The Holidays are here in full swing! Do you know what to buy your doll and bear aficionado friends? Generally, we aren’t hard to please; most of us never met a doll or bear we didn’t like. Yet, it can be hard to buy for the collector, or doll, who has everything, so here are some tips. Also, remember, when it comes to a gift for doll and bear folk, don’t be afraid to think outside the doll box.
1. Antique and vintage furniture, doll house, play scale, large scale: Collectors enjoy putting their dolls in vignettes they have created. Doll furniture isn’t just for dollhouse dolls anymore. Antique and vintage furnishings are made for dolls of all sizes and include salesman samples, tiny stoves, tea sets, child-size tables & chairs, toy appliances and more. Ginny has had furniture for her, vintage American Girl furniture and accessories make great gifts, Barbie play scale furniture works for Barbie and her fashion doll friends.
2. Antique and vintage fabric, lace, and trim, material: Dolls need clothes made of materials appropriate to their ages - just like us. Antique and vintage lace and trims add to any outfit, and many antique dolls would be grateful for a new dress made of old material. Collecting old materials is a quest in itself, and a great crash course in textiles. And, here’s a bit of trivia - collecting and studying old textiles helped fashionista Iris Apfel’s get her start.
3. Antique and vintage baby clothes, children’s clothes, doll clothes: These are great because they also fit more substantial antique and vintage baby, toddler, and child dolls. They are made of old materials and suit the dolls well. Long christening dresses are terrific for antique bisque babies. Look for a child’s trunk or antique suitcase to store them in, or a child’s wardrobe or salesman sample.
4. Doll cases, vitrines, shelves: There are cute examples of these available, and they don’t have to be big. Even antique sewing cabinets and advertising cupboards for thread and spice could be attractive storage for tiny dolls. Printers trays are time-honored homes for miniatures, small bears, and dolls. Many old barrister bookcases and breakfronts make impressive dollhouses, too. Be curious about what to do for your doll with your curio, and you will be surprised.
5. Vintage Annalee felt dolls for Christmas and the Holidays: Annalee dolls are double gifts; they are great character dolls, but awesome decorations, too. The elves, snowmen, Santas, reindeer, and Christmas mice fit well with any doll display and are so darn cute.
6. Nutcrackers: Relive the story about this functional doll that sprang from the pages of Tales of Hoffmann to the stage of The Nutcracker Ballet. As for utensils, nutcrackers date to Neanderthal times. As dolls and Christmas icons, they reign over Christmas everywhere.
7. Steiff bears, Russ Berrie, Hermann, Schuco, and other vintage bears and plush: Bears go hand in hand with Christmas and the holidays. There are adorable, Kwanzaa and Hanukah bears, too. Bear ornaments, teddy books, and decorated china also make terrific gifts for Teddy bear lovers.
8. Edith the Lonely Doll books: What’s not to like! These books are about a doll and a family of bears. Edith began life as a Lenci doll but inspired many other doll makers including R. John Wright and Madame Alexander. See how it all started with the original books.
9. Books on collecting, making dolls, miniatures, paper dolls, including The Art Doll Quarterly which encourages using vintage materials and Mary Randolph Carter’s The Joy of Junk.
10. Small antique dolls look great as Christmas ornaments, along with antique cotton batting ornaments, snow babies, miniature mohair bears, mignonettes and more. Antique Christmas Fairies and Treetop Angels like those by Holt Howard are perfect, too. Vintage animated carolers and angels are lots of fun to display with an old doll. Blown glass ornaments are often found in doll form, as are old lights.