I've been meaning to write a post about this shop for a while now... I think of all you adoptive families who want to buy meaningful gifts to bring back home, yet you have no idea where to go... And you most likely fall prey to the guys on the street who charge you double (or more ) the going rate for matrioshka sets, etc. If you make it the Old Arbat (Starii Arbat), which you most likely will (if your child is over 2, check out the Hard Rock Cafe's kids' brunch with entertainment on Saturday and Sunday from 11-4), go to this shop!!!
It's called "Arbatskaya Lavitsa" and it's in building 17. This has been my favorite souvenir shop since 1991; they sell truly beautiful crafts at very reasonable prices. If you can't make it out to Izmailovo Market on a Wednesday morning or on a Saturday or Sunday, then this is the place to go. I took Rachael here last May and she bought quite a few wonderful things to bring back.
Here is what I picked up yesterday... all for only 1033 rubles ($42).
I highly recommend their wooden toys; they range from $4 to $6 and are great gifts. You also can't go wrong with Christmas tree ornaments in a wide variety of styles. Other gifts are carved angels, Grandfather Frosts (Santa) and nativity scenes; matrioshkas in all price ranges; lace; linens; gorgeous painted nesting boxes (like hat boxes); painted spoons and boxes; porcelain; amber and painted porcelain jewelry; BEAUTIFUL painted children's table and chair sets or rocking horses... They really carry a wide variety of crafts.
You could get enough "Gotcha Day" gifts to share with your child through age 20 for under $100 if you carefully picked them out (think ornament sets that you could break up).
Right now they've decorated their windows for the holidays. It's certainly not Macy's or Saks in New York City, but still quite pleasant!
For those of you who will be visiting there with a child, check out the playgrounds off of the side-streets on the side of the shop. There's a particularly nice one if you head back towards Smolenskya Ploschad (i.e. toward the MID building that towers over everything, the Hard Rock and McDonald's). I think it's down the next side-street on your left.