April 6, 2020

Celebrating the Coolest Local Stuff

handmade Christmas ornament dolls from 1960s
Somewhere around ten or twelve, it became my job to put up my grandmother’s Christmas trees. She had three. One in each of her second story picture windows, and a third, downstairs in her beauty salon on St. Joe Avenue. There was a big, fake one, a smaller fake one, and the fakiest of all, the aluminum with the colored light wheel. She rotated them around from year to year. But one constant was her Character Dolls. One of her customers made them. Fairy tale icons mostly. Robin Hood’s in there. So is Bo Peep. And the Jolly Green Giant for some reason.

By Jay Kerner

Somewhere around ten or twelve, it became my job to put up my grandmother’s Christmas trees. She had three. One in each of her second story picture windows, and a third, downstairs in her beauty salon on St. Joe Avenue.

Triumph Foods Ad

There was a big, fake one, a smaller fake one, and the fakiest of all, the aluminum with the colored light wheel. She rotated them around from year to year.

But one constant was her Character Dolls. One of her customers made them. Fairy tale icons mostly. Robin Hood’s in there. So is Bo Peep. And the Jolly Green Giant for some reason.

I always looked forward to opening the box each year and finding them just where I’d left them for their long winter’s nap.
They’re quite detailed and beautifully sewed, for something from the early 60’s.

St Joseph REC Center photo and info
puppy being blown by fan

They became mine when my grandma passed. I sold some of her stuff and gave away a bunch. But I kept these silly dolls.
With all the upheaval of family divorces, step-parents, moving, etc., they’re the one consistent thing I associate with Christmas.

SuddenLink services over flotball field

There aren’t as many as I remember any more. They were always attractive to both cats and dogs for some reason. Perhaps the wolf got Red Riding Hood. And a few of the survivors have lost a detail here or there. Robin popped a bow string and the crook of Bo Peep’s staff is broken. But there’s still enough left to still touch my Grinchy-ass heart (even if it is “6 sizes too small”).

So, the dolls just came out again. This is at least their 50th Christmas that I can remember. If that’s not a holiday tradition, I guess I don’t know what one is. I assume the little old lady that made them, made them for other people, too. Anybody else have a set of these? Love to see them if you do.

woman cleaning with towel
Montgomery & Son Trash Truck