American Girl tea party

Twenty young ladies and their dolls took “high tea” together at the Betsey Mills Club’s sixth annual American Girl Holiday Tea Party in Marietta Sunday afternoon.

“I didn’t know about the proper things to do during a tea party, like where to put your napkin and how to speak properly,” said 7-year-old Taylor Starkey of Beverly as she took a sip of tea, pinky finger pointed away from the cup handle.

Megan Becker, 10, of Whipple said she learned a few things, too, during Sunday’s party.

“We get to do crafts and learn a lot about the different dolls and their history,” she said. “I have four dolls at home, and this doll, Saige, is the doll of the year.”

Several girls also brought their “Saige” American Girl dolls to the tea party.

“They’re like little mothers-and each brings her doll to the tea party,” said Pat Hunter whose granddaughters, Paige and Madeline Kuhl, attended Sunday’s party.

A subsidiary of the Mattel Toy Company, the American Girl dolls were originally developed in 1986 and included a line of 18-inch collectible historical character dolls. In 1995 the company introduced a line of contemporary dolls called “My American Girl.” The Saige character is among the contemporary dolls.

According to the company’s web site, the American Girl mission is to celebrate girls by providing inspiring products for each stage of a young girl’s development, from baby dolls and fantasy play through the “tween” years.

“American Girl provides a great role model for these girls,” said Shauna Cornwell, activities director for the Betsey Mills Club.

“The best thing is to see the girls with their dolls-some come dressed like their dolls,” she said. “And they all know about their dolls’ histories.”

Cornwell said the annual tea parties help teach girls about manners and ettiquette, but they’re also full of fun.

“Children need to learn about proper ettiquette and manners, but we also play games and each child completes a craft,” she said.

This year the youngsters painted multi-colored “suncatchers” to hang in their windows at home.

“We hold the tea parties every year at this time, around Thanksgiving, early in the season before the holidays start getting busy,” Cornwell said.