Ta da! Here is Alby, my Christmas bear for the ad. Now he may not look too decked out for the holiday, but to me he is the epitome of a Christmas bear. I will tell you why in a little story....
When I was a little girl of about 7 or 8 I had gone to the grocery store with my Grandma. It was about a month before Christmas and at the checkout counter they had a magazine display. On the cover of Good Housekeeping that year they had a beautiful Christmas tree with a dapper looking teddy bear sitting underneath it. The bear was wearing a red plaid vest.
I absolutely fell head over heels in love with that bear. I knew exactly what I was going to ask Santa for that year. So that night I got out a pencil and piece of paper and started writing my letter.
I took my time to compose it because my penmanship was terrible and I wanted to make sure that Santa could read it. I started out by inquiring about his health. I respectfully asked for the bear, swearing I had been pretty good all year. Then I wished him, Mrs. Santa and all the reindeer and elves the very best.
The next time we walked up to the post office I asked the postmaster if he could mail my letter to Santa. Now this was hard for me to do, because I was painfully shy as a kid and was always scared to talk to people. But I really wanted that bear. My Grandma told me that I wouldn't be able to mail the letter because I didn't have a stamp. But the postmaster, being a kind man said he would give me a stamp since it was a very special letter. I remember my Grandma frowning at him. I am sure she would have liked to have had a peek at what was in the letter since she didn't know I had already written it.
She asked me on the walk home what I had asked for. Now having supreme faith in Santa, I said he would know when he read the letter. Poor Grandma!
Christmas morning arrived and I ran out to the living room to see where Santa had left my present. We were very poor and couldn't afford a tree that year. On the back of the sofa was a perfectly respectable doll. I am sure when Grandma took a look at my face she knew that wasn't what I had asked for.
She asked me if I liked the doll. I said yes, because I didn't want to be selfish about it. I didn't say much else though and I tried not to cry. Finally she got it out of me what I had asked for. She pulled me on her lap and explained that maybe there was another child out there who needed the bear more than I did and so Santa had to make a very tough decision about who to give it to because bears like that were hard to make and he didn't have many to go around. That actually appeased me. Even though we were very poor, I understood the concept at an early age that there were people out there worse off than we were.
I played with the doll and loved it. But I never completely forgot about that bear. I think that might have been one of the very first steps that sent me in the career direction I ended up taking. I wanted to help Santa since special bears were hard to make, and I wanted to make sure there were enough to go around so that everyone who wanted one got one on Christmas morning.
You can visit Alby on the Bears page of my website.