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Black Velvet
December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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The Baby Chrissy Christmas.

Submitted by on December 22, 2010 – 1:07 am5 Comments

The Baby Crissy Christmas.

I am pretty sure I asked for Baby Crissy. One cannot be too sure of a memory 37-years-old. But, I do know this. That doll is sitting on a shelf in my spare room. I am 43. I got her the Christmas I was 6, younger than the age my daughter is now. It also was the year my brother was born. (Isn’t he cute?)

Of all the things I have let go in the last three-plus decades, that doll I cannot let go. I told myself for many years I was keeping her for my future daughter, and then one day I found Baby Crissy splayed and naked in Maria’s closet, and well, that was the end of that. I took her back. She’s still naked, but for at least 35 years she wore a dress and booties I once wore as a baby. I have those folded away now. They’re vintage, after all.

Why the doll, I have asked myself as I prepared to write this essay. I have Barbie’s and childhood books that, truth be told, I would not cry at the loss of. But, Baby Crissy… she is different.

First of all, she is the size of a 9-month-old baby and so holding her was real and comforting. OK, she’s hard rubber, but I learned to look past that. In a time when nearly all the dolls, and all media, showed blonde people, I loved having my red-haired doll. She was as close to looking like me as I could ever dream of in a doll. Her hair grows long when you pull it, but that was not my fascination. She was life-like to me. I changed her clothes, painted her fingernails, kept her on my bed each day.

When the internet was born, I remember sitting in my office and searching ebay for Baby Crissy, just because I wanted to see if she was worth moolah..and because back then, I still was in awe of all you could suddenly find on the internet. I digress. So anyway, I discovered mainly parts for sale, but wow, I also found there were Baby Crissy fans everywhere. I was not alone in my adoration. (And you know, I’d never sell her…)

And though Baby Crissy has spent many years in boxes, and traveling with me from house to house and city to city, I knew she was there. When my therapist told me I needed to hug on my inner child, I pulled her out of the box in the attic. It was sweet, but not the same. (If I recall, my therapist had a stuffed raccoon for his inner child. Oh yes, one day I will write about all that, but only if someone gives me a big book deal…)

That was more than a decade ago and I put Baby Crissy away until Maria was a toddler. Though my daughter likes dolls, they’re not wholly her thing. The presents she remembers most are crafts, books and dress-up clothes.

And I am OK with that, because it means she won’t mess with my Baby Crissy again.

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  • Ody says:

    Carrie,

    I wrote in Marta’s blog today about Skipper being my favorite Barbie Doll, but I was going to continue to mention that Baby Crissy was my favorite doll!!!! And I had the very same one and box. I still have her too. I think she is hidden away in the closet of the bedroom I grew up in. :-) I loved the way you can style her hair any length you’d like. Thanks for the memories!!!! Oh to be young again. To play with dolls that is. LOL!!!!

  • Love it! I have my baby doll. It’s in much worse shape, but I still feel good when I look at her face.

  • Kari G says:

    Maybe its this type of feelings my parents want me to developed for the countless toys and trinkets they bought us as kids, but I just can’t. Maybe because i am still rather young at the age of 24 and am ready to make my own memories as an independent woman. Sure a lot of things i will keep and remember always. But to keep every single thing is just not my thing. Also, with so many kids in my family passing things on i think has a bigger memory to add to. I also prefer to give things away, donate, there are so many needy people in the area and the majority of these people are latinos too.

    BTW: new here, and already enjoyed your article :)

  • Joanne says:

    Two Christmases before you received your Baby Crissy, I got my Crissy doll. Although I did love her, I never appreciated her until she was long gone. I did not appreciate any of the beautiful dolls that my mother (& father) bought me, not until I was a grown woman with girls of my own. I had three real baby brothers to play with after all, dolls were nothing compared with them. Now the brothers are all grown into men/Daddies. My love of dolls didn’t kick in until I was almost out of school, a dear friend of mine had her childhood Baby Crissy and it was love at first sight. I have instilled in all of my daughters an appreciation for dolls and my three year old son loves his babies so much that I cannot wait to see him as a real Daddy someday.
    I recently found a Baby Crissy at the dump of all places, there is a little building called the Free Shack, where people ( including myself) leave items that are still of use without wasting them. I am now in the process of restoring my Baby Crissy to her former glory and my 9year old is trying to convince me that she “needs” her.

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