More than 700 handmade dolls in kimonos, coveralls, kilts and other costumes from throughout the world decorate eight Christmas trees in the North Visitors Center on Temple Square. The sock dolls are one of the most popular displays on the Square during the Christmas season.
The purpose of the Dolls for Christmas project, said Margaret Farnsworth, Temple Square public relations assistant and project director, is "to strengthen the awareness of other young women and their cultures throughout the world, to spread good will and love and to allow young women to share their creative skills.""The Church is a worldwide Church," Sister Farnsworth explained. "We feel this project illustrates that. Young women in the Church have an opportunity to learn more about other countries and other young people as they make these dolls."
The tradition of using handmade dolls to decorate Christmas trees is several years old, according to Sister Farnsworth. "But until about four years ago, we received dolls from all over. They came in all sizes and shapes - a whole hodgepodge of dolls. Then we decided to try and organize it a little bit better."
The young women, ages 12 to 18, research the native costumes of the countries assigned to them and then duplicate the costume for the girl or boy doll, said Sister Farnsworth.
"The dolls also provide a beautiful atmosphere for the Christmas spirit to flourish for the thousands who visit Temple Square during the Christmas season," she emphasized.
After the holidays, the Young Women General Board will distribute the dolls to stakes throughout the world as a token of friendship and love.
This year, the dolls were made by young women from stakes in the Taylorsville, Kearns, Magna and West Valley City areas.