Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Walking Doll Christmas

I was about 10. I had discovered the secret door to the attic and the mother lode of Christmas gifts hidden within. As I recall, I spent a few hours peeking at presents stashed in the attic. The one that excited me the most was a large box wrapped in tissue paper. If you pressed the paper down carefully, you could read the writing on the box. The box contained a 36" walking doll. Evidently that was on the top of my list and I was very excited. I am thinking that I actually thought about how to feign surprise when the time came to unwrap the doll.
Christmas Eve finally arrived and my cousins and my aunt and uncle arrived to celebrate our Swedish style Christmas. (Have you ever noticed how much slower time moved when you were a kid?!) Our Christmas, or at least the prelude to presents, was torture for us kids. We would have a Swedish Smorgasbord with all kinds of courses. First there was a selection of cheeses and herring while the grown-ups had cocktails. Then the Swedish meatballs, cold cuts, potato salad... and those grown-ups would talk and laugh and we kids would fidget. Finally the sweets were brought out and the adults would show signs of getting up from their seats. At last!
Presents weren't a huge part of our Christmas. We all received family gifts on Christmas Eve: items of clothing and a toy or some sort of sports equipment. Santa would fill a stocking the next morning with crayons, a pair of scissors perhaps, and maybe a small toy or two. My mother was very crafty and would often add homemade items to the pile of family gifts. Since there weren't that many presents under the tree, a designated 'Santa' would deliver one gift to one person and we would all watch as the gift was opened before the next present was proffered. My mother would direct 'Santa'  as she never put tags on the gifts in an effort to keep us from mutilating the packages that finally made their way from the attic to under the tree everything a surprise!  I can still see my mom holding a gift, shaking it, and looking up into space (as if she could really see what it was in her mind), trying to recall what was in the package and who it was for. Oh, and there were the times she was wrong, and someone would open a gift that was certainly not meant for them. Mom would redirect the gift.
Meanwhile, one of my cousins seemed to have short circuited! I guess the night was long and she was tired, but Maria began to wail and whine because she hadn't gotten what she wanted (her name has been changed to protect the child - although I'm not certain we could call her innocent!). It was my turn to open a present. As everyone watched, I opened a small box containing a home made dress that would fit a walking doll. My eyes were glowing in anticipation. But then, my mother commented, "Oh no, that's not right."
"What?!!" thought I! My mother instructed me to go to the attic to get 'the present'. Oh.... so you mean.... you knew that I had been visiting the mother lode and admiring THE present?!! I skipped up the stairs. The time had finally come. I was about to meet 'my doll'! I came trotting downstairs with the tissue-wrapped package, that was only slightly smaller than me. I was about to tear into it when my mother, the Directress of Package Deployment, instructed me to give the present to my cousin, Carla. "What?!!! That's my doll," I thought as I watched, in utter devastation as Carla opened up the gift. I tried not to cry. I tried not to join Maria in a chorus of wailing and whining. I tried to find some enjoyment in seeing Carla's excitement about her gift. But... that was my doll....I thought. I was very sad.
A few more gifts were handed out and admired. I was a bit glum. My aunt left the room and came back with a large box that she handed to me. It was a walking doll. It was MY walking doll! It turns out that both my cousin and I had wanted walking dolls. The sisters, my mom and my aunt, went shopping together and schemed to fool their inquisitive girls by swapping dolls.

My doll looked something like this:

So, all was well. Carla had her doll. I had my doll... and cousin Maria finally fell asleep and peace reigned!

Silent night, Holy night.
All is calm. All is bright...

Read more Christmas stories from other bloggers at these sites:


  1. That's pretty funny to me; I have a similar story. When I was about 7, my dad took me Christmas shopping with him, so that I could tell him what the other kids were asking for (3 brothers, 2 sisters at that time). A large walking doll caught my eye, I think she was about 2' tall, and dad said, "no, we aren't shopping for you today". Of course, I couldn't get that doll out of my mind, and lo and behold on Christmas day, guess what was under the tree for me! Yep- "Cindy"! My dad sure had me fooled.

  2. That look's like my Vicki! I was ten when I got her for Christmas, my last doll.

    My most memorable Christmas was discovering I could read. No one knew until I read through the tissue wrapping...out loud...and got a spanking for telling what the present was!

  3. Very interesting style celebration of the Swedish Christmas.
    I wish you all the best during the holidays to you and those around you.

  4. That was a fun story. I knew it would have a happy ending.

  5. Glad that you ended up getting your doll! Parents sure were sneaky in the day. . .much sneakier than we thought we were!

  6. I got our oldest daughter a doll that looks something just like this one. She named it Teresa....I still have it waiting for her, once more.


  7. I hope my son doesn't find his gifts.

  8. We were always hunting for our gifts before Christmas, and one year I found ALL of mine. Several days later, my mother asked me what I wanted, and I started ticking off everything I had found. My mother's eyes got wide, and she looked a little stunned. I never let on, and pretended to be surprised on Christmas morning.

  9. Mamas can be sneaky li'l devils, can't they? haha I had one of those dolls, too. I'm so glad you got the gift that you wanted.

    I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas!

  10. Cute story. Someone gave my daughter one of those "life size" dolls when she was about 4 or 5...she was so frightened by it. I think she never played with dolls again after that. Still makes me laugh when I think about it today...although it wasn't very funny at the time. Hope you have a merry Christmas!

  11. Thanks for posting our blog posts! You're a good story teller -am glad your mother was just joking!

  12. What a great story! Your moms were pretty sharp!!

    Merry Christmas to you...


  13. My husband's older sister got walking dolls for Christmas one year. He was terrified of them. For years they put them in their doorway to keep him out of their room! Poor boy. Smart {mean} sisters.

  14. My parents liked to sleep late on Christmas morning but didn't want to miss seeing my two brothers & me find our gifts from Santa. Hence, my sibs & I were sent to bed early and then awakened about mid-night to see what Santa had left for us. After about 30 minutes of play, we were all ready to retire. Hence, my parents slept in while my brothers & I played with our gifts on Christmas morning.

    One year both my cousin, who lived next door, and I each received a walking doll from Santa. We played and played with the dolls; however, I was soooo disappointed that the doll could *not* walk on her own but rather needed me to propel her.

    Actually, I only recall receiving a walking doll and a couple of years later receiving a baby doll. My brother was the one who received the Toni doll! That might have been the year I received a record player.



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