Will My Gift Be My Daughter's "Favorite Present Of All Time"?

Illustration for article titled Will My Gift Be My Daughters Favorite Present Of All Time?

In our Daddy Issues series, a father of a young daughter seeks guidance, hoping to raise a strong woman. He looks to our readers for insight.

So we're going with the doll.

That's the big gift my wife and I are giving our daughter for Christmas this year. She's never been a doll person, this kid — she has a couple old Cabbage Patch Dolls my mom picked up at a thrift store, a few smaller models I picked up somewhere and a couple others here and there, but she hardly ever plays with them.


Two years ago, we splurged on an expensive baby doll and she loved that thing, just flipped the hell out. She took to carrying it with her everywhere, which is something she hardly ever does, and I have to think she learned something about play and compassion.

Then we lost the doll, and she learned about sorrow ....

I don't know why she chose to really bond with that doll as opposed to others. But every now and then she asks about "whatever happened to Baby Emily" — which sounds close enough to a scary movie to creep me out and hope she'll change the subject. This year she's mentioned dolls enough times in connection with Santa that our job was made easy. So we're going to splurge on another nice doll and it's been fun to see all the different kinds.

Just thinking about handing over a potential "favorite present" has made me giddy and put me decidedly in the holiday spirit, reminding me of the one Christmas morning I woke up to a fancy laser gun system that had a holster and so many noises my parents must have kicked themselves for even thinking about it, let alone actually bringing it into our home.

I'm not looking for advice this week so much as remembrances, because I'm simply curious. My brother Jeff's favorite present ever was a basketball hoop, while my brother Tom's was probably a bottle of Drakar Noir. Thinking about the doll and the laser gun and the bottles of Obsession that once lined our shared bathroom, I've thinking about what might have been had there been a sister in our household. Would she have liked dolls? Horses? Lincoln Logs or Erector Sets? What was your favorite Christmas — or other present-buying holiday — gift? I'm talking about that one thing you either still have years later or think about fondly as that one, true link to childhood?


Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!. His second favorite gift was a green Care Bear named Lucky, who, despite the name, led to schoolyard beatings.

Image by Lauri Apple.

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When I was seven I wanted the Addy Walker American Girl doll very badly. My school auctioned her off at our holiday party and I spent all of my saved up allowance on tickets. I cried and cried when I didn't win and my mom apologized and said I would never get her because she couldn't spend that much on toys. (She was a single mom living with her two children in housing projects) Come christmas day, Addy was waiting for me and our power had been turned off. I was fucking cold, but elated. Mom spent the powerbill money on gifts for my brother and I, and because we knew how broke she was, we never expected the gifts. Probably the most surprising, magical Christmas of my life. We ordered in pizza that night and she worked overtime to get our power turned on asap, an of course I was 7 so I couldn't have cared less that the power was off. It just seemed like an adventure. Now I'm living the upper middle class life and nothing seems quite as magical as that Christmas did.