There were two boxes in particular that drew me. They were equal in size—about 20½” by 8”. One was addressed to me. The other was addressed to Amanda. What could be in them? I had only to wait for Christmas Day to find out.
It came with the usual Christmas excitement and long waiting that Christmas mornings always seem to bring in books—and I always viewed my life as a book. Amanda and I hurried out of our beds as soon as we woke up and ran to see what we had in our stockings. Daddy Clause had been there during the night. We found a fun assortment of goodies—Riesens, a toothbrush, a TY beanie baby, and some other things. We had to wait a little while longer before we could find out what was under the tree.
Once we finally had everyone gathered, we began to open gifts… and as usual, the most intriguing was saved until last. In my usual fashion, I tore off the green wrapping paper, and to my delight, saw the emblem written on the white box: The American Girl Collection. With a gasp of rapture, I ripped off the tape that held the box closed and lifted the top. There, sleeping comfortable with her mouth parted slightly and her long, dark lashes brushing her cheeks, was the doll of my dreams—Kirsten. Her smooth blonde hair was braided on either side of her part and looped up just like I had seen in the catalogue, and she wore her lovely blue sprigged dress. And there was the first book in her series, and a separate box of her accessories! What thrill!
Mommy told me not to take her braids out—she knew what would happen when I did. When I finally got permission, the inevitable happened… poor Kirsten’s hair became quite the rats nest. I only have gotten it tamed in the last couple years, though I think the damage is irreparable—she has some very frazzled ends.
Oh the fun we had, Amanda and I, with Kirsten and Felicity! I remember going to Campobello with our cousins, and purposefully driving my cousins crazy with Kirsten’s voice. One of my clearest memories of our childhood friend Megan was playing dolls with her—she had Samantha—and when the boys would come bother us, we would start undressing our dolls to get them to go away. (Terrible, I know!) Grama bought me a new outfit for Kirsten every birthday and Christmas, so I have almost the whole collection. I stopped collecting only a couple years ago, but I must say, it’s been hard to give up dolls. Kirsten still sits on my bed, and I dress her and do her hair now and then.
With all this said, you can imagine my dismay when I received a copy of the October 2009 American Girl catalogue and read the terrible words:
"SOON WE WILL SAY FAREWELL TO KIRSTEN."
WHAT!?!?!?! Silly as it may sound, I was nearly devastated. Discontinue Kirsten, as they discontinued Samantha? Whatever for? (They haven’t even made her movie yet! :-( ) I have always loved Kirsten, not only because she was my doll, but also because of her stories—the exciting pioneer spirit has always enraptured me. And now to discontinue her—little girls like I once was will not be able to have the enjoyment I had in her. Poor Kirsten. I would really like to know why American Girl is discontinuing some of their beloved characters.
American Girl has been an important part of my growing-up. But I am very disappointed to see some of the decisions they have been making. Also, I have come to see that while they have great stories, in their desire to help girls solve life’s problems and such, they do not offer Biblical solutions to life’s problems. Instead they offer a philosophy that says, “Follow your inner star.” (Whatever that means!) One of my dreams—perhaps it is a wild one—is to create something like American Girl, but Christ-centered, so that children will have godly “friends” (book characters and dolls) who will help them to want to honor Christ. Mission City Press has made some of those available in their Elsie, Millie, Violet, Laylie, and Kathleen books and dolls, but they have recently shut their doors and discontinued all their characters. :-) So maybe one day the Lord will allow me to reach out to children and give them a mix of what American Girl and A Life of Faith have given me. We’ll see where he leads! I know how to write the stories, but how to have dolls made, and how to sell them, I have no idea! :-)
By the way, I am not saying farewell to Kirsten! She’s a-stayin’ on my bed! :-) And my little friends who don’t get a Kirsten on time are welcome to come and play with her. :-)