Try to think of a really good American Made Christmas gift, appropriate for all ages and every part of the country, one available for under $10.00…? I wanted to create a small book, one full of charm, that was affordable to the woman raising 3 children on her own whose front tire just blew, who needs a quick gift. Or for the person who lives alone, travels for work, and feels forgotten at Christmas. Or for parents, Grandparents who would like to share The Christmas Story with the little ones they love. I wanted this book to be published in the US; in fact I wanted to publish it in Maine, and was delighted to work with my friends at Little Guy Press, 8 miles from my door, here in Casco, Maine! A financial necessity, it had to be a small book; of preference it had to be small enough to fit in the hand, a perfect read while snuggling with a small child ..Wait till you see it…this is a dear little book!
That was a part of my thinking as I began work on The Dolls’ First Little Book of Christmas.
A number of things have recently distilled into usable form, and it has taken years, decades of application in the background.: In the face of daily startling and disheartening media news, I resolved many years ago to replace worldly jitters with peace, beauty, harmony, and to photograph the lifestyle I was creating both indoors and out. I wanted to share beauty and hope with others, to encourage them never to lose heart.
I reacquainted with 2 Dolls that my Grandparents sent me from Germany in 1960 when I was in first grade…Yes! The Dolls will turn 60 next summer! They arrived in their lederhosen and Alpine togs, dressed for Summer in the High Country Meadows, and two sweeter faces have never been created. I have 4 brothers and in youth, far preferred being outdoors playing with them in our wonderful old neighborhood. Thus it was that the dolls survived childhood exceptionally well. Many of you know how I much I loved to sew, both personally and professionally and what a big part it has played in my life: My degree was in Apparel Design, minoring in Costuming for the Theater. About 6 years ago, I turned my attention to the Dolls after decades of busy lifestyle that didn’t include them, and began to create all manner of new clothing and accessories for them, preferring the romance, grace and charm of the years between 1780-1830. These dolls have brought so much delight, so many flights of fancy. They have brought release from the weary world, and opened a new world love, peace, joy and imagination! Through the years, thrift store excursions have yielded wonderful pieces of furniture for the dolls,:dishes, cookware, the spinning wheel, the bed…miniature birdcages, quilt racks, fences and a forest of miniature trees…carpets, tablecloths, sheets and quilts were easy to custom create for them and Voila! The Dolls’ World sprang undeniably to life…It has taken years to build the photo archives to the point where there might be enough usable material to share in a book…
Only the pine forests and crackling breezes of Maine could have inspired this tiny world, or this treasure of a book…Only images of my trips to Bavaria during Advent could have etched themselves so permanently in my memory; only the Greatest Story ever told could give enduring meaning to The Dolls’ First Little Book of Christmas. In the dark season of the year, it has long been customary ( since early Medieval Days) to visit with friends and neighbors, to consider the lives and needs of others, to celebrate with one another in love and joy, letting our friends and family know just how much they mean to us. The giving and receiving of gifts, remembrances, food and song during the days of shortest light remain among our loveliest traditions. . The quiet carols of Advent and triumphant hymns of Christmas are with us wherever we go. And so it is with the Dolls…you’ll see…!
They tell us that small animals, tiny babies, dolls, things in miniature are irresistible to humans…it just happens naturally, so they say! They charm us, they bring out instincts of love, protectiveness, gentleness…In short, they bring out the very best in us…No one could be more surprised than I by the depth of my later in life relationship with the dolls and their world in miniature! ( I’d like to share that after almost 40 years of married life, one morning over coffee, my husband looked over at me, saying, ‘ I always knew that if you’d agree to marry me, we’d be happy, but I never imagined life could be this cute!!’) I think you’re going to like this book…for yourself, and for those you love, as well…
The colors are rich…the textiles are real: wool, linen, cotton. The materials of their world, indoors and out are wood, pewter, wax, rope, straw, pottery…what you’d expect to find in the uncomplicated world of the late 1700’s. The foods are enticing, whether for the Birthday Tea for St. Nicholas on Dec 6, or the foods the Dolls leave out for Santa and the reindeer. Lighting is so important when there are delight and mystery afoot.
The things that are important to us at Christmastime –baking, getting and trimming the tree and the house, making gifts, singing, and hearing the Christmas Story anew are the same things that are important to the Dolls! The symbols that mean the most to us- the Star, the Angels, finding safety and home in a humble manger while Joseph watches patiently, protecting Mary all the while are symbols the Dolls take the most delight in!
This story of Love is our story…My little book is a story of love. I hope my little book, The Dolls First Little Book of Christmas, will become an important annual part of your story!