Appreciation Bears to be Given Away

In an anonymous gesture of goodwill, drivers of the “Elite” Fleet are donating stuffed Christmas bears to be given away to NCI office and shop personnel. Names of all shop and office employees will be entered into a drawing to determine the winners during the week before Christmas.
A contributing NCI driver said, “I have worked in an office and in a truck. Both depend on the other and we, as drivers, want to show our appreciation.”Bear close driver offers this interesting look into the history of stuffed bears.
What is it about cuddly teddy bears that we find so appealing? After all, real bears are anything but adorable, huggable, fluffy animals!  Everyone knows the charming story of former United States President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt, who refused to shoot a bear on a hunting trip which resulted in a series of satirical cartoons appearing in the Washington post in 1902.  Morris Michtom was then inspired to produce a cute cuddly little bear cub which he called ‘Teddy’s Bear’. Thus the teddy bear was born. Coincidentally, in Germany the Steiff firm had also begun producing stuffed bears with movable joints and the rest, as they say, is history.
This love affair we have with teddy bears does not stop when we leave our childhood behind us. The Brits, it seems are particularly fond of their bears and in one Travelodge survey, it was discovered that up to 35% of British adults still take their bears to bed with them.  These were primarily women who kept and anthropomorphized their bears from childhood, treated them like friends, sharing problems with them and cuddling them during bad times. Interestingly, up to 25% of British businessmen admitted that they take their teddy bears with them on business trips.
Psychologist Christopher Peterson noticed a similar trend when taking an informal survey at one of his lectures:
I asked how many students brought stuffed animals with them to college. Some large number of the 250 students present raised their hands. Thinking I saw a pattern, I asked for shows of hands separately by females and males. Indeed, there was a striking pattern. About 80% of the females had brought a stuffed animal to college, whereas fewer than 10% of the males had done so – or at last admitted to it. But those few guys who raised their hands earned applause from their female classmates. I think they deserved hugs as well, but we don’t do that in classrooms at my university.
There are many psychological reasons for our love of teddy bears. Not only are they reminders of our innocent carefree childhoods and of the loved ones who purchased the bears for us, but the stroking of the soft fur has also been found to be very therapeutic. On cuddling teddy bears, psychologist Corrine Sweet says “it evokes a sense of peace, security and comfort. It’s human nature to crave these feelings from childhood to adult life” (Llorens, 2012). Studies have shown that touching a teddy bear can lessen the adverse psychological effects of social exclusion and reduce stress (Jarrett, 2011).
Steiff is, of course, the most famous producer of bears, ranging from a baby’s first bear in soft washable ‘plush’ to expensive collector items. Even royal families have adored their Steiff bears. In 1908, Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia bought a red Steiff bear for his daughter, Princess Xenia Georgievna, which she called Alfonzo. In 1989 it was sold at Christie’s for the then record figure of $19,000.The world’s most expensive bear sold at auction was Steiff’s Louis Vuitton Bear which fetched an eye watering price of $210,000 and is now housed at the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju, Korea.
So there you have it. An unselfish gesture that might lead to less stress for the drawing winner. And who knows, it’s monetary worth may escalate over time, leading to an early retirement.


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