Best Christmas Gift

After Nancy at Not Quite Old posted about the best Christmas gift she ever received, I got to thinking about my best Christmas memory.

I was probably five or six–in any case I was quite young, we were still in England, and I was eight when we moved to the U.S.

Both my parents were very clever with their hands. My father was a blacksmith and welder by trade, but he was one of those people who could build, fix or repair just about anything. My mother was a hairdresser by trade, but she was a wonderful cook and could stitch, knit, crochet or craft just about anything.

I still clearly remember coming downstairs that Christmas morning. Laid out underneath the tree was a china-head baby doll with a complete layette, a pink satin bassinet and a grey pram. It was perfect. I took care of that baby, put her in the bed, took her for walks in the pram.

But the most remarkable thing is that we were not well-off. The doll was probably not new. My mother knitted all the clothes. My father made the metal frame for the bassinet and my mother sewed the fabric to cover it. Even more remarkable was that the pram was a doll-sized replica of a real English pram, and even small ones are not cheap.

Mine was grey but otherwise looked very much like this

Mine was grey but otherwise looked very much like this. (Photo

Sadly, I have no photos from that day. I wish I still had every piece. Imagine what the doll alone would be worth as a collectible (not that I would part with it)! But the memory of that Christmas morning is indelible.

The doll isn't right, but we always had a live tree with candles. My father kept a bucket of water next to it. (Photo

This doll isn’t right, but we had a live tree with candles. My father kept a bucket of water next to it. (Photo


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