He's not just for Christmas, but for life. Most children are given a cuddly teddy bear at some time in their lives - when a baby or young child, although I don't remember having one myself. But I do now - my little P.B. with his stripy pyjamas and quirky smile! More than any other toy, a bear usually becomes a trusted friend from that moment on. Teddy bears still make me go 'aw', and I remember the lovely little white bear my daughter received as a baby. From the smallest bear to the largest, they are just so furry, cute and cuddly!
No wonder bears appear often in children's fiction. One of my own children's favourite bedtime stories was Paddington Bear, and he is still one of my favourite bears. From his little duffle coat, hat and boots, to the fact he was left at Paddington station with a card round his neck, Paddington Bear was just so funny and loveable through his many adventures.
Then there is Rupert Bear, who began life much earlier, in 1920, as a story character in the Daily Express newspaper, and in anthologies from the 1930s. In his distinctive red jumper and yellow checked trousers and scarf, Rupert is instantly recognisable and still lives in timeless Nutwood. Another favourite bear is Winnie-the-Pooh, or Pooh Bear, created by A A Milne in 1926. Pooh's friend, Christopher Robin, was named after the author's son. The series was eventually made into Disney films.
And of course, the teddy bear himself was so named when the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, spared the life of a small bear cub while on a hunting trip. After the incident was immortalised in a cartoon placed next to a toy bear cub in a New York shop window, the bear was soon named a 'teddy' after the President. And the cuddly teddy bear was born!