Gifts for diehard Mary Poppins fans

Photo of my 2-year-old son holding an opened black umbrella. A close-up reveals the umbrella handle is a molded green parrot head.

Thank goodness Mary Poppins is now a Broadway musical. It has spawned some (relatively) inexpensive souvenirs.

Behold a parrot-handle child-size umbrella, as modeled by my 2-year-old above. My 6-year-old daughter is receiving it for Christmas. I exploited my son’s speech disability to take the photo with no concern he’ll blab to his sister.

The parrot head appears to be made of a polymer resin, painted of course. It’s a solid piece, no moving beak like in the movie, and feels sturdy.

The umbrella is sold in kid ($24.50) and adult ($40) sizes. The child version, when opened, is 24-inches-long with a 30-inch diameter.

You’ll notice the umbrellas actually come from the Disney Store, but I bought mine through Amazon because the price is the same and using Amazon as a middleman provides a thin layer of oversight. Namely, if a retailer cheats customers, they’ll complain to Amazon and maybe get him kicked off Amazon, or at least accrue negative customer reviews.

I had no problem and Disney shipped the umbrella within a couple weeks, the same delivery time frame if I’d bought it direct. If you’re considering it for Christmas, buy it ASAP, because there is no expedited shipping option.

If you want a deluxe umbrella, search eBay for “mary poppins umbrella.” Detailed replica umbrellas have been produced three times in the past, including some that have moving wooden beaks. You will pay through the beak for it though. One seller at the moment has a starting bid of $99 and a buy-it-now price of $250. Check out this Flickr photo from the company that made the replica.

Mary Poppins books will also be under the Christmas tree. There are three cautions. One, the movie is reportedly much better than the books. Two, the original printing of some of the stories contained racial stereotypes that the author revised decades later. So, consider a newer printing. Three, the newest printing of the book looks like it has an old-style red linen cover, but the red linen is actually a plain ol’ dust jacket. Worse, the artwork on the cover isn’t reproduced on the real cover, so if you lose the jacket, you lose some of the exterior charm. Oh well.  Say hello 21st century cheapskatery.

The last thing on my shopping list was a Mary Poppins carpet bag. It turns out carpet bags can be fairly expensive. They’re not exactly popular these days. Amazon has a few for $30, and then the price shoots up to $200+ for ones that are the same style as the type used in the movie.
Photo of the original Mary Poppins carpet bag with a floral pattern on the left, and a photo of a single-pocket floral-pattern purse on the right.

So, I watched a few thrift stores for the past month. No carpet bags showed up, but I finally snagged a single-pocket medium-size floral purse that will suffice, as far as my daughter is concerned. The real Poppins bag sold at auction in June for $96,000.  The thrift store version? $2.

You’ll be happy to know that the family who owned the Poppins bag let their kids use it for dress-up through the years and took it on vacations before retiring it to their basement storage.

Now if I can just track down a Poppins-style hat at an estate sale and stick on some plastic daisies. Does anyone know what this style of hat is called?

Photo of Mary Poppins' head with her black hat adorned with flowers.


4 Responses to “Gifts for diehard Mary Poppins fans”

  1. Jeanne says:

    Looks like it’s a beat-up “black boater straw hat,” I am in love with your gifts, so I was doing some looking, and they seem to have been in style recently, but are now difficult to find.

    I had always thought it was a pork pie hat, and it appears to be similar, though pork pies are usually not made of straw. Pork pie hats seem to be more common and easier to find. A quick search found some for about $20, but I didn’t recognize any of the websites.

    November 20th, 2010 at 4:19 am

  2. Observer says:

    what a wonderful idea! getting things like that for christmas is absolutly awesome. good filds aj

    November 20th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

  3. Ticia says:

    I personally loved the books as a kid, and thought the books were as good as the movie, if completely different.

    But, they might be a bit much for a six year old.

    November 21st, 2010 at 6:34 am

  4. Jenny says:

    How ironic! My daughter and I just watched MP on Friday and I thought to myself how I would like an umbrella like that…weird!

    December 12th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

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