My favorite Christmas

tamrawilson Toys, Uncategorized

The “Hickory Daily Record” invited me to share thoughts on my “favorite Christmas.” This piece appeared on Dec. 25.

For me it was the year of Patti Playpal, the doll Santa brought when I was in kindergarten.

1959 was probably the last Christmas I fully believed in Santa Claus—reindeer on the roof, jingling sleigh bells and all. Somehow Santa had magically squeezed this large doll down our chimney without getting her sooty.

The brainchild of Ideal Toy Company, these large dolls were all the rage at the time. Mine arrived in a red gingham dress, white pinafore, white anklets and black patent leather shoes. Her straight auburn hair wasn’t exactly my color, but close enough to be considered family.

Recently I came across a snapshot of my five-year-old self and Patti Playpal. I’m standing at the back door in my navy-blue coat and hat, the 35-inch doll standing beside me in my outgrown scarlet coat and hat. It was early January. Patti had become my new best friend, the little sister I asked for and would never receive. I had renamed her “Susan,” the name I would have wanted to give a real little sister if I’d ever had one.

My mother, the Keeper of Everything, insisted we save Susan’s shipping box, and I, my mother’s daughter, still have the doll with her original dress, in that very box.

This year my granddaughter Violet is in kindergarten, and she has come to adore my Patti Playpal doll as much as I did when I was her age. I’m sure this Saturday night Violet will be listening for reindeer hooves and the jingle of Santa’s sleigh. I hope she will treasure that memory, too.