Dressed in holiday red and standing on tiptoes, the daughter of a distinguished ambassador peered into the luminous Christmas tree adorned with the dolls of her continent. Suddenly, her piping voice could be heard over the noise of the crowd, "Here's our doll, here's our doll!"
This common phrase was heard throughout the evening as ambassadors, other diplomats and their families joined Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve, Ambassador Ahmed Maher El Sayed of Egypt, Beverly Campbell of the Church's International Affairs Office and other distinguished guests on the opening nights at the Washington Temple Visitors Center's Festival of Lights.International dolls adorned the four Christmas trees surrounding the Christus in the visitors center. Dressed in native costumes from the continents of Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe, as well as the Pacific Islands, these dolls show a common bond between the nations of the world and express a wish for brotherhood and felicity.
As the diplomats were leaving the visitors center after the evening's festivities, they stopped to search out their country's doll. The ambassador of South Africa showed that country's doll to his family as their faces beamed with pride. There were also sounds of Mandarin in the air as Chinese diplomats searched earnestly for the doll they brought back from Beijing for the festival.
In addition to the native dolls provided by the embassies of 52 nations, handmade dolls, in native costume, were also used to beautify these trees. Each doll was handcrafted by members of the Young Women of local stakes in Frederick, Md.; and Annandale, Fredericksburg and Winchester, Va. Stakes provided each ward with a pattern and socks to dye, but the girls had to research and design the costumes. "What a learning experience," said Elva Orton of the Annandale Stake. "A single doll took several hours to make." Miriam Kala from the Fredericksburg Virginia Stake said, "We could have easily made these dolls, but we wanted the Young Women to participate and they loved it. Twenty-five dolls were researched and created by our Young Women."
Diplomats not able to contribute a doll from their country this year commented: "We want our country to be represented in this wonderful Christmas Festival." One deputy ambassador brought two dolls to the visitors center the next morning in order that his country would be properly represented.
The trees will be displayed throughout the Christmas season until Jan. 2, 1995.