Christmas shopping - it comes to us all.
The season of goodwill, happiness - and presents - is fast approaching. For those busy parents among us (all of us, then) it can be more groan than great as we try to smooth a layer of Christmas cheer and chores over our lives. Christmas can be one of the most genuinely stressful times of the year - especially if you are shopping for extended family, cousins or step-children too. Some of us delight in the challenge, starting as early as we can, revelling in the Christmas displays. Others feel less sparkly, with the stress bubbling up sometime around early November.
London's most famous department store has come up with the most fabulous solution for busy, stressed, or simply confused shoppers: The Harrods Toy Concierge. Launched this November, there's no minimum spend and Harrods will even wrap the presents for you, too. Yes. This is real.
The service is as personalised as you wish. You can specify age, interests, gender (or not, if you're more open to gender neutral toys and new ideas). The Toy Concierge team has an unparalleled knowledge of the Toy Kingdom and a keen eye for cool trends, as well as Christmas classics. So, whether you use them for a big gift recommendation, or for fun stocking fillers, they claim to equal Santa's best elves this Christmas.
Junior put the team to the test. The brief was short, but vague enough to be taxing: Find us ten fabulous Christmas toys, with real wow factor. We wanted everything from top tier gifts, to great new trends. Crucially, we left the options wide open, with no gender specified and no age range given.
You can see the results below; they've done a great job. So whether you are a busy dad, super cool aunt, or frankly, a mother with too much to get done - we thoroughly recommend this level of delegation. Unless you prefer to do it yourselves, which is also fine with us! We're not here to judge, just to help...
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The Toy Concierge can be contacted directly on the third floor Harrods, in the Toy Kingdom. Alternatively, email The Toy Concierge directly, or call 020 7730 1234.
Stevenson Brothers Rocking Horse
Is there a child out there that wouldn't secretly love a rocking horse? This is the super-luxe edition of the rocking horse world, complete with silver grey highlights and sparkly saddle. It's essentially a magical unicorn. Amazing.
£5,999 at Harrods.
Bentley Ride-on Car
We can over-use the word classic, when it comes to beautiful toys. This Bentley, by GRE Classics, is worthy of the title. In gorgeous British racing green, it is made to order to your exact specification.
Bentley ride-on, from £5,000 at Harrods.
Hansa are world renowned for their collection of incredibly realistic, beautifully crafted, cuddly plush animals. This freestanding tiger will transport them to the safari plains, with its lifelike size and style. A favourite for kids and collectors alike.
Tiger (76cm) £799 at Harrods.
This little chap is the world’s first advanced entertaining human robot. Innovative and educational, this android is engineered with a flexible joint design, which simulates human movement. It operates via a user friendly Bluetooth app, even learning from previous poses and actions and offering intuitive, programmable fun for all the family.
UBTECH Alpha 1S Humanoid Robot, £399 at Harrods.
DIY Thirsty Plant Kit
This kit from cool tech brand Technology Will Save Us, shows you how to build your own solar powered moisture sensor using plaster and electronic components. By twisting wires together you can create your own circuit to keep your plants happy and healthy. From cacti to bonsai, the Thirsty Plant Kit will work with any type of plant.
DIY Thirsty Plant Kit, £27.95 at Harrods.
Little Red Riding Hood Sequinned Cape
We love this Little Red Riding Hood cape from Pearl Lowe. In fact, we chose the silver cape for our Halloween Style to Wear all Year feature. This gorgeous cape, inspired by the classic fairy tale, is adorned with shimmering red sequins and features tulle flowers and a toggle fastening at the neck. A charming addition to any dressing up box.
Pearl Lowe Little Red Riding Hood Sequinned Cape, £189, at Harrods.
Robot Voice Recognition Puppy
No time for a pet? Too many pets (is that possible?!) Teksta’s newest addition to the range is the perfect pet. This pooch is the 5th generation of puppy and now responds to your voice, gestures and touch. Built with hi-tech artificial intelligence, it has an array of emotions including barking, crying and whimpering - the latter of which is uncannily lifelike. You can also sync him with a tablet or iPad to teach the puppy (or the children!) more tricks through the free app.
Teksta Voice Recognition Puppy, £69.95 at Harrods.
Lego Millennium Falcon
Large Lego sets are an all-time Christmas classic. Harrods Toy Concierge are bang on trend with this one - we also chose this set for our Classic Christmas Gifts for Children feature recently. Lego has updated this iconic Star Wars toy (again), for fans of the latest film: The Force Awakens. It is packed with detail, including a detachable cockpit, rotating laser turrets, dual spring-loaded shooters and an entrance hatch. Hours of intergalactic fun guaranteed.
Lego Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon, £129, at Harrods.
Musical Synth Kit
Another clever gadget toy for children and adults alike. The kit comes with 12 modular pieces that clip together using magnets. This allows you to build your very own instruments, with some household items and a bit of know-how: homemade electric guitar, anyone? It comes with a guide book of other ideas, including a DJ deck and more. A great way to encourage kids to enjoy making music - especially if violins and flutes aren't their thing.
Little Bits Synth Kit, £149, at Harrods.
It's hard to believe that Furbies first sprang to life almost 20 years ago now! Not quite vintage yet, these furry fellows are now a hot pick for this Christmas. The latest addition to the range is Furby Connect; a toy full of action, boasting more than 150 animations. The Furby Connect reacts to all of your interactions including petting, tickling and shaking. As with several tech toys, Furby connects (as the name suggests) to a special App, which not only makes the antenna light up, but has a host of music and videos to amuse both furry friend and human child alike.
Furby Connect, £129, at Harrods.