Christmas Memories: A Doll For Grandma

Porcelain-white skin, lips tinted rose, eyes painted with exquisite detail. What would her hair look like? Long blonde locks that brush her ankles, two auburn-colored braids that playfully hang down from each side of her ball cap, or raven-black ringlets that delicately frame her face – I could only guess. Most outfits were fancy gowns trimmed with lace, but another was a softball uniform, and one was a beautiful red sweater with plaid skirt that included ice skates as an accessory.

When I was a young girl, I remember running down Grandma and Grandpa’s stairs at Christmas time to the Christmas tree they had decorated so nicely. I’d gently search through the gifts until I found the one with my name on it. Every year the box was roughly the same shape and size, and I always knew what would be carefully wrapped up inside – and yet the excitement never waned.

When the time came for presents to be opened, my parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents would gather in a circle to read the Bible. As a child, it was so hard to sit still for the reading, so as soon as the scripture reading was finished, theย kids would jump up and hand out presents to their grateful recipients. Everyone got one present from Grandma and Grandpa – simple and sweet.

Logs crackled in the fireplace, cheeks were pink from the heat of the fire, the murmur of relatives chatting could be heard, and the smell of delicious holiday food filled the room. All of this was drowned out as I started to unwrap my gift. The tag with my name on it was always written in my Grandma’s beautiful handwriting, and the rectangular boxes were expertly wrapped. I’d take my time unwrapping my gift, as I knew the suspense would only last a moment. After I removed the top of the box, I gently unfolded the tissue paper that protected my gift, and there she was – my new porcelain doll. For many years my grandmother picked out a new porcelain doll to give me for Christmas. Each and every one was special to me.

All throughout my childhood my dolls were displayed on my dressers, shelves, and any other open spaces I had in my room. I spent hours playing with them and combing their hair (which I found out later was not a great idea – doll hair is not like human hair). I still have my dolls, and now my daughter enjoys playing with them and taking care of them.

Grandma always loved dolls, and I was not the only one she bought porcelain dolls for. She also bought them for the other girls in the family, and for herself. She once told me that when she was a little girl, her family didn’t have much money, but she remembered getting a doll when she was young – a treasured possession. I often wonder if this was why she continued to collect dolls.

My grandmother, Connie, is the tallest child in the back row.

A few days ago, my great-uncle sent me a document that had been written by my great-grandfather (my grandma’s father) in 1977. In this document, Great-Grandpa reminisced of Christmas’ past, and I found a special mention of my grandmother (Connie) inside of it.

Christmas was better as our children came and gave us incentive for celebrating. Connie started Sunday school and the first year at Christmas program I remember her little poem, yet- so, it goes:

‘Presents large and presents small
But this is the best gift of all (she held up her doll).’

~Roy Falk

Reading this brought back the memory of my Christmas porcelain dolls – a Christmas memory that is still one of my favorites. I like to imagine the magic my grandmother must have felt when she opened up the doll she was given at Christmas when she was young. Was it the same kind of magic she gave to me each and every Christmas when I was a child? I’d like to think so.

To my readers: I hope you had a very Merry Christmas. A Christmas that was filled with tradition, loved ones, and fond memories. Do you have any special Christmas memories? I would love to read about them if you would be so kind as to share them in the comment section below.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!


20 Replies to “Christmas Memories: A Doll For Grandma”

  1. What a precious memory, Erin. I’m grateful to have you continuing the Falk writing tradition.

    1. It really is my pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to comment. ๐ŸŽ„

  2. So sweet to read about the Christmasโ€™ we have shared for many years. Just how I remembered them as well. Thanks for putting it in writing!!

    1. Thanks, Sheila! I had fun writing about our Christmas’. Such fond memories. Thanks so much for reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. This is so sweet, Erin! What great memories and history you have unveiled! I’m glad your daughter shows the same love to your dolls that you did. What a lovely writing you found from your great-grandfather too! I love the poem. I absolutely love the idea of reading the Bible before opening presents. I hope to implement that into my children’s lives when the time comes for that! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks so much, McKenna! We had very special Christmas’ growing up, and I hope to do the same with my kiddos. We have continued the tradition of reading the Bible before presents. It’s a great reminder for young and old of the reason of the season. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, McKenna. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. That’s so lovely that you still have the dolls to show your daughter and that you can think about the happy Christmas times with your Grandma whenever you see them.
    My nan loved Christmas too. I wrote about how she made Christmas special in day 2 of Blogmas if you’d like to see:
    Happy New Year to you and your family ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, Kirsty! I will definitely head over and check out your post. Nan’s are special, aren’t they? I look forward to reading about yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Well done, Erin! Thanks for sharing this moment of Christmas wonder. The other day your Mom ran into a page in Dadโ€™s scrapbook that had my Christmas piece from when I was 3 years old:

    Iโ€™m just a little fellow,
    As everyone can see,
    I hope your Christmas
    Is as happy as can be!


    1. Steve – I love that poem of yours. I’m so happy you posted it here as my mom told me that she found it and was planning on sending it to you, but I didn’t get a chance to see it yet. So, thank you! Also, thanks you for your kind comment. This journey through Great-Grandpa’s writing has sure been exciting. Happy New Year to you and Aggie!

  6. What a beautiful memory! Loved reading about this piece of your heart. Hope you had a lovely Christmas.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Parul! We did indeed have a very nice Christmas, although I miss my grandmother, especially this time of year. I’m lucky to have so many great memories of her to carry me though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! Happy New Year to you!

  7. I remember playing with my mom’s porcelain dolls. (In fact, they were the only dolls I ever played with.) Even as a child I could feel the history through the worn crepe dresses and single shoe that survived for decades packed away in a box. A character in my novel has an experience with these old dolls as a lesson in compassion and the importance of intuiting the value of a well-loved thing not because you necessarily see it the same way but because someone you love, loves it. Thanks for the memories, Erin!

    1. That’s just it, Angela! The meaning behind family heirlooms are just as important, if not more important, than the object itself. The memories that these things conjure up are so precious. Thanks for your lovely comment, and I can’t wait to read your novel!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. What a lovely nostalgic story. I wonder if receiving a porcelain doll by a young girl today would bring the same excitement or is it a timeless type of gift?

    1. That is a very good question, Diana! I can say that my daughter enjoys them, but I don’t think she feels the same passion towards them as I did. But, she and I had very different personalities growing up. I was shy, loved any type of doll, and was very careful with the things that I owned. My daughter is a little spit-fire (in my grandfather’s words), favors things such as scooters, roller blades, and small figurines, and she’s not as careful with her belongings. So, I’m sure it would differ between young girls today. Thanks for the thought-provoking question and kind words, Diana!

  9. What a special memory! I love this โค๏ธ

    1. Thanks, Katie! Definitely a special memory and special connection I will always have with my grandmother. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for reading!

  10. Christmas and dolls are such an unhappy memory or maybe bittersweet, in our family. When my mother was 12 she had a well to do Aunt who would buy the children whatever they asked for on Christmas. Usually, my Mother asked for a doll, but when she was 12, she asked for skates, not knowing that her Aunt had already bought her a baby doll. On Christmas, she got those skates. It wasn’t until after her Aunt died and she found a porcelain baby doll on her bed that her Uncle told her the story. Years later, my Mom bought me a baby carriage for Christmas and put the porcelain doll in it. I didn’t want it and cried because I wanted trucks like my brothers got. That doll is still around, somewhere, but the carriage is long gone.

    1. Your story gave me the chills, Jennifer! What an interesting chain of events. It just shows how different people can be. My daughter has been more like you when you were little. She wants dinosaurs, like the ones her brother got, and a skateboard too. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Jennifer!

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