Now that malls are prematurely decorated and Walmart is playing festive music, the consumerist in me knows that Christmastime is here. In light of this, I revisited several old toys that I wanted as a child, but never received. The paramount of this disappointment was the typical American Girl Doll.
It was the Christmas of my fourth grade year. I wanted Samantha, the orphan who lives with her rich grandmother in 1904. She was pretty, brunette and the only thing I wanted that year. Christmas came, no Samantha American Girl Doll. Instead, I got a bow and arrow. Questioning whether my being female was a disappointment to my parents, I asked my mom why I didn’t get what was on the top of my wish list. She replied: “You just never played with dolls. I was not going to spend that much on a doll you would never play with.”
Fair enough. She was right. I was more of a bow-and-arrow type child anyway. Reminiscing on these childish wishes, however, I googled American Girl Dolls, hoping to revisit those dreams.
What came up was a Maplelea doll: the “Canadian Girl Doll,” if you will.
Upon further research, I discovered that these dolls were on the top ten list of Canadian Christmas presents for the upcoming year.
For those who do not know me, I am Canadian. I lived in Canada until I turned 6. I love Canada and I love being Canadian. But these dolls were embarrassing.
There is Taryn, who has a passion for painting, wilderness camping, figure skating and above all, family. She is from Banff, Alberta. Three things she couldn’t survive without are “hiking boots, clean fresh mountain air and butterflies.”
Then we have Brianne, a farm girl from Manitoba. She loves pink and sparkly things. Her aspirations in life are to become a farmer just like her mom, or a ballerina.
There is Alexi, a city girl from Toronto. She loves orange and her cat, Chapta. She wants to be a famous inventor.
Jenna, a ginger from Nova Scotia who enjoys sailing and Shepard’s pot pie.
Leonie, the French-Canadian from Quebec City. She is an avid snowboarded and figure skater.
Finally, Saila, the Inuit from Iqualuit, Nanavut. She just got a puppy named Nanuq, which means polar bear.
The worst part about these dolls is how obvious the attempt to replicate American Girl dolls is.
I chuckle at the thought of a girl waking up Christmas morning with expectations of a beautiful American Girl Doll, only to receive the less attractive, Maplelea.
Come on, Canada. We can be more creative here. If if we are going to copy America, lets try to do it well.