Mamanista! » Dolls, Toys (All Ages), Toys (Pre-School) » Cabbage Patch Kid Memories

Cabbage Patch Kid Memories

For Christmas 1983, the only thing I wanted from “Santa” was a Cabbage Patch Kid. Just about every kid in America wanted one too, so they were nearly impossible to find in that pre-eBay era.

I remember watching the mob scenes on TV: hordes of parents rushing toy stores, Cabbage Patch Kids being transported in armored cars, a mailman flying to England to buy one for his daughter.  

As my parents went from toy store to toy store searching for an authentic Cabbage Patch Kid, my grandmother took decisive action. After asking lots of friends and even random strangers, she heard about a woman in Georgia who was making “homemade” Cabbage Patch Kids. My grandmother contacted this friend of a friend of a nurse she met at her doctor’s office to order the exact doll I wanted: a blond haired doll with long hair in pigtails wearing a pink dress. 

Shortly before Christmas, my parents found a “real” Cabbage Patch Kid at a local toy store. I was so excited to find that doll under the tree on Christmas morning.

My grandmother arrived at our house for Christmas Dinner carrying that “homemade” Cabbage Patch Kid, wrapped in a real baby blanket. When I answered the door, I thought she’d had a baby. “No,” she told me, “I didn’t have a baby, but I do have a baby doll for you.” 

I named my doll after my grandmother, so I’m pretty sure I was one of the only kids in America to have a knock-off Cabbage Patch Kid named Ethel.

I treasured both of my Cabbage Patch Kids, and I carried them everywhere. My friends pointed out that “Ethel” wasn’t a “real” Cabbage Patch Kid, and classmates made fun of the name “Ethel.” I didn’t care.  

I still have both of those dolls, and Cabbage Patch Kids are a very real symbol to me of my grandmother’s love. My grandmother has since passed on, but I think of her everytime I see a Cabbage Patch Kid.

The Cabbage Patch Kids are turning 25, and I’m feeling nostalgic. The original Cabbage Patch Kids are back for the first time since 1983. The Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Cabbage Patch Kids were made from the original 1983 molds and have the same faces, clothing and names as the original dolls. You can find them in retail stores for approximately $29.99.  

You can share your own Cabbage Patch memories at And I’d love to hear them too if you can list them in the comments.

Written by

Debbie Bookstaber started Mamanista in 2007 with her friend Candace Lindemann. Debbie and Candace also are the co-founders of, which empowers bloggers to become philanthropic leaders in their communities. Through their annual awards, recognizes bloggers who effectively use social media for social good. Debbie lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and two young sons. She's an active volunteer in her community and a working mom. Debbie is a partner at Element Associates and the Social Media Director at Child's Play Communications. You can follow Debbie on Twitter @buzzmommy or meet her at a future blogging or tech conference, where she frequently speaks about social good efforts, SEO or affiliate marketing.

Filed under: Dolls, Toys (All Ages), Toys (Pre-School)

16 Responses to "Cabbage Patch Kid Memories"

  1. Michelle says:

    That story is so sweet. You were so lucky to have such a loving grandmother.

    My parents went to a toystore at 5am and got in line to wait for it to open. When the store opened, all the waiting people rushed in. My parents managed to get me a Cabbage Patch Kid…but only a boy doll. I liked it anyway.

    Can you imagine how much people would have paid for these dolls if eBay had been around in 1983!?! Crazy.

  2. All I wanted when I was younger was a ‘real’ cabbage patch kid as well. I never did get one – although one year for Christmas my aunt gave me a boy ‘fake’ cabbage patch kid named Brian. I kept him for years – my dd ended up with him.

  3. Renee says:

    I think I had one of the handmade dolls too! Not sure where it came from, I think there’s a name signed on the butt. I don’t know if we still have it. When my second daughter was born my best friend’s mom sent us a package. In it was my first CPK (she had bought it from a garage sale we had when I was in college). I thought is was so special to have it for my girls.

  4. mandy says:

    I also received a homemade Cabbage Patch that first Christmas when the real ones were so popular. She was made by an elderly lady that my great grandmother had heard of. The dolls name is Callie. She’s blond and looking tattered after 25 years. I went on to receive 7 “real” Cabbage Patch dolls over the years (even a set of twins). I have no idea what happened to them. But, Callie is still with me after all of these years. Someday, I will have her spruced up and give her to my little toddler.

  5. Sauni says:

    I had a fake one that my Dad had bought for me named Fritzie. I wish I knew someone who could make them again. My Dad is no longer here so I would love to have that doll back again. If anyone knows anyone who does make them please let me know.

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