Ten Tips on Navigating Christmas Toy Shopping at Fao Schwarz in Selfridges
Remember the movie Big? ‘Course you do, and chances are there’s one scene in particular that stands out – Tom Hanks (at his very finest as a 12-year-old boy in a 30-year-old’s body) playing Chopsticks on a dance-on piano in a giant toy store. Iconique, non? Fast forward thirty years since the film came out, and FAO Schwarz (the toy store in question) has finally opened its first European Flagship within London’s premier shopping location (and Ten Towers fave local convenience store) Selfridges. We sent honorary Tenner (and, at 15 months old, the most appropriate available reviewer) Beau Sonny Briggs to Selfridges’ 4th Floor last night, to discover what this new 20,000 square feet of joy had to offer. He relayed his rapturous findings through the medium of his mama to bring us ten tips on navigating FAO Schwarz with your mind, but definitely not your wallet, relatively intact:
1. Don’t pretend it’s just about the kids. It’s a lie and everyone will see through it. Was your kid alive in 1988 when Big came out? Have they fantasised about jumping around on a piano in a toy store ever since? That’s a big fat no, so this particular moment is all about you – embrace it. Special mention goes to the overexcited dad at last night’s launch who did what everyone else was gagging to do as he whipped his shoes off and had a toe tinkle on the ivories. Shameless in a good way.
2. Take an official photographer. Or at least a friend with access to Instagram filters, as this place is heaving with grammable moments, from the mini ball pool to the sit on the Selfridges bus. Did it even happen if you didn’t post on social?
3. Build-A-Bear. Which is a brand name, but also a directive. Do it. Sure, once you add up all the extras (beating heart within your bear, recording of your voice, and a whole wardrobe full of lewks) you will need to remortgage your house, but it’s an investment in your child’s happiness and you can’t put a price on that.
4. Get your driver’s license. The baby wheels on offer are mind blowing. A black Smartway Swarovski Encrusted Mercedes G Wagon at £12,500 was Beau’s personal pick.
5. Eat your body weight in sweets. The FAO Schweetz giant 2lb gummy bears should keep you going for more than a hot minute.
6. Get over your fear of kids entertainers. Because there are “toy ambassadors” and product demonstrators a-plenty (in rather fabulous costumes) who, contrary to this rather neurotic mother’s preconceptions, aren’t there to freak you out, but are actually genuinely helpful and brilliant with kids.
7. Take it educational. Discovery #Mindblown is a new collection to FAO Schwarz which is science and technology driven, and includes a build-your-own model engine kit, and a levitating train. No, we don’t understand how they work either, but if our kids do, then that can only be a good thing. Genius training starts now.
8. Supersize it. Cuddly toys are great, but giant cuddly toys are even greater. A 48” FAO Schwarz plush giraffe should do it.
9. Let It Go. There is more Frozen merch than we can begin to contemplate, so embrace your inner Disney Princess and invest. Beau expressed particular interest in a cuddly Olaf, which was pleasingly less terrifying than the remote control tarantula he’d been grabbing for previously.
10. Take some me time. Because what’s the best thing about FAO Schwarz opening in Selfridges? Your little darling will be so exhausted after a trip there, they will sleep contentedly in the buggy whilst you floor hop from 4 to G to the Champagne bar to recover. Ideal.
The new FAO Schwarz toy department is permanently situated on the 4th floor of London’s Selfridges at 400 Oxford Street.