Over the years, I have developed little traditions of things that are usually toys to find myself or ask to receive at Christmas. I am a toy fanatic all year round, but that fanaticism really gets ramped up at Christmas. There’s other things I like, too, as you’ll see….:)
1) A Pony for Christmas.
Yep,I was one of those horse-crazy girls as a pre-teen,but, after learning how much space and expense a horse would take up, I thankfully was able to channel that desire elsewhere: Breyer Horses. I have many happy memories of checking off particular models in the Breyer foldout guides that came in each model’s box, planning my “stable” and thinking up names for the new arrivals.
I still have many of my Breyers and I have found older ones from my collecting era on eBay that I always liked but never got around to getting. A true discount buyer, I gladly take the dinged, scratched models that are offered for cheap. And at Christmas, I have found a bit of joy in looking specifically for Breyer ponies– usually older models– and either asking for them or getting them with Christmas money.
Breyer didn’t make a whole lot of ponies, though, especially in my collecting years of 70s—80s. So in looking for old ones, I often have to be satisfied with the same mold of pony, repainted as another release. Breyer’s old Shetland Pony, for instance, comes in many many colors on the same mold, and my 2016 Christmas Pony was one: a 1970s bay I named Cinnamon Roll.
On occasion, though, the Christmas Pony takes a different form and I find it as a plush toy. In 2017, for instance, when I visited Tractor Supply Company to get a gift card for my stepdad, I looked at their Breyer selection, but they were all new models, were horribly expensive, and did not pique my interest at all. I am just not into the new sculpts(not that they are not exquisitely done) done by the artists who took over after Breyer’s original sculptor, Chris Hess, retired.
However, on the way out, I stopped by the stocking stuffer bins and…
….there he was. My Christmas Pony. A huggable,flopsy “dolly” sort of pony,bay with white socks and a face full of mischief. On sale for half off the original price, the pony was ripe for the taking and I left the store with a gift card and a happy little roly-poly bag-of-beans pony cuddled under my arm.
2)Rescued Teddy Bears.
I usually “rescue” several teddies each year from Goodwill and thrift stores and take them home and give them a good hot wash in the machine. Some I keep, and others I donate. Where I donate them is a closely guarded secret.
My favorites of these are JC Penney’s teddy bears, made in the 90s and sold in their stores at Christmas. They are large, terrifically burly,and cuddly. They also represent some of the last great teddy bears before they all began to be made with much more cheap-feeling plush, became spindly and “beany”, and their eyes all became too close together.