A Doll for Mom : A Maplelea Mom's Story

May 03, 2024 4 min read 25 Comments

At Maplelea we often hear from our customers.  From their letters, emails and posts we know that there are Maplelea fans of all ages.  Shannon Gair is an adult whose beautiful photography we have featured in the Fan Photography section of our website.  Shannon has graciously offered to share, in her own words, her Maplelea story.


A Doll for Mom


A Doll for Mom is exactly how I became an adult doll lover.  I grew up as a child loving my dolls and doll play, and my own mom enjoyed them along with my sister and myself.  In fact, some of the best years of our doll play with our mom was in our teen years.  Those were days of film cameras and no online stores.  Still, my mom would instigate my sister and I into dressing all the dolls, lining them up and taking photos of them.  In those days of no internet, my mom was a subscriber to the Western Producer Newspaper.  Through the paper she was able to find contacts to custom order doll outfits.  We had “I Dream of Genie” outfits, pantsuits, Western, pioneer, Spanish, and everyday play outfits for our dolls.  (Not just our dolls but my mom’s dolls too.)  I didn’t know it at the time, but those were the best of times.  Sharing, laughing, engaged and talking with my mom through my teen years.


Time moves on.  I moved away, houses got sold, I got married, concrete bits of my young years got lost through the march of time.  The memories of those precious times with my mom lay dormant in my mind, until I had a little girl of my own.  I wanted her to enjoy dolls as I did growing up.  However, she had no interest in dolls.  I’d put a baby doll into her little arms and she would let it fall down to the ground.  My Little Pony, Game Boy Pet Shop, and the popular dress up stuffs dominated her life, and I was sad.  Then one day she and I were invited to a dance classmate’s birthday party.  The moms introduced me to the 18-inch Maplelea Dolls.  The birthday girl was receiving Léonie that day.  I was entranced by the beautiful box, the soft long hair, the beautiful and high-quality clothing, and the Canadian fun and true education in the journal.  My daughter’s 9th birthday was just the next month and so I ordered Brianne for her.

To my surprise, my daughter bonded with Brianne immediately.  Brianne came everywhere with us.  I was so happy.  A year later Taryn joined her Brianne.  Then a couple of weeks before her 11th birthday my daughter asked me to NOT get her another doll.  I was devastated, but soon realized it wasn’t because of growing out of dolls, but because her two dolls meant so much to her.  They were her friends and companions.  Another doll would be too much for her.  I wanted so badly for her to get Jenna.  My father was born in Nova Scotia.  My son and daughter were highland dancers and Jenna had the most darling “Anne of Green Gables” outfit.  What was I going to do?  Now, I knew I could not get Jenna for her.  Then I thought…I’ll ask my mom (Grandma) to get it for her.  My mom’s immediate answer was a shocking and quickly said NO.  Then after a short pause she said, I’ll buy Jenna for you.  Christmas morning only two weeks after my daughter’s birthday, a huge present was under the tree for ME!  Upon opening it, not only was there a beautiful blue box with Jenna’s name on it, but the little boxes too, and lots of them.  Jenna’s snow suit, PJs, dress-up dress, highland dance outfit, and the gorgeous “Anne of Green Gables outfit”.  The best memory embedded in my mind that Christmas morning was the incredible excitement, pure joy, and the thrill that my daughter showed when I got that gift.

My mom is now gone.  I had not realized my mom’s wisdom she had in giving me a doll that Christmas morning.  Having my own doll with my daughter was a gift of sharing, laughing and creating with my daughter into her teen years and young adult life.  Parties, you tube movies, knitting, cooking and sewing, painting, and building, nothing that had to be done for a school project, family dinner, friend’s party.  Everything was imagination and fun.

A new year (this January) my daughter and I packed her dolls back into their beautiful boxes and into the trunk, with all their wonderful things.  She is moving into her busy adult life, connecting with friends, studying, working, making important decisions that will be her future.  I understand these wonderful days together with her will lay dormant in her mind over the years.  Her dolls lay on a siesta in the silver trunk.  My plan is to, every once in a while, slip in a little blue box with a brand-new outfit for Brianne and Taryn for future surprises.  Their little blue journals hold not only Taryn and Brianne’s stories, but the precious magical life stories on my 9 and 10 year-old daughter.  Then …. I stand in my daughter’s bedroom, and I see Brianne and Taryn quietly standing and smiling at me on the shelf.  I smile, being reassured that another generation of doll, imagination, joy, creating, and mother-daughter bonding is yet to come.

Meanwhile… my husband and I are, so to say, going to town, with enjoying dolls.  We built a doll house and we go on excursions to get a photo of the doll in a magical spot in Canada.  The dolls motivate us to do things together, such as hikes, canoeing, snowshoeing and so on.  I’ve made friends from all over the world through the internet.  My daughter comes in to inspect and oversee what the two of us have created.  She smiles, she laughs, and gives advice.  My son, seemingly uninterested will waltz on by, because he knows that Jenna will one day be for his little girl, and in her journal I have written all about his life when he was 11. 

Shannon Gair

25 Responses

Judy Graves

May 04, 2023

Reading your story, I found myself reaching out to your wonderful mother with hugs and love! How wise she was to understand just what you needed.

Carole Cummings

February 22, 2023

It’s February 20, 2023. Wow what a sweet lovely story Shannon. I’ve never seen this blog before. I’m in aww at the journey you’ve been through. Such a heart warming upbringing you had with your mom, dolls and with your daughter. It’s still continues. I love the idea of you slipping an outfit every once in a while in the trunk. That’s going to be a big surprise in the future. I love all your stories, they are always interesting with all the great photos you take.


August 19, 2021

Lol this is so great love the pictures


December 02, 2019

I have my own maplelea doll named Kim but my mom loved 18” dolls as well and I LOVE maplelea


October 28, 2019

I love dolls so much and when I got a Mapelea catalogue in my OWL magazine yesterday I fell in love and now for my birthday I want dolls, comforters for dolls, clothes for dolls and more! Forget the fitbit!!!

Julie Naidich

August 23, 2018

What a beautiful and moving message. I am at a loss for words … Thank you!!

Debbie Carr

August 11, 2018

I have loved and played with dolls all my life. My daughter, Amanda, has bought most of the costumes you make as gifts for me.
I now sew beautiful clothes for the 18 inch dolls. I have so much fun. I’m 65 now but I’m having to much fun to quit.

Leah Stephens

May 15, 2018

I loved it! It made me get into my Maplelea doll, Taryn. I never used to play with her. Now I can’t leave her side.


May 04, 2018

Great story, I really enjoy Shannon’s instagram posts – she and her Maplelea girls always look like they are having so much fun!
I too got introduced to Maplelea when looking for an doll for my daughter. She’s had Leonie for four years and we have lots of wonderful outfits and pets. I’ve knit and crocheted all kinds of fun things too . But I’ve been wanting a Maplelea girl of my own and soon will be getting myself Charlsea. I keep thinking I would have so loved one of these girls when I was young (all I had was Barbie) and thought why not gift myself ? So I will :)

Louise Hypher

May 04, 2018

Such a lovely story! I’ve been an avid doll collector all my adult life, starting with my childhood Barbies, which I still have. My 15 year old daughter has a doll collection of her own as well, including Brianne. A couple of years ago I added Saila, along with her outfits and accessories to my always growing collection.

Spirit's Mom

May 04, 2018

This story is so sweet! I had a trying day and I’m so glad I took the time to read it. My favorite twist was at the end where your husband got involved; that part just tickled me. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Beautifully written.

Juliana Dantas

May 04, 2018

Dear Shannon, this is such a beautiful and touching story! I feel so happy and fortunate to have a chance to know you through Instagram and become your friend, thanks to Maplelea and the dolls! We never met, but we feel so close together, like Corinne said above, because we’re connected through dolls, Instagram, Maplelea and all those great adventures Shannon provides us every day! She makes us feel part of her doll stories and her life. Now I understand this passion for dolls comes from her beloved mother, who was so sweet and encouraging giving her a doll of her own, that wonderful Jenna! It must have been really a very memorable day! I’m an adult too and I love dolls, but I have a very special love for Maplelea!! There’s something magical and very heart warming about Maplelea, their dolls and accessories! That’s why we find these beautiful life stories like Shannon generously shared here. The doll journals are a great idea too, and I’m sure Shannon’s kids will be thrilled to read those diaries later. Thank you so much, Shannon, for your love, energy and generosity to share these words and photos with us!! That’s pure joy!!! Truly beautiful!!! Thank you Maplelea for sharing this great Maplelea Mom’s Story with us!!! Just in time for Mother’s Day!! Love and hugs for Shannon, her family and all the moms and their families who love dolls and Maplelea!!

Margaret Marsh

May 04, 2018

I grew up long before Maplelea dolls came on the scene but as a child I loved playing with my dolls – they were my friends. My grand daughter loved the Maplelea dolls as well but she is now 18 and her dolls are packed away (temporarily, I hope). I also have two little grand daughters ( almost 21/2 years and 3 months) so look forward to when I can indulge my inner child with dolls for them. Loved the story! So happy to see girls playing with dolls that are like real people (not some way out fashion model).


May 04, 2018

I recognise Shannon from her amazing Instagram photos. I have never met her but we are IG friends and I love to see her adventures and she always has such kind comments for everyone.


May 03, 2018

Oh, I just love this story! I’m so inspired to continue “playing” as an adult! Thank you for sharing it.


May 03, 2018

What a beautiful story! I bought Charlsea and Jenna for my 2 youngest girls, now 8 and 6, for Christmas a couple of years ago, and when I saw in person how beautifully crafted they were and the great quality of their materials, I fell in love with them completely. My mom bought me Alexi for my birthday, and my girls have lots of fun dressing them and brushing their luxurious hair. Sorry if this is a duplicate comment, my first attempt didn’t seem to go through.


May 03, 2018

This is a lovely story. Thank you so much for sharing, Shannon!

Jani Francis

May 03, 2018

I was so delighted to read this story. I too have wonderful doll memories and though my daughters were interested. somewhat interested, the older one especially in making outfits and creating “scenes” of doll life. years later, when my granddaughter Alexis received one of these dolls, and then oodles of accessories and outfits. I bought my own Mapelea friend, and celebrate another chance to relive those extraordinary memories.

Loretta Houben

May 03, 2018

What a beautiful story, Shannon! My Mom bought dolls for me and my sisters growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s. There weren’t any Maplelea ones back then, and I never had any daughters and as of today, no granddaughters. I enjoy collecting Maplelea outfits and accessories though, and have Leonie. I really love the Maplelea brand; it’s very well made and best of all, Canadian!

Sandra Brown

May 03, 2018

I loved this story because it reflects my love of dolls as well. My story skipped a generation. I loved dolls but my daughter did not in her younger years. At 37 she is now into them like crazy. That happened when she became and aunt . My son had a daughter who is now turning 8. We have managed to collect 6 dolls and so many clothes – some new and some not but all loved. The Canadian Girls are fantastic.


May 03, 2018

this is such a sweet and touching story, thank you for sharing

Mary Lewis

May 03, 2018

Shannon is an amazing, generous, and kind person. Her love of dolls has inspired many other doll lovers to make dolls a big part of their life. I am fortunate to know her but have never met her. I see her almost daily with posts she makes on Instagram of her latest doll adventure. I look forward to the regular emails from her, usually with excitement of what her latest doll adventure has been, or what she has been doing with her dolls. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her love of life and dolls is truly something you just can’t help but join in with. Thank you, Shannon, for everything you have done for me and my family with gifts of your handknits for our dolls. The socks and monkey hats will always be treasured because of you. xO

Tanya Cormier

May 03, 2018

This is such a wonderful story! I love Dolls to I do not have my own
Maplelea doll yet I love my Daughters Saila.


May 03, 2018

Such a heart warming story. I just bought my granddaughter her first Maplelea doll and can hardly wait for her brithdau to give it to her!

Rosemary Gallant

May 03, 2018

I loved the story. I have enjoyed dolls all my life and still do. I bought my grand-daughter Taryn and she looks just like her. It is a wonderful company.

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