Christmas Series 2022: Day 13

Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.

~ Lenore Hershey


Day 13 brings a touching gift that was done with tender loving care. It has to do with renewing something old for the younger ones in order to appreciate it for years to come. 🙂


Link: Gift Idea: Reclamation- How to Fix and Reuse a Toy



Gift Idea: Reclamation- How to Fix and Reuse a Toy

Before we start with the story, here are a couple sobering facts for you to know about. Our planet is nothing more but one laden with waste for two thirds of it is covered with plastic waste. The saddest part of it all is the fact that a good fraction of the waste consists of toys. Every year, over 26.8 million tons of toys are thrown away each year. 80% of the toys that are bought or given for Christmas find their ways to the garbage. 75% of the toys that are thrown away could have been fixed and reused again. The problem is, there are not enough people, like my daughter, who are willing to fix toys like the one presented here. Fixing toys is like bring someone back to life. You put a lot of tender loving care into it for the (next) person to be happy.

And with that, the story of Casper the Friendly Ghost. My mom’s parents gave me a Casper wind-up plush toy for my very first birthday. The doll played “Rocka Bye Baby,” and wears a baseball cap and a blue shirt bearing his name. While some of these dolls had a smiley face, this one doesn’t which allowed me to imagine some of the reactions when playing with it as a child. When I was 12 years old, he was put in the washer along with a few stuffed toys and the end result was losing an eye and the music box that played the tune that had put me to sleep. Why this was done we will not discuss, but despite the washer, I still held onto the doll to this day- a span of 44 years and counting. He was like he was- a one-eyed ghost with no voice but a good luck charm wherever I went…..

…..that was until my daughter entered the scene. At 14, she loves creating clothing for dolls using old clothing and fixing things that were broken. She was one that wanted genuine items that last for generations. She took to the challenge to bring Casper back to life. This would be her biggest feat to date because he was really old. Youngest age: 44, oldest age near 50. His shirt and cap fading to green and the white cover wearing out. In any case, she took to the challenge with as much grace and dedication as any child with a creative mind. How this was done was a tough task but it started with the following:

He was cut open in the back and all of the stuffing that had been inside for all those years was removed. That stuffing featured strips of sheets that had been folded and stuffed. The music box was also removed along with the original eye that had been on him on the right side. What was left of him was his hollow self.

After the gutting process was completed, he was hand-washed in a bucket before being placed in the wash at 30°C. When he was removed he looked just like new, just without the bare essentials. While he was being washed, we had to order the replacement parts. Luckily we found a set of eyes that were similar to the original. At the same time, we found a music box that plays exactly the same tune and tone as the original that was destroyed in the wash when I was 12. As soon as they arrived in the mail, my daughter proceeded to put the music box in its original location- the buttock. Yet we made sure that we had a Velcro opening along the backside of his shirt so that it can be removed in the event of being washed again. The stuffing consisted of polyester fiber, typical for today’s stuffed animals. But he was stuffed in a way that it was soft and cuddly and not hard as a rock.

The eyes were perhaps the most difficult.  The original eyes were plated in place with metal rings, and upon their removal, it left rust rings at the spots where the eyes existed. It was no problem for we used a stain remover for the eyes. Afterwards we made a couple small holes and then the eyes were inserted and sewn into place.

And voilla! A reclaimed toy that was brought back to life and one that made me and my wife proud. Granted a new shirt is in the making but overall, Casper looks like the same Casper I knew as a small child, with whom I spent lots of time playing with. Casper represents an example of a toy that can be reused if there is a person who loves it so much that he/she wants to keep it and there are people who are willing to make it happen. There is a lot of work involved in fixing and breathing new life into it, but the reclamation process has its advantages. It saves money, it helps people learn practical skills in repairing items instead of simply throwing them away, and if you want to donate to the needy, the people would appreciate it all the more.

We live in a world of consumption, where everything that is bought or given as a gift is thrown away without any consideration of the negative effects, especially for the environment. Given the current financial crisis we have been facing since 2020, it’s time to take stock in what we have for old items and perhaps see about fixing them, breathing new life into them and giving them to the loved ones. After all, the best gifts are not the new fancy stuff, they are the antiquities that have a story that can be shared to the next generation and beyond. Casper represents that example and if we have more people like my daughter out there, the world would be a happier place, right?

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