Paper Dolls and Christmas Elves

Owen’s Grandmum has given him a digital advent calendar (Jacquie Lawson) for the second year in a row. These things are fantastic. They provide hours of wholesome entertainment. Owen has even started playing Chinese Checkers on the computer. Anyway, this year’s version is an Edwardian Christmas. It’s basically Downton Abbey – you can imagine my delight! I’m about as excited as Owen is. One of the days recently featured a set of Edwardian paper dolls to dress up. They have day clothes and night clothes and outdoor clothes… well, except for the servant, who can be a housemaid or a nursemaid, and apparently never sleeps or leaves the house. In any case…

Owen was really taken with these paper dolls, possibly because we had been talking about one of my childhood memories, which was wandering next door to visit our neighbour Ellen. Ellen always gave me orange juice and homemade cookies when I came over. If that wasn’t enough, she let me go into a spare room and play with old fashioned paper dolls. I think they were from her childhood, though their clothes were (as I recall) childish versions of 19th century ballgowns. You’ve heard before that I was obsessed with the 19th century before I knew historically which century it was – when it was the “olden days” (which, incidentally, according to my students, is now as recent as 1998. Some of my students saw fitting to tape creative projects about a play from 1998 in black and white, for a “back-in-the-day” effect). Ellen’s paper dolls had lush curls, and their dresses were¬† decorated with rosebuds and ribbons. I must have spent hours in that room.

My mother and I made paper dolls at least once, and I mentioned this memory to Owen, too. So with these stories and the prompting of the Edwardian Advent Calendar, behold! We made some, too:

20131215_114932I drew the doll, but Owen drew the face. I love the combination. The fact that Owen included a line for the forehead makes him remind me (in a really good way) of Charlie Brown. Owen also drew the fire truck on his shirt.

Here he is in his Doctor’s costume. He’s been christened Jim.

20131215_114558The scale indicates that Dr Jim’s patient has a temperature of “thirteen-ten.”

Next, meet Pirate Jim, a friendly pirate who uses his sword only for operating on patients. It’s a sword-scalpel?

20131215_114416The hat and sword are entirely made (and cut out) by Owen.

Here’s the boy himself, being good for a change. Sorry. Did I write that?¬†20131215_114124

The notion that elves are watching all the time used to work for me (I think). This form of persuasion has not had much of an effect on our boy. However, over the weekend, we did make a surprising discovery. We attended a local Santa’s breakfast. The only spaces available were next to another family, so we sat with them. Owen struck up a conversation with a man called Mark, who showed Owen his drawing of “two turtledoves” and his Christmas wish lists. After a while, someone came to get Mark, and he put on his elf’s hat and went off to join Santa.

Owen looked at me, wide-eyed. “We didn’t know we were sitting beside an Elf! They really are everywhere!”

Here is Owen, with Santa, and Mark, the elf:


If I don’t get a chance to post again before Christmas, Happy Holidays everyone!