12 Unconventional Toy Stores: How to Win Christmas 2021

unconventional toy stores

Finding toys at unconventional toy stores might just be the way to go this year.  For months, there have been predictions of toy shortages this Christmas season.

If you are on the hunt for physical toys from actual brick and mortar stores, keep on reading.

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I have put together a comprehensive list of stores that typically carry toys. Throughout the year, the toy sections in these stores are generally smaller, and then expand during the Christmas season.

If you’re having a hard time getting your toys online, consider shopping at these stores.

Also, you could consider these other seven ways to win Christmas 2021, despite toy shortages.

So here we go, shopping in real stores, old school style.

12 Unconventional Toy Stores for Christmas Shopping

Dollar Store

I was shocked to discover some really great toys at the dollar store! They have a great selection of toys.  They have everything from puzzles, to travel magnadoodles, to dolls, balls, and trucks!  The dollar store also carries books, crayons, and coloring books.

You can get excellent toys here, while not killing your budget!

Tractor Supply

We stopped by Tractor Supply early in October. They had tons of really cool trucks and tractors, of all kinds.  They were already boxed up in nice gift sets.

You can always find animal figurines and toy tractors among other toys at Tractor Supply.  They have a nice selection of animal books, too.

Shop Small & Local

unconventional toy stores

If you can believe it, there are still some locally-owned toy shops out there.  You can support local businesses by shopping at these places.  You can use this store locator to see what toy stores are in your area.

Five Below

Five Below has all sorts of toys in stock.  They have dress up clothes, playdoh, toy trucks, and lots of board games.  You can usually find nice boxed craft sets that make a great gift. 

I love stopping by Five Below for outdoor toys, as well!  They have frisbees, balls, bubbles, chalk, and some lawn games.

And if you’ve never been, everything in the store is below five dollars…get it?  So, another budget-friendly toy shop!

Build-a-Bear Workshop

unconventional toy stores

You could utilize this store in a few ways.  You could do a gift card so your child could have the experience of building their own bear. 

Of course you could make the bear for your child.  

You could also get great accessories for a bear your child already has from here. Remember all the things you said no to as you were trying to get out of the store?  Go back and grab a few of those things to wrap up!

Grocery Store

Talk about unconventional toy stores.  I never think of the grocery store for toys…until I pass by the toys with my kids.  Amiright?!  Try checking out your local grocery store for a few presents!

Craft Stores

Places like Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics are chock full of things your kids would love.  They have craft sets for kids of all ages.  You could wander the aisles and find plenty of things that your kids would love to have!  Not to mention, all they could create!

Lakeshore Learning

Lakeshore is marketed as a teacher store.  And it certainly is a haven for teachers.

But they really have some incredible toys.  All of their toys are designed to be developmentally appropriate. They inspire imagination, creativity, and critical thinking.  

There’s not a ton of stores, but you can see if you have a local store here.

Their website is worth checking out, too!

Party City

I never would’ve thought of it, but Party City actually has a good amount of toys and games in stock.  There’s also party favors that could be repurposed as stocking stuffers. 

And costumes could be gifted as dress-up outfits!

Thrift Store

unconventional toy stores

People are always dropping off toys at the thrift store! Especially this time of year!  Many people want to clear out their toy shelves to make room for the next round of toys. 

Hitting up your local thrift store might be the perfect spot to snag some gifts!

TJ Maxx/Homegooods/Marshall’s 

They usually have some great toys at great prices!  I love to buy board books here, too!

Department Stores

unconventional toy stores

Yes…department stores aside from Target and Walmart still exist.  And they have toys. 

My local Boscov’s has a huge Melissa and Doug section with ailes full of their toys.

Try out stores like Kohl’s, JCPenny, Macy’s and Boscov’s for your Christmas needs!


Unconventional toy stores may just be the key to winning Christmas this year.  Shopping for Christmas 2021 will be like no other, but now you have some secrets to help you beat the toy shortage!


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unconventional toy stores

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