In the meantime, I would like to point you to my friend Rory's blog, Chocolate Hair/Vanilla Care. Each year her daughter receives just one Christmas gift from her parents, and this year she asked for an American Girl doll. Rory took the amazing step of adding in yarn extensions and styling the dolls hair to look just like her daughter's! See the post here.
In my pre-American Girl doll childhood, Cabbage Patch Dolls were the thing to have. I wanted one so badly, but they were out of reach cost-wise for my family. My grandmother Rose began to create rag dolls in the Cabbage Patch style (though with cloth faces rather than plastic), and her first attempt looked nothing like the much coveted doll. She felt it was a disaster, and tossed it into the sewing room trash bin, where I discovered it later over our Christmas visit to her house. My young and tender heart shattered at the callous way such a creation could be discarded, and I rescued the doll, begging my grandmother to just add hair and please-pretty-please let me keep her forever and ever. It took a lot of convincing, as my grandmother was truly an artist with needle and thread and she felt this was not anywhere close to what she was capable of. However, she promised to finish her and she ended up handing her over on the day of the 1984 Olympics opening ceremony in Los Angeles, which is forever seared into my memory as the day Robin became my constant companion. And true to my promise to my grandmother, I have not only kept her forever and ever, I've actually kept her with me all these years, and all these moves.
The Disney/Pixar film Toy Story 2 forever ruined the idea that it's okay to keep your beloved childhood toys in a box in storage. I had a small crisis prior to moving to Macau when I put Robin and my favorite stuffed monkey, Nanner, into a cardboard box and taped it up, knowing they'd be in there for 5+ years while we lived abroad, maybe forever, banished into the toy graveyard of long-term storage. Michael, who knows me so very well, and knows my heart (which has grown no less tender over the years), cut the tape on the box, rescued my two toys, and added them to the pile of things to be shipped abroad. If toys do come alive when we're not looking, then I'm certain Robin there has the very best stories of her adventures to tell the boys' LEGO creations!
Within a year or two, Cabbage Patch dolls popularity waned from the white-hot object of the public's desire, and I finally got one on clearance. My grandmother also perfected her technique of knocking them off, and made me several others which had the blocky, stout body of the commercial version. However, never did any of the others make their way into my deepest affection, gaining pride of place on my pillow the way Robin did, and continues to enjoy. Well, not on my pillow anymore, but still in my bedroom nearly 30 years later. All this to say that I hope my friend Rory's daughter gets at least as many years out of her new doll, into which so much love was poured by her mama.
Do you have any special childhood Christmas gifts which you still treasure today? It feels so much more difficult to find that one thing which will become a beloved item with my boys. This year we surprised them with Nerf dart guns, the very first weapons we've ever sprung for. I will treasure forever the look on their faces and the lilt of their excited voices when they tore open the paper to reveal something we've denied them up until this point. They aren't quite sleeping with them a la A Christmas Story's Red Rider BB Gun, but they are always within reach and so far no one has shot an eye out!
Merry Christmas friends and family! Here's to more regular posting in 2014!