GENDUSA COLUMN: The magic of the bride doll

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, December 14, 2022

We all recall those Christmas mornings when Santa surprised us with the bike we wanted or the music box we didn’t ask for but loved. Those special moments when enchantment seemed to whirl around our living rooms as flames danced in the fireplace. It was 1950-something when a magical Christmas morning transformed me into a bonified sugar plum-filled, card-carrying member of Santa’s Spirit team forever. 

Grandpa (my grandmother) and Granddaddy were traveling to spend the Christmas holidays with us. Talk about nirvana! To have Santa, new toys, Mama’s cookies, and my Grandparents colliding on the same day meant this girl was in candy-cane Heaven! 

Most of you know about my love for Grandpa and how much she influenced my life. However, this story about the spirit of Christmas begins with my grandfather, John. 

Santa arrived on time that cold Tennessee morning. And when I spied the doll I had asked him for sitting on the bench near the tree, I began to squeal! 

Let me digress a bit:  I was the squealer in the family. The rest of the group were quiet, controlled folks who understood the word “calm,” which I have yet to grasp. Trust me; I could write a handbook on “over the top” correctness which I never corrected no matter how many times the family tried. 

So, while the clan rolled their eyes at my shenanigans, I began to look around the tree. I thought I had shaken, rattled, and studied the tags on all the presents underneath the branches, but an enormous gift was tucked in the corner. 

“Was that big box always there, Mama?” I questioned. 

“It came this morning, and I have no idea where or who sent it!” She responded as others noticed the gigantic wrapped mystery box. 

I strolled over the papers and ribbons scattered around my feet and glanced at the tag. It said simply, “To Lynn.” Nothing else. 

Dad helped pull it from the corner. If I stood it on its end, it was the same height as I was, and I could not imagine what was inside.  

I sat on the floor and began to rip at the paper and ribbon. The revealed box was powder blue with silver bells emblazoned over the top. And when I pulled the lid off, my squealing hit a pitch that burst a few eardrums in houses down the road. 

She was dressed in a white bridal gown with a veil attached to a tiara resting on her blond curls. She was as tall as I was and the most gorgeous doll I had ever seen. Everyone appeared surprised, but my smiling grandfather had a special twinkle in his eyes.

Grandpa told the rest of the story. She and Granddaddy were shopping for presents a few weeks before Christmas. He rarely accompanied her, but on that day, he decided to join. When he rounded the corner to the local Five and Dime store where one purchased all good and perfect things, he saw the bride doll prominently displayed in the window among other toys.

“Nannie, I don’t care how much that is; I am buying that for Lynn!” He announced as he pointed to the doll.

She explained she was flabbergasted because he never was involved in selecting the gifts for the grandchildren. 

Grandpa was still shaking her head as her husband grabbed the box, went to the car, and sat with the doll until it was time to go home. His shopping spree was over.

As for me, I don’t recall feeling as special and loved as on that day when a bride doll came to me. Being the odd over-the-top kid who often felt like an outsider in a family of rational, intelligent folks understood her granddaddy adored her for being uniquely her.

The doll represents all that is good about Christmas. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of the magical gift of love. How tenderness can heal hearts and restore spirits is indeed glorious. God sent his son to us to teach the power of his love.  No matter how flawed we are, our Lord still adores us. We can squeal, scream, and squirm, but God keeps presenting us with his valuable gift of acceptance and forgiveness. 

Granddaddy gave me more than a doll that day; he gifted me the spirit of Christmas, which I have kept all my life. 

May you feel the love of Christmas Magic each year and squeal because you do. I pray you never outgrow the wonder of it all.