What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.
When I was about eight, I think, which would have put me in the third grade, I still loved playing with my dolls. I had a special one that I kept long after I stopped playing with her. She always had a place of honor among my stuffed animals.
Sadly, though, the poor little thing didn’t have a lot of clothes. I remember the outfit she was wearing when I got her, and one other that I had pieced together from an older doll who was pretty much used up. So I was hoping, hoping, hoping for a new outfit for my doll that Christmas.
My Aunt Katie, my dad’s youngest sister, lived far away in Colorado. I loved the few visits we made with her, as we moved from Minnesota to Oregon and back again during my growing-up years. She was kind, and very pretty. She always sent birthday and Christmas cards, but rarely were there any packages.
That year, however, a box came from Aunt Katie and Uncle Lyman. Such a thrill! That box was like a wonderland to me, since we just didn’t get that sort of thing very often. This was back in the good old days when Christmas didn’t start until after Thanksgiving, and when gifts didn’t have to cost a fortune in order to be acceptable. ANY gift was a treasure!
I remember my dad cutting the string around the box, peeling off the brown paper, cutting the tape that held the cardboard flaps together. As he pulled the flaps back, the excitement built until I could hardly stand it. The box was packed full of brightly-wrapped gifts, decorated with curly ribbon. There was something for everyone. I have to be honest, though. I don’t remember what my dad, mom, or sister got. I just remember my gift.
On Christmas morning, we always had to choke down some sort of breakfast before the gift-opening ceremonies began. It was an unusually good Christmas, with new things that I’d never imagined. But Aunt Katie’s box is the one I remember the best.
It was full of clothes that were the perfect size for my doll! This was before the Barbie Doll invasion, and my doll was cute and innocent. There were little pants, skirts, tops, even pajamas. And my absolute favoirte was a grey corduroy coat with pink piping around the collar, with a matching bonnet. Oh, I was in heaven! Each outfit had to be tried on, fussed over, and displayed to my disinterested but tolerant family. Aunt Katie had made each outfit herself, and some of it was hand-stitched.
What a thrill for a little girl’s heart! I kept that box of clothes and the doll, and passed them on to my own daughter many years later. I can’t remember if the doll and the clothes survived to be passed on to her daughter, as some of my other things were. Seems to me the doll’s hair was in pretty sad shape the last time I remember seeing her, and many moves and “clearing out the junk” may have sentenced my doll to her heavenly reward.
In any event, that was the first hand-made gift I remember. It meant the world to me.