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Teddy Bears and Other Stuffed Animals

Beware!! The animals have escaped from the zoo!

Teddy Bear

Photo courtesy of Petting Zoo Plush, Inc

Happily, they’ve been rounded up by local florists everywhere, and today you can find a great selection of teddy bears and other stuffed animals at many flower shops. They make wonderful gifts for babies and other children of all sizes… even for grown-ups who just need a little cuddling. After all, teddy bears are the original ambassadors of hugs.

Teddy bears got their start in the early 1900s, when Theodore Roosevelt was the President of the United States. Teddy was Roosevelt’s nickname. He was known as a great hunter, and he was once depicted in a 1902 newspaper cartoon sparing the life of a captured bear cub, saying that it would be unsportsmanlike to shoot it. Based on a true incident, the cartoon drew immediate attention. A Brooklyn, NY, shopkeeper displayed the cartoon along with two small stuffed bears, made by his wife, in the window of his stationery store. The “Teddy’s Bear” craze was born, and the stationer went on to found the Ideal Novelty and Toy Corporation so as to meet the huge demand for the cuddly toys.

At nearly the same time, the Steiff Company in Germany introduced small, jointed stuffed bears to Europe. The Steiff bears had evolved from the wood and felt, pincushion type toys which the company had been manufacturing for years. U.S. distributors imported thousands of them. Thus, the lovable stuffed animals that we all know as teddy bears were born simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic.

A hundred years later, stuffed animals are available in nearly every species. Domestic pets, such as beagles, poodles, and other plush dogs, tabby and calico cats, hamsters, goldfish, bunnies and parrots are popular choices. Farm animals are well represented by horses, pigs, ducks and sheep, and a complete menagerie of stuffed zoo animals, from aardvarks to zebras, rounds out the selection. The favorite of all plush animals, however, is still the old-fashioned teddy bear. He’s come a long way from his humble beginnings as a novelty toy fashioned of old quilt scraps, stuffed with excelsior and fitted with shoe-button eyes. Now, teddy bears come in all shapes and sizes and in every color of the rainbow. They may be dressed for any occasion, adorned with a simple bow around the neck, or just “bear-naked”. Small bears, made of terrycloth with a rattle inside, are excellent gifts for newborns. Larger ones, with a myriad of personalities and facial expressions, are popular with older kids. Teenagers name them after boyfriends and girlfriends. Even adults can appreciate the emotions and the memories represented by a teddy bear.

Plush animals are easy to have delivered alongside a fresh flower arrangement or a basket of plants, even clutching a bouquet of balloons, and will remain as a lasting reminder of your good wishes for years to come. Your professional florist can arrange to send them locally or out of town, from Alaska to Virginia, Arizona to Vermont.

Teddy bears will never go out fashion. We’ve all had our childhood favorites, and they’ve changed a bit over the years. But there are some things about teddy bears that will always remain constant; they are faithful friends, they’re good at keeping secrets, they’re always ready with a comforting hug, and they have a boundless capacity for love.

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