I’ve literally been shopping at Target my entire life. I grew up in Shoreview, Minnesota, and the very first Target ever opened in the neighboring Twin Cities suburb of Roseville in 1962, five years before I was born.
Our favorite local store with the red bull’s-eye logo helped launch a discount-store chain that today boasts more than 1,800 stores.
I now live in Seattle, with my own Target just a short drive away. In this ever-changing world, Target, with its carefully curated product lines and comfortably tidy aisles, is a rare constant.
This is a very personal guide to my favorite Target purchases. I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, so my Target memories have a retro flair: Lisa Frank folders! Trapper Keepers! Jelly shoes! Charlie’s Angels dolls!
1. Holiday candy and seasonal sweets
Whether you’re filling a Christmas stocking or loading up an Easter basket, remember Target’s seasonal candy section. You’ll find exclusive flavors that aren’t sold anywhere else, including this Easter’s chocolate caramel Peeps.
Prefer to do your own holiday baking? The seasonal sprinkles, molded cake pans and colorful cupcake wrappers rival those sold at craft and cake stores.
2. Retro toys
Target’s well-stocked toy section has all the trends, of course, plus exclusive items that can’t be bought elsewhere. As a nostalgia freak who’s co-written two books about lost pop culture, I have to praise their vintage-style toys.
3. Autographed books with extras
Print books aren’t dead yet. Target has an exceptionally well-curated book section, including best-sellers alongside similar books readers might also enjoy and books for kids of all reading levels. Book discounts are sometimes as high as 30 percent.
There’s also Target Book Club Picks — a subscription program that sends you a new book each month. Book Club Picks include a letter from the author and sometimes are autographed. If you’re not ready to commit, you can buy these books individually.
4. ‘Bullseye’s Playground’ deals
At Bullseye’s Playground, named for Target’s canine mascot, deals start at $1 and I’ve never seen anything costing more than $5. The bargains change often, from home decor to snacks.
I hit up this section whenever I’m hosting a kid’s birthday party. The pencils, small games, stickers and art supplies are great goodie-bag options. My daughter still raves about how no mechanical pencil works as well as the cute Target ones I scooped up for her last party.