Toy store owner says families are getting back to basics with gifts

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While the national list for the top toys of the 2017 holiday season are pricey, have plenty of flare and might excite the children, one local toy store owner says a trend over the last two holiday seasons has parents focusing on getting back to family.

Dan Driver, of Jake’s Toy Box in Arvada, said he expects some of the popular stuff from last year to carry into this season, and it’s not electronics or high-price toys. Parents are more interested in board games that encourage the family to come together in one room at one time, and mobile devices aren’t allowed.

“Parents really seem to be taking this back-to-basics approach in holiday shopping,” Driver said. “Too much time online is creating issues with kids with depression, and its taking more and more time away from the family. This idea of family games and family time is really making a comeback. As a store, we are welcoming this and pushing togetherness. Togetherness is where true learning takes place. It also creates valued memories.”

To achieve the goal of being together more, Driver said families are going old-school, making games like Candy Land, Trouble, Sorry and Life poplar again.

If he had to choose an actual toy that he expects to be a big seller at Jake’s Toys this year, Driver said it would be Ugears, which promotes learning and togetherness as well.

Brand new to the U.S. this year, Ugears is a company based in the Ukraine that produces various wooden mechanical model kits, which are built without glue or chemicals. Driver says Ugears are educational, and work well for children with ADD and other attention disorders.

Patrick Evans, of the popular chain Rocket Fizz, says his Highlands Ranch store has thousands of items to choose from, but the Japanese candy and homemade taffy is expected to be the hit of the 2017 holiday season. The Japanese candy is generally hard to find, and with 101 flavors of taffy, families can experiment with some of the traditional flavors, but also the more unique varieties such as chicken and waffles and mojitos.

“The great thing about Rocket Fizz is that it has something for everyone,” Evans said. “Whether you are 5 or 105, we have something that can take you back. For grandparents, our old-style candy brings back memories of a simpler time. For our young customers, it’s a lot of fun and a true adventure.”

Evans said that’s why a store like Rocket Fizz promotes in-store shopping over online purchases. It’s about the experience, especially since there’s more than 3,000 items to explore.

For the holiday season, Rocket Fizz also allows customers to create specialty gift baskets in a make-your-own kind of setting.

Besides Highlands Ranch, Rocket Fizz has stores in Boulder, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Denver, Estes Park and Parker.

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