I'm thinkin' it must have been about 40 Christmases ago... (Which is completely impossible, of course, because there's no way 1974 was actually 40 years ago. My math must be off somewhere.) Anyway, somewhere along in through there...
My mother, an accomplished and professional seamstress, sewed many of our Christmas gifts when we were growing up. Her project that year was to make five large rag dolls... one for each of us, boy dolls for my brothers, and girl dolls for my sisters and me. This was the pattern:
These were very large floppy dolls... about 2 feet long... so you can see it was quite an undertaking too make five of them, including the clothes. It seems Mother was sequestered in her bedroom with the door closed for days. We children had strict instructions not to go in there because she was working on "Christmas presents." Once our Christmas break from school started it was so hard to obey and not bother her.
One morning, shortly before Christmas, a friend of my mother's stopped by our house. Janie brought with her five large, flat wrapped gifts... and five much smaller ones. Even though it wasn't yet Christmas we were allowed to open them! Each of us received an over-sized Christmas coloring book and a box of crayons! We didn't even have to share our crayons with our brothers and sisters because we each had our own!
Probably a little birdy had told Janie that the preacher's kids needed something to do while their mother sewed. In any case, we happily gathered around the dining room table and spread open our new coloring books. I don't know how many days or hours that kept us occupied, but my mother still gratefully remembers the thoughtfulness of her friend that year.
I'm pretty sure I still have my doll from that Christmas packed away somewhere, along with other cherished rag dolls my mother made over the years. I would have liked to find her and take a picture to show you... but "ain't nobody got time for that" today. (I just Googled the pattern picture above.) But here's a snapshot from that era that I already had scanned. Obviously, it wasn't taken at Christmas time... but oh-so-definitely mid-1970s!
Merry Christmas to all!