While crafting is great and creativity should be encouraged - if I see another loom band lurking on the floor I may go quietly crazy. They are everywhere. Yesterday I think I saw a bird outside choking on one. They should be banned, preferably by the Government.
Last Christmas I was at my wit's end. Buying for two girls, aged seven and nine should be fun. But it mostly is not fun at all. I'd been to the shops countless times (not usually something I complain about) and was reduced to tiredly and emotionally wandering through toy aisles. I think I may have been moaning out loud, I'm not sure. I couldn't understand why it was near impossible to find stuff that wasn't cheap and nasty, shallow and gaudy, boring or breakable? I'd really felt like crying when I came across a huge display of horror-Bratz-type dolls that offered matching girls outfits. Like something out of the Rocky Horror show. It was too ghastly for words.
In Target I found a cute Christmas tee-shirt for Mim with a sparkly crown on the front. It wasn't until I was standing in line to pay that I turned the shirt over and found the sparkly words on the back:
Because it's all about me!It's Christmas for goodness sake! With a gasp of horror I ditched the shirt and ran out of the shop.
Worth considering: What are your priorities when buying Christmas presents? Why buy them at all?
I think it is a time when we remember and celebrate the gift of God's Son coming into the world - the ultimate gift! So it is a good chance to also show love and generosity to our loved ones with some thoughtfully chosen gifts - hopefully avoiding the present giving orgy, and certainly not encouraging the "all about me" attitude!
So it was with relief, amazement and, yes, joy that I discovered in a David Jones Department Store, the range of OUR GENERATION Dolls and accessories.
Please note, I am not paid by anyone to endorse any company, brand or retailer. However, I have no problem in personally recommending something that I have found to be good - in the hope that others in similar situations might benefit from my experiences.
Wow, where to start. With the dolls themselves. They are gorgeous. Not in a barbie doll perfection sort of way. They are pretty and normal. Brown, blonde, auburn or black hair in varying lengths. Some have freckles. One has glasses. At 45cm (18") they are a good doll size - not too big, not too small.
Each doll has a name. Each doll also, get this, has an interest: ballerina, horse rider, trekker, a clever cookie… Some of the dolls come with books - small novels telling of the doll's adventures. Many came with accessories, and some with a change of clothes.
The clothes are really lovely. The boxed sets usually come with matching shoes or boots (which fit!) and often hair ties/bows, a hat or tights. They are outfits any little girl would love to wear. Warm winter coats, plaid skirts, tutus, running shorts, shirt dresses - of every colour. The quality seems excellent.
The attractive pink and yellow packaging is eco-friendly and almost every box folds into something useful, like a carry case. On the back of each doll box is the story of a real girl who had done something amazing, like start a charity or champion a cause. There are more inspirational stories on the OG Website.
Our Generation is made by Battat, a family-run company based in Montreal, and NY state. Their website states that the dolls were made in response to their desire to provide girls with positive role models and play toys. Some money from the sale of each doll goes towards their Free the Children - Power of a Girl initiative.
Each doll and the accessories you can buy separately (Like a horse, a jeep, a moped, a carry case etc) are all reasonably priced. In Australia this means almost everything costs between $25 and $50, with the dolls starting at around $35. It is a company policy to produce quality dolls at a price that doesn't exclude anyone.
I must admit I've started planning out which accessories could work for upcoming birthdays and Christmases. The doll carrier backpack is particularly good - a backpack for your girl, it holds the doll and some outfits too. Excellent way to make the doll mobile, without getting wrecked along the way.
My girls were overjoyed when they each received a doll each for Christmas. They had not been hugely doll-orientated, but these dolls have been loved like crazy. The dolls came on holidays with us, and are often belted into car seats for the school run. My niece has become their favourite hair stylist, and the story books have been poured over and discussed at length.
Do you remember your first doll? Mine came from a relative I had never met who had painstakingly knitted a dress, shoes, hat and matching bag. I thought it was beautiful. I took the doll with me to visit a friend. We took the doll to the local park. Somehow, and the details are sketchy in my mind here, we lost the doll in a swamp.
I've had to work really hard at letting my girls take their dolls out and about.
Because the dolls are a standard size, buying additional clothes is easy. On holidays we found a small community shop where local women hand-made dolls clothes. Most pieces was $2. Mim obsessed over this sleeping bag with hood, and spent her holiday money on it.
This was last holidays when Eleanore discovered the joys of dressing like her doll.
David Jones sold out of their Our Generation stock over the Christmas period. I asked around, but sadly, no one could tell me if or when they would be getting any more things in.
So it was rather exciting to see a display of new stock last week when I walked past the DJ's Toy Department. I see there is more available online as well. I think DJs should be commended for getting in this great brand - I really haven't come across a similar doll company with the range, quality and affordability of these ones. (I did a bit of googling of reviews and this view seems to be confirmed)
So thanks to Battat for making this great range - and for their commitment to the positive ethos behind it.
I would have written about these dolls much earlier, but didn't want to disappoint people by referring them to something that in Australia at least was impossible to find! (Target seems to be the main stockist in the USA.)
So, if you buy your Christmas gifts early, this range is well worth checking out.
Do your girls like dolls?
What are your favourite items for girl's gifts?