shop!
Like what you’re reading here? Want to know more? Sign up for the 4Squares Medford Newsletter and tune in to more explorations of Medford's great neighborhoods, and neighbors!