Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17 

When I reminisced about past Christmas gifts, the wonderful Christmases of my childhood consumed my thoughts. We three girls were surely “spoiled” by our grandparents, aunts, and uncles. There were so many wonderful gifts that it was hard to think of one that was special.

Then I remembered the doll. Every year, we received a new doll from Santa or from our parents. Now I must explain that a doll was not high on my Christmas list since I preferred a baseball bat or a board game. That is, until one year when I saw an advertisement for a Betsy McCall doll. You see, in the 1950s, McCall’s Magazine published a page of Betsy McCall paper dolls in the back of each magazine, and I loved her. She was not a baby or a Barbie-type, she was a regular girl. When I saw the doll that matched the paper version, I knew she was the one that I could love forever.

I don’t know how difficult it was to find the Betsy doll, but I know that none of my friends had one, and it seemed unlikely that she would come my way. However, somehow on the Christmas when I was six years old, Betsy McCall was waiting for me under the tree. She was about 12 inches tall with lifelike brown hair and brown eyes, and that was not all. Beside Betsy was a little bed, an armoire, and a collection of beautiful clothes that resembled a real girl’s wardrobe. There was a wool tweed coat for winter, a party dress, play clothes and school clothes, and an apron for cooking. It was a dream come true, and I didn’t know at the time that my mother had sewn all the beautiful clothes. She probably worked on them after I went to bed each night.

For years I played with Betsy McCall. Then for years when I became a teenager and went off to college, I did not even know where Betsy was hiding. It was not until later that I received Betsy a second time. Mother gave her to me when I was the mother of a young daughter. The doll had been refurbished by my aunt and was beautiful. Today she lives in a special place at my house along with some of her original clothes, which are so very special since Mother made them.  

Prayer: Father, as we prepare for a season where gifts are plentiful, let us remember that the greatest gift has been given to us through the birth and life of Jesus Christ.

Sally Dover 

About the Contributor

Sally Dover has been an active member of First Presbyterian throughout her life. Her mother, who sewed the doll clothes, is one of the senior members of the church.