When I first heard about Build-A-Bear Workshop I thought it sounded creepy; mainly because the first time I saw it, employees and kids were singing and doing hand-clapping in the middle of the store. When I saw Oprah make a bear, when she held the heart to warm it and give it a wish, and then they fluffed the bear, I thought it was a neat idea. Now, much to your surprise perhaps, I love the Build-A-Bear Workshop idea!

Here’s what changed… The first time I bought something from it was for a birthday – one of my old friends and her mom had bears that they dressed for every occasion. They were American so I sent them a “Someone from Vancouver loves me” shirt and a “I Heart Canada” shirt. This sort of introduced me to the idea – although I still thought it a bit extravagant for just a bear.

The next time I thought to buy something from Build-A-Bear was when my neighbours, whom I babysit for, were expecting. They have two girls who I’ve babysat for about 6 years and they had a baby boy in February 2006. My family and I bought a Build-A-Bear Gift Certificate which allowed the family to come in and warm the heart and give it a wish and fluff the bear and all that jazz – for the new addition, Eric.

When they went, I’m sure they had a blast, and their mom ended up getting three bears! One for Eric (our gift), and Emily and Gabrielle both got one too. They came over to my house once they got home to show me the bears. Gabrielle had picked several ribbons for her bear (I’m guessing you get unlimited hair bows). They seemed to really enjoy it and I love those girls like they’re my cousins (we’d fight more if they were like my sisters).

Anyway, I just came back from Build-A-Bear and I have to declare that I love the idea of different outfits for your bear! It’s like a doll, except that unlike Barbie or Bratz or whatever, there are no body stereotypes. It’s a stuffed animal… a teddy bear (or cow or rabbit) that you can dress up. Like good old Cabbage Patch dolls where their bodies were made of fluff not plastic.

Gabrielle turns 7 tomorrow:

Emily turns 9 in January:

Eric turns 1 in February: