A baby’s first Christmas is a special time for everyone in the family and a opportunity for friends and relatives to shower the new arrival with gifts. Finding a present that can be appreciated by the child for years to come can sometimes be quite a challenge, so choosing a unique gift that can be loved by the child is often a good option. A personalised bear would combine marking the baby’s first Christmas and provide a cuddly companion that the child will cherish until it becomes thread bare and sticky.
The Origin of Teddy Bears
We tend to forget the origin of these cute cuddly little creatures that inhabit our bedrooms and become very important characters in our lives. ‘Teddy’ was the nick name given to President Roosevelt in 1902 after he refused to shoot a tethered black bear during a hunt in Mississippi. He thought the act to be unsportsmanlike and insisted that the bear be killed in a more humane way instead, leading to cartoons depicting a large scary bear and the president eventually giving way to the bear in the drawings being represented a much smaller cuter creature.
From Giant to Cuddly
It would seem that the incident of Roosevelt and the bear sparked a new trend within toy makers, one such person was Morris Michtom, who on seeing one of the cartoons made a stuffed bear, displayed it in his window with the name, ‘Teddy’s Bear’ attached to it. He sent Roosevelt the very first personalised bear asking for permission to use his name and cuddly bears as we know them were born.
Steiff, another soft toy company in Germany also had the great idea of producing personalised teddy bears spontaneously without the knowledge of the American bear as transatlantic communication had not yet been developed. There are stories of Steiff having imported bears to America before Michtom invented his bear but there has been no evidence of the bears to be found, leading to speculation that the bears either were not robust enough to survive to the present day or indeed more excitingly the bears were shipwrecked on their way to America.
These day our cuddly toys tend take on many shapes and forms and our bears are personalised for much more gentle reasons such as celebrating your baby’s first Christmas. When you choose a personalised bear for the youngest member of your family be sure to remember the story of the origin of our cute and cuddly friends and also spare a thought for the German bears who were possibly shipwrecked in the Atlantic. When the baby is old enough to listen to stories be sure to cuddle up with their personalised bear imagine the adventures the crew of bears may have had over the past century on the high seas. Also don’t forget to mention the kind American President who is remembered as much for an act of kindness towards an unlucky bear as he is for his time in office.