|Spring Awakening: Bunnies, baskets, babies, and divinely inspired dolls—including the pope—define Easter.|
Of course, the spring egg hunt wouldn’t be complete without some bits of chocolate or pastel-hued Peeps hidden inside the plastic orbs. But more and more parents, church organizes, and community leaders who are helping E.B. (aka the Easter Bunny) pull together a basket of treats know that the caloric content of the ingredients is shrinking, the sugar doses are diminishing, and more trinkets and toys are being added to the mix.
In my kids’ school celebration, there are erasers, stickers, SillyBandz, and little trinkets curled inside the plastic eggs. At the church Easter hunt, it’s pretty much the same offerings, but sometimes Hershey Kisses and little M&M’s are tucked inside the faux eggs.
At home, where E.B. is always expected to be more personal with his selections, there is one chocolate rabbit (under 5 ounces of solid milk-chocolate decadence) and one DVD and one toy du jour (could be a tiny finger puppet, a yoyo, a mini doll, an action figure). It’s whatever E.B.’s human accomplice was able to find while the children were distracted five feet away in the book aisle. (Thank goodness for the Diary of the Wimpy Kid and the Percy Jackson series. Those titles have entertained my children while I’ve thrown random-impulse buys into my shopping cart on more than one occasion!)
Since dental hygiene has finally made a dent in the bunny’s brain, there are magazine articles, TV demonstrations, and radio tips advising concerned parents and grandparents to spice up the gift baskets with merchandise other than fatty foods and sweet confections.
Dolls are a great way to decorate an Easter presentation, or be the whole Easter present itself. Depending upon the cost, or your own deep versus shallow pockets, a doll can either be added to the basket to serve as an ornate centerpiece or can be given along with a solo boxed bunny candy as the entire gift. Either way, the designs and styles available are truly fantastic.
On the very affordable side, there is an under $10 delight at Paradise Galleries (http://www.paradisegalleries.com/).The “Hippity Hop” plush Easter doll is approximately $9.99 and is really a holiday bargain. You’d be one smart bunny to pick this critter up and place it plop in the middle of a decorative Easter basket. Also, on the site, are dolls affordably priced under $40, which can either be a gift to a child (or yourself) or the star of a very unique holiday centerpiece/dining-room decoration.
Mattel also has dolls that are inexpensive—able to be swooped up and added to a basket as a cute, non-edible surprise. Target has some exclusive Mattel dolls, which measure under 4 inches and are made for Easter shopping, but these diminutive darlings are “htf”—hard to find!
Amid all the odes to Peter Cottontail and E.B., there is the spiritual, religious component of Easter. Many times, the fun aspect tends to overshadow why the event has special, meaningful significance. The divine nature of Easter can be celebrated with Ashton-Drake’s perennially popular Titus Tomescu interpretations of Jesus Christ. (http://www.ashtondrake.com/category/8352_religious.html?shopbytheme&religious) With the blockbuster ratings for the History Channel’s “The Bible” epic, there are apparently a large number of viewers who are seeking faith-based entertainment and faith-centric programming. During much of the calendar year, secular attractions and non-spiritual pastimes seem to dominate the headlines and the airwaves. Always, as Easter (or Christmas in the winter) happens upon us, news editors and TV programmers discover the power of faith. The folks at Ashton-Drake have been loyal to the Tomescu depictions of Christ year-round, for decades now.
Earlier in the month, the world was seemingly captivated by the rituals and the pomp-and-circumstance surrounding the election of the new pope. All eyes and cameras were focused on the Vatican. The selected pontiff appears to be a genuinely humble man from South America—multilingual, bright, and compassionate, he debuted to news coverage that went beyond television and print. His installation was trumpeted on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and every other arm of the brand-new social media.
Pope Francis, who has named himself in honor of the beloved, self-effacing St. Francis of Assisi, has a reputation as being truly down-to-earth. Prior to his move to Rome, he lived in a rental apartment, cooked his own meals, and rode the city buses. He eschewed the trappings that his status as a cardinal could have afforded him.
Now that he is the head of the Catholic Church, his unexpected, unselfish ways continue: he arrived at the hotel where he had been staying to pick up his own luggage and to settle his own bill. Likewise, he called back home to cancel his weekly newspaper subscription.
Seeing such everyday, average behavior from an overnight superstar is jarring. So, I wonder how Pope Francis would react to learning that Ashton-Drake is unveiling his likeness in doll form. The portrait figure meticulously captures his physical appearance, and the costuming is painstaking in every detail. But what would Pope Francis think of it?
I think, based upon all the accounts I’ve been reading, he’d be positively shocked, embarrassed, surprised, flattered . . . and delighted. He seems to be blessed with a great sense of humor and a keen wit. The “Pope Francis Portrait Figure” is priced at $129.99. If a portion of those proceeds was donated to a charity near and dear to the pontiff’s heart, I’d say that the doll was downright heaven-sent.
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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:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2009 no award presented
2010 Helen Kish
2011 no award presented
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
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.
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.
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.