The Christmas enthusiasts at Santa's Candy Castle entertain children and their parents with an interactive computer lab directly connected to the North Pole, an old-fashioned candy shop, and a holiday-themed exterior that resembles a gingerbread house. One access card (a $10 value) to the North Pole Network—a group of six computers directly connected to the North Pole and its inhabitants—grants children a straight communication shot to one of six elves. Computer tables and chairs lowered to the level of a grown man's kneecap support the candy-filled bodies of youngsters while they plunk away at colorful, oversized keys on durable keyboards made to withstand even the weightiest Christmas wish list. Once connected to the network, children ask an elf if they've made it onto Santa Claus's good list. All of the children, good or bad, receive a good list certificate emblazoned with an official gold seal, endorsements from the elf and Santa Claus, the child's name, and a discarded nose light bulb from a famous reindeer.
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The showroom at Baby's 1st hosts a menagerie of baby toys, gifts, accessories, and parental aids that cater to new, expecting and seasoned parents and their children. Expecting mothers can delight in the soft, cradling embrace of the Medela Abdominal Maternity Support ($24.95), which provides back relief by supporting wombs of all sizes, or slumber deeply while embracing a hypoallergenic upper body ergonomic pillow ($44.95), designed to satiate a primal need to hug large sacks of grain. Toddlers can unwind with a variety of colorful wooden puzzles, such as the wood puzzle boat ($9.95) or puzzle train ($9.95), while infants can stay stylish with the child's sheepskin aviator hat ($38.95), which warms tiny noggins or large melons. A natural Moses basket ($49.95) cradles children safely in shades of pink, blue, sage, or ecru gingham, while the bug net system for cribs and strollers ($19.95) emulates the excitement of tropical living.
Mark's Hallmark hosts unique gifts and Hallmark greeting cards that creatively accent any holiday or special occasion. In the absence of sufficient stashes of construction paper for homemade coupon books, offspring can bestow a Mommy & Me or Grandma & Me keepsake journal upon hard-working matriarchs, both of which include a recording feature where gifters can personalize a message with their own dulcet tones ($24.99 each). Decorative keepsakes such as the Willow Tree Angel of the Heart figurine gift set bequeath knick-knack lovers with a heavenly mantelpiece accent ($14.99), and a trio of candles from Yankee Candle Company greets Mother's Day with aromas of sun and sand, pineapple and cilantro, and lilac blossom ($19.99). New mothers can outfit fresh progeny in a Mud Pie baby outfit ($27.99+).
With the canny eyes and encouragement of Excursions' friendly fashionistas, shoppers can stock wardrobes with timeless basics or flaunt trendy frocks, tops, and jewels. An inventory of A-list designers ably stitches hip, figure-flattering styles for glamorous dames, unlike U-list designers, who glue together outfits for Muppet understudies. Overhaul ordinary T-shirts and jeans with ultra-soft Splendid tops ($40–$88), contour-hugging Michael Stars shirts ($34–$68), and Citizens of Humanity or 7 For All Mankind jeans ($140–$200). Shopkeeps steer browsers to items, from BCBG dresses ($138–$298) for summer-friendly staples to Trina Turk dresses ($198–$298) for special occasions such as ribbon-cutting ceremonies for lemonade stands. Making great gifts, eclectic accessories include a quirky Nic & Zoe owl necklace ($35) and a boho-chic XCVI scarf ($36).