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Ill-fated Gifts of Christmas Past

December 16, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a six-part series about MDT staff memories of Gifts of Christmas Past. Check back for future installments.

Staffers at the Missouri Division of Tourism recently were asked to share memories of their favorite Gifts from Christmas Past, with the caveat their responses should be:

  • Totally superficial
  • Related to gifts received before age 17 or 18.

Overall, the results were varied, but fairly heavy on dolls and music-playing devices.

Today, we’ll focus on three of MDT’s baby-boomers, Katie, Debbie, and Carol. (Check back after 6 p.m. today for a related post featuring three more boomers: Barb, Mary, and Cyndi). Out of respect, we won’t (intentionally) divulge anyone’s age.

Please note, these tales are heart-wrenching; you better grab a tissue.

Katie readily admits her favorite Christmas-gift story is painful, even to this day.

“When I was 8, I was given a special October birthstone ring from Santa,” Katie says. “I promptly lost it while sledding down the hill in the backyard.”

Young Katie searched all winter, and the following spring, for her beloved ring.

“As mom said, ‘Lesson learned,’” Katie says.

That’s crushing.

Anyone who knows Debbie won’t be shocked to know her top gift was a Singer sewing machine.

“My grandmother gave it to me as my 15th birthday/Christmas present,” says Debbie, who was born Dec. 13. No year given, just Dec. 13.

Debbie is an avid quilter and still has the Singer – which cost $175 at the time – though she admits it needs a little tune-up and cleaning.

Debbie’s other favorite gift was a blue-and-silver bicycle with a white banana-style seat. Sadly, this item, which Debbie described as being “priceless,” only lasted a couple of years.

It was claimed in a house fire.

Absolutely devastating.

Next up is Carol, whose favorite gifts were dolls.

The first, a Bride Doll, had what Carol describes as a “larger than life train and a huge bell skirt that had to have been a foot-and-a-half wide at the base – if not wider.” This doll was more for decoration than play, though.

This doll was popular during Carol's youth. (image from

This doll was popular during Carol’s youth. (image from

“She sat on your bed after you made it in the morning, or (she sat) on your dresser,” Carol adds. “She was the only reason I made my bed.”

Carol was in third grade when she got the doll, which retailed for between $25 and $50 in the early 1970s. Carol kept her for nearly 20 years. And then?

“A flood took out the storage shed where she was temporarily living in 1991,” Carol says. “I was absolutely crushed.”

The other memory Carol shared was of her Crissy Doll. “She was the only doll I ever had that was a teenager,” Carol says.

Carol was in the first grade when Crissy came into her life. Carol played with Crissy for several years; as an adult, Carol passed Crissy on to her own daughter, who was born in 1985.

Unfortunately, Crissy and the Bride Doll were living together in 1991.

This has been an unfortunate trip down memory lane.

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