Let’s Talk About Holiday Giving
November 7, 2018
BY: Francesca O'Cathain, Esq.
A few Christmases ago my then-five-year-old, Keira, got not only the Monster High Doll House that she wrote to Santa Claus for, but also, from her grandparents (amongst other things), the American Girl doll Julie she also wanted.
Julie (or ‘Jul,’ as Keira calls her), has become part of the family. She eats breakfast with us, requires multiple outfit changes, and, when we recently went skiing, required her own little luggage bag. Joking aside, I love it. When I started reading my daughter about Jul’s background I was surprised to learn that Julie— one of the historical dolls from the 1970’s— is the child of divorce.
Some of the stories are of how Julie address divorces, how she deals with divorce, how her sister does not handle the divorce well, and how she feels compared to her friends whose parents are not divorced.
Although Keira knows about divorce and my job as a New Jersey divorce lawyer, she did not choose Jul because of her connection to divorce; instead she wanted Jul because she likes all the “flower power” accessories that come with a “fun-loving, happy 1970’s girl.”
That being said, it is amazing that there are resources out there for children with divorced parents! Whether it be Julie and her books or another toy, it is really important that a child has someone that they can identify with. I think it is really important for a divorced parent to make sure your child finds a toy or someone they can identify with to help them feel not so alone during a divorce. There are also lots of movies and T.V. shows with divorced parents, non-traditional families, etc., that may be worth looking into to help your child feel less alone. (For instance, the Reese Witherspoon/Vince Vaughn comedy Four Christmases and even the Tim Allen new-classic The Santa Clause).
And this holiday season, when my husband and I are struggling to get everyone out of the house for three different schools in time, and stimulatingly making sure Jul is dressed to the nines for her short ride to school, I will try to remember how much I love American Girl dolls— and how divorce is often a part of family’s holidays.
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