Thursday, December 23, 2010

An American Girl Christmas

We all have our holiday traditions, whether it's putting a small stuffed moose right below the tree topper or baking the same sugar cookies every year. One of my traditions is re-reading two American Girl Doll books: Samantha's Surprise and Molly's Surprise. Each time I pick these up I am transported back to my childhood.

If you've ever had a female friend or sister that's somewhere around 8 to 13 years old, you probably know what an American Girl doll is. For those, here's a quick debrief: American Girl dolls are dolls that are fictional people, usually around ten years told and living in some historical time such as the early 1900s (Samantha) or during World War II (Molly), and each has six companion books. The titles and basic premises of all the books are the same with the girls' names and histories switched out. For example, every girls' Christmas book ends with "Surprise" and each girl gets the same type of present, but their stories are all different.

Sounds like it could get boring after a while, right? On the contrary! While the stories are a bit formulaic in terms of the plot, each individual is incredibly well developed. Every girl has different dreams, and different things that she wants out of life. Their dreams range from realistic to broader "What I want to be when I grow up?" questions. Every story definitely has it's moments of brightness and joy, but most importantly, love. I don't want to get too sappy, but it's great reminder that Christmas hasn't become totally commercial--for a lot of people, it's about being with family and friends, and upholding tradition.

So with that in mind, do you have any books or traditions that remind you of holidays from your childhood?


  1. Oh my gosh, I thought I was the only one who did this. I read Kirsten's Surprise every Christmas Eve, although Samantha and Molly were two of my other favorite American Girls!

  2. I just started a tradition last year, every December I'm going to read Jostein Gaarder's A Christmas Mystery, which is sort of like an Advent calendar. Each chapter is a different day in December, and the main character Joachim opens a magic advent calendar that tells the story of a girl who goes back in time with angels and shepherds and whatnot to Jesus' birth. It's a really lovely story, and I am planning on reading it to my kids each year (when I have them).

  3. OMG OMG! I used to love the American Girls! One tradition we had was those advent calenders. I loved the ones that had chocolate in them for every day! We had this kids tape of Christmas songs but I don't even remember what it was called. It was just kids singing all these Christmas songs. I ALWAYS watched The Grinch with my mom..the original version!



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