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Cradling Memories, One Doll at a Time
Gift_Tags1Christmas 2011 has come and gone, and I am left with an acre’s worth of wrapping-paper scraps and scads of mangled ribbons and bows. The debris that is left behind after the annual orgy of gift-exchanging is truly amazing. That’s one of the key miracles of Christmas: so much gift wrapping, package decorating, home ornamentation, and front-lawn festooning—hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks of preparation, and it’s over in the jingle of a bell. And still we do it all again next year!

I think one of the reasons why I am a sucker for the tinsel season is that I get to give dolls to future dolllittle_girls_1 fans—whether they grow up to be adult collectors or mommies-in-training (or both) will be a surprise waiting down the road for them and for me.

This year, I had the enormous pleasure of granting a little girl named Madeline a realistic baby doll of her own. Madeline is Korean and Filipino, and many of her baby dolls are tow-headed plastic infants, blue-eyed vinyl toddlers, and pink-cheeked Caucasian newborns. This maddysdoll1Christmas doll was different from her other babies; this one looked Asian, the same as Maddy.

I don’t know whether Maddy is aware of ethnic differences; she is almost three years old. However, her mother was certainly excited by the gift.

“You can’t find Asian baby dolls anywhere!” she declared. “They are nonexistent! They’re not in any of my stores. Who made this?”

And I happily explained that Corolle did, while Maddy carted her new baby around in its matching Corolle stroller.

Maddy’s mom, Helena, grew up in the Philippines and she was raised in impoverishedphilippinesbus1 circumstances. Her parents had come to the United States to establish a life and left their four children behind to live with their aunt.

Helena often recounts how her childhood days were devoid of any toys—there just wasn’t any money to pay for playthings; basic foodstuff was the main concern.

However, Helena and her siblings were allowed to touch toys and interact fleetingly with dolls and balls and bears and cars. Their aunt would take them on the bus to a nearby toy store, once a month. Because of their young age, they would ride for free, which made their aunt very happy and willing to make the trek. They would walk up and down the aisles of the shop and were allowed to choose one item to carry with them as they navigated the store. After 20 or 30 minutes of orbiting the shop with their treasured toy “on loan,” their aunt would take a picture of them posing with their chosen doll or action figure. Then they would respectfully put the item back on the shelf or in its bin. The photos served as the memento of the great time they had had with their toy.

Not owning any dolls of her own, Helena is very proud that she could give her daughter a nursery’s worth of baby dolls, but so far all of the newbies were flaxen-haired and rosy-complexioned. This new doll is something that Helena never would have envisioned—not in her childhood and not in her adulthood, either.

“Do you think Maddy knows that this baby looks more like her than her other dolls?” I asked.

Helena considered for a moment. “Maybe not right now, but in a year she will. And definitely the year after that. And certainly in her memory of today. She’ll remember this is the Christmas when she got a doll to love and saw that she was worth loving, too.”

Now, that is a heavy realization based upon the gifting of a little girl’s plaything. What did Helena mean exactly? I thought I knew, but I asked her to please explain what that last bit of Dr. Phil–speak meant.

“Well, if you only see white baby dolls—and that’s what you have to hold and to love and to snuggle with—you think those dolls, and those people, are the ones you have to care about. When you don’t see yourself as a doll—if you don’t see yourself reflected anywhere—you lose a sense of self. Or, you ask yourself, why aren’t you pretty enough to be made into a doll? Why aren’t you deserving of being a baby doll?”

Mulandoll1I am very sympathetic to Helena’s viewpoint, because my daughter is Asian as well. After we adopted her from China, I also went on a wild-goose chase to find babies and dolls that resembled her. Consequently, Jane’s nursery was loaded down with Mulan dressed in every available costume and accessory.

When we received her Corolle Asian baby doll from friends who ordered it online for us, weMulanbabydoll1 were thrilled. And we were so moved when Jane first held the doll in her arms and kissed it, proudly naming the doll “Baby,” and then re-christening it “Baby Jane.”

Today, Jane doesn’t play that much with “Baby Jane,” but the doll has a place of honor in her bedroom, sitting majestically in its mini high chair.

After Maddy got her special doll, Jane ran upstairs to get her own “Baby Jane.”

The two girls waved their dolls at one another, and then Maddy toddled over to have her new baby doll hug Jane’s.

I actually felt tears form in my eyes as the two young girls embraced each other, along with their look-alike dolls.

They are so deserving of baby dolls, and of knowing that they are deserving of love.

christmasmoment1My sentimental tears quickly formed into tears of laughter as Jane morphed her doll into a kickboxing Ultimate Fighting Champion baby. Her little “Baby Jane” doll was shadow boxing and doing roundhouse kicks, and Maddy was trying to grab the doll and put her down for a nap.

As all of this mayhem was unfolding, Helena took out her camera and quietly took a photo.

“This memory and this photo will be the best Christmas gift this year,” she mused.

And that’s why I scheme and dream, and plan and push, for months on end for a mere 24 hours of wonder and joy. It’s all about those brief, brilliant Christmas moments.

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I was so excited to find this website. I am an african american and my husband is filipino/caucasion . We have 3 beautiful daughters and our youngest daughter blessed us with our 1st granddaughter last February. My daughters husband is also biracial. His mom is from Tonga and his dad is caucasian. So, you know how happy I was to see this baby doll. Please continue to make more beautiful dolls. Thank you.
Beverly , December 18, 2012 | url
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smilies/smiley.gif I enjoyed your article very much. What a wonderful gesture on your part to give a little girl that Special Baby Doll. It is a lovely way to show a child how important she is, and to give her self confidence. Lovely story!
Laura Prier , February 25, 2012 | url
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I am from the Philippines, too, and we also had a very poor background. I am happy I came to the United States, and it is good to see Asian baby dolls being made for the Asian children who live here. Baby dolls that look like you do matter.
Hattie , January 25, 2012

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Latest Articles from News & Notes

2015 DOLLS Awards Industry's Choice winners announced

The 2015 DOLLS Awards of Excellence Industry’s Choice winners (DAEs, also called the Diamond Awards) were announced at the International Doll & Teddy Bear Show in Asheville, N.C., June 6. The Industry's Choice winners will go on to become the nominee's in the Public's Choice voting, set to begin in late June.

Without further ado, here are the winners of this year's Industry's Choice Diamond Awards!

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Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.

The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.

To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:

  • Been active in the doll or bear field a minimum of 25 years.
  • Maintained or increased the quality of reputation and product or service provided since inception.
  • Served the industry with integrity, honesty, reliability
  • Received a majority of the votes from previous recipients.

The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:

2002 Steiff
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2010 Helen Kish
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
2015 Kaye Wiggs

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BLACKALL ASSOCIATES INC. 
ANNOUNCING Winner of the Summer Heat Photo Contest

August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat. 

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i have very old magazines need to sell them before something happens to them
margie , December 20, 2014
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i really like all the barbie balack dress, can i ask question can i buy this, because its all out in the market now here in the philippines, can you help me please im a big fan of thiss dolls
mark christian paul l. carigma , December 16, 2014 | url

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The Chicago Toy Show

You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.

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Konnichiwa and Grüezi - 150 years of Japan and Switzerland

19 April 2014 – 5 October 2014

A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.

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