When I was growing up, I idolized my aunts and uncles for a variety of reasons. I loved my aunt Peg’s sense of humor and over-the-top mugging for the camera. My uncle Jerry was always acting goofy and silly; my aunt Mary was kind and generous. At Christmastime, I always tip my Santa hat to my aunt Liz. After a hard day of shopping at department stores, she had the perfect remedy. She would buy herself a gift. Every day that she slogged through traffic to buy for our really large family, Liz would reward herself. Her premise: why wait for Santa Claus or hope to get what you desire? Instead, she would treat herself. This week’s post celebrates the variety of dolls that you can select for yourself. Why wait and see if your husband or sister recollects a hint that you dropped several weeks back? Now is the time to place your orders for what your heart desires. Be like Liz. Buy the doll of your Christmas dreams for yourself! Imagine how swell it would be to own the 7-inch Pennie doll sculpted by Elsie Rodriguez and painted by Maria Lynn Grover.
When I was putting together this year’s DOLLS Holiday Gift Guide, there just wasn’t enough room to showcase everything. Here are some last-minute suggestions for dolls you can purchase for yourself, or place on hold for a daughter, niece, or granddaughter. These dolls could potentially arrive in time for Christmas Eve, but, most likely, they can grace your house for Boxing Day (December 26). Certainly, they’ll join your family by Little Christmas/Epiphany (January 6). They run the gamut, from dramatic and alluring dolls from Dollmore to dolls for tweens to cute and cuddly baby dolls.
The Dollmore characters have a cinematic and literary vibe to them. The End of the Black Summer doll is gorgeous and gothic. Their Grace doll Autumn Bride: Thinking Hee ah would fit right at home in a Tim Burton film. I could see her sharing screen time with Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter.
Beyond the valley of the sultry dolls, you can find American Girl creations. These honor the present world, as well as moments of the past. For holiday 2019, their dolls pay homage to the Jewish faith. Hanukkah, which runs from December 22 to December 30 this year, presents the challenge of eight presents. Some adherents do follow this practice. Others exchange simple gifts of candies and trinkets, building up to the large one at the holiday’s conclusion.
Rebecca’s Sabbath Set ($70) and Parlor Table ($150) are lovely tributes to the weekly ritual that observant Jewish families follow every week. The Sabbath Set includes beautifully detailed items that grace a well-set Sabbath dinner table. The pieces include a samovar, brass-colored metal tray, and ceramic teapot and matching gold-trimmed plate. There are also two glasses with etched details, and an array of food. The faux edible bounty features a loaf of challah bread, with a special embroidered cloth, and a set of rugelach.
Like all American Girl products, these can be utilized with any 18-inch doll. They are scaled for dolls of that height and furniture for that size. The Parlor Table is made of real wood, and it looks festive when the fabric runner with lace trim is added. The American Girl designers have thought of everything. They have conjured up a bouquet of fabric flowers, a vase to hold them, candles and candlestick holders. It’s quite remarkable. There’s another stunning holiday choice for 18-inch doll lovers. American Girl fashioned a blast-from-the-past diner. Maryellen’s Seaside Diner ($350) looks like it belongs on the set of “Happy Days.” It contains over 80 pieces, and there are multiple food offerings, money, plates, menus, aprons, and so much more. Check out the padded counter stools and booths, too!
Ashton-Drake and Paradise Galleries, as usual, have a host of angelic babies for grandmas, new moms, and empty nesters. The babies are convincingly sweet as they enjoy the sleep of the innocent. It’s interesting to see how two of Paradise Galleries’ adorable infants are “out like a light.” They are sculpted like they are fully tuckered out; I guess it was too much fun visiting with their relatives this Christmas season. Wishes & Dreams, handcrafted by Jannie de Lange, is intended for reborn doll collectors aged 14 and above. It is the company’s most sought-after doll.
For yourself and the little ones in your life, Paradise Galleries has two beautiful baby-doll possibilities. Designed for 3-year-olds and up, Sleeping Tall Dreams has amazing technology included. When the doll is held in one’s arms, her heart beats. A simple switch turns on the doll’s “heart,” and she’ll steal yours as well. Michelle Fagan is the talented artist behind this exhausted baby.
Sweet Sister is another Paradise Galleries doll that is ideal for tots and for you, too. I love the baby’s big pink turban! She reminds me of what Lana Turner might’ve looked like as an infant. (Nobody in Old Hollywood could wear a turban quite like Lana!) Created by Fiorenza Biancheri, this fashionable baby has her very own cloth-doll companion. The pair is positively pretty in pink!
Ashton-Drake’s Elle & Peanut is a doll-and-stuffed-toy combo. The Violet Parker duo has a fresh baby-powder scent, and the oversized elephant doubles as a pillow. Little Elle’s costuming boasts colorful hearts and elephants, and her features are hand-painted. These two pals exemplify the bonds between young children and their stuffed animals. It’s a delightful salute to the importance of childhood toys.
When families get together for the holidays, they all want to preserve the moment. Now, with smartphones capable of shooting pictures and videos, every person is a potential star. We all get to experience what it must be like to have the paparazzi always tracking your every move. The Light of My Life baby doll knows she’s a star in the making. Able to be posed in myriad ways, she is all decked out in her stunning party dress. Put her atop the ottoman, which comes with her, and let her steal the show. The doll’s skirt actually lights up with shimmering soft white lights. Artist Linda Murray brought this twinkling, lovely doll to life. Ashton-Drake is sure this baby will light up your life.
Approximating breathing is another technological breakthrough in the doll universe. Yes, you’ve read that right. Ashton-Drake is unveiling a little boy doll that appears to be drawing breaths of life. Seaside Dreams Baby Doll is such a surprising gift. Designed by Andrea Arcello, the baby is absolutely charming in his sea life-inspired pajamas. He would be a delightful addition to any collection by virtue of his looks alone. Ashton-Drake has made him extra special with his breathing capabilities. A touch-activated, battery-powered mechanism causes his chest to rise and fall. The innovation for this doll will take your breath away!
Finally, and I know we showed these in the published DOLLS Holiday Gift Guide, but it’s just not Christmastime without Mattel’s annual Barbie release. Just in time for the holidays, Barbie continues her regal Christmas reign. Few dolls can look as captivating and as sensational when swaddled in a candy-cane gown. Rather than looking sentimental or cloyingly sweet, Barbie comes across as a radiant woman in a merry, magical holiday ensemble. Merry Christmas from my heart and blog to doll collectors everywhere!