Louise Anderson

I was 9 years old and the magic of Christmas was mirrored in my eyes as I gazed into the window of Buffalo’s Henry’s Variety Store’s Christmas window. There stood the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. 

Every day, as soon as school let out, I would detour to Henry’s and gaze longingly in the window. There were two other dolls in the Christmas scene with the toys scattered around the little train village, but as far as I saw, there was only one precious doll in the entire window. All my little girl dreams became tied into all we two would share as best friends.

Of course, I made sure that my entire family knew that I was obsessed with this certain doll. If they had not noticed well enough, I even wrote just one item on my letter to Santa. “The beautiful doll in the pink and blue dress in Henry’s store window.”


Then it appeared! Three days before Christmas there was a box under the tree with my name on it. It was exactly the size a doll would come in!! I watched that box for one long day and finally I could not stand it any longer. If only I could take one peek…!

My opportunity came the next day when no one was home. I just had to see her; I just couldn’t wait another day. So, I carefully untied the ribbon and unwrapped the Christmas paper, folding it carefully so I could re-wrap the gift and no one would know that I had peeked before Christmas. But when I looked inside my 9-year-old world exploded.

Oh, no! It was the wrong doll!

Now what can I do? I can’t let anyone know I opened my present early but this is the wrong doll.

After a night of tossing and turning, I came up with a plan. I insisted my mother come with me to see the doll in the window. “Honey, I am just too busy right now.” But, Mom! You just have to see her. (A very sad and teary face helped.)



I remember taking my mother’s hand and almost dragging her down to Henrys where I proudly gestured and announced, “There she is!! Isn’t she beautiful?”

“This is the doll you were talking about?” I was sure that I had accomplished my mission.

On Christmas Eve, there it was. The exact doll box lay beautifully wrapped under the tree. I could hardly wait for the gift opening to begin! Finally, my turn came and, ever so eagerly, I tore into my present to discover a comb and brush set.  


The set had pink and blue flowers on it and was really pretty and I told myself that I really needed a new hairbrush. But…. I don’t know if I cried outside but inside I was sobbing.

Suddenly my dad, who loved Christmas more than any kid ever did, said, “Well, I think there might be one more present we forgot to put under the tree” And there she was, even more beautiful than I had remembered. And she was mine!

That was 76 years ago and every year I still place her lovingly right by our Christmas tree. My 84-year-old heart smiles and once more I become the little girl looking into Henry’s window and the magic of Christmas comes again.


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