Going holiday shopping with little ones seems about as appealing as snake wrangling or running a marathon in stilettos, right? Too bad it can be unavoidable sometimes. But it is possible for the kiddos to tag along without the whole trip ending in disaster. Portland has its fair share of local shops that make this task less intimidating and more family-friendly. The places we’ve included are by no means the only choices around town, but we wanted to single out these businesses because of the welcoming atmosphere and because each offers something interesting for the kids to see or do.

These shops have a range of gift ideas – might as well knock more than one name off your list in one trip – and have salespeople who really want to help you find exactly the right gift. We also tried to include a range of price points (budget to indulgent). So make your list, check it twice, and don’t be afraid to take the kids!

For Home & Garden

Pistils Nursery
3811 North Mississippi Avenue, Portland
What makes this place so fun? One word: chickens. They usually roam freely at Pistils Nursery and there couldn’t be a friendlier site. Pistils calls itself an urban farm store, but there’s more to the place than gardening and chicken keeping supplies. You can also find locally made artwork, books on how to make your garden grow, and beautiful objects for inside the home and out. Terrariums are amazing displays and make one-of-a-kind gifts. If you like wandering in the greenery, the plant nursery outside is small enough to keep track of your kids easily. They are probably tracking the chickens anyway.

For Books

Annie Blooms
7834 Southwest Capitol Highway, Portland
In a city that loves its bookstores, Annie Blooms stands out. This cozy space in Multnomah Village not only has a big bin of toys in the back of the shop, there’s a resident cat named Molly who loves a gentle petting while she sleeps in a basket up front. You can find the latest bestseller, cookbook or children’s picture book here and you can also pick up beautifully designed stationary, music CD’s and art supplies. If you aren’t quite sure what you’re looking for, a bookseller can help narrow your choices with thoughtful suggestions. Best of all you don’t have to wrap your gift because they will do it for you!

For Clothes & Accessories

Mario’s 3.10
7031 Southwest 72nd Avenue, Tigard
If there’s any doubt this über fashionable boutique in Bridgeport Village is kid-friendly, just look past the shoe section to find a play space complete with a tranquil aquarium right in the middle of the store. The vibe here is laid back and the sales people will search high and low to find exactly the right gift. Whether you are looking for a scarf for your BFF, a shirt for your husband, or a coffee table book for a work colleague, this is the perfect place to look for an impressive gift and be able to do it with kids in tow.

For the Kiddos

Black Wagon
3964 North Mississippi Avenue, Portland
This super-friendly shop in North Portland has almost everything you could need to outfit, entertain, and occupy the kids in your life. Whether you’re shopping for nieces and nephews or your own kiddos, you can find presents for a range of ages and stages. It’s a small store, so it won’t take you long see check out all the merchandise, but even the most impatient kids will be entranced with all the kids’ stuff. Black Wagon’s stylish and thoughtfully selected gear, toys, and clothes are truly unique. These are not a dime a dozen gifts we’re talking about. If you have trouble narrowing down what to buy, give a gift certificate that can be used in store or online.

No holiday shopping is complete without a trip to the toy store. Take a look at our picks for Portland’s best toy stores here.

Where do you do most of your holiday shopping? Do you opt for the ease of online or do you like the brick and mortar stores?

–Jane Gauger

Picture of Child in santa hat courtesy of Brianfit via Flickr
Picture inside Annie Bloom’s bookstore by Jane Gauger
Picture outside Pistils Nursery by Jane Gauger
Mario’s storefront courtesy of Mario’s yelp page
Black Wagon storefront courtesy of Black Wagon facebook page