Okay to Buy or Not to Buy an American Girl Doll??

Updated on December 03, 2014
R.. asks from San Antonio, TX
27 answers

My 7 year old daughter has requested an AGD for Christmas.

It seems to be number one on her wish list. She tells everyone that is what she wants. (And the puppys and the accessories, etc).

The doll is $145, and she has never ever been interested in dolls before. Cleaned out un-played with baby dolls and she didn't bat an eye. She had some Barbies two years ago and lost interest quick.

My husband and I were thinking along the lines of spending abut $150 each on the kids and that doll is the whole budget. We could up the budget and it wouldn't hurt is financially, but we are just trying to be a bit more frugal this year. (We could go up to $250 a kid).

So my question...do I buy the doll? I need to decide quick or it won't get here in time. What would you do?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Okay, so I broke down and ordered the doll. We do not have an American Girl Doll Store here. The doll was $115 (because she wanted the one that looks just like her) and an extra ten or fifteen for pierced ears on the doll. Plus tax, shipping and handling. $136 with a coupon code I found online.

I remember that either Santa or Mom and Dad always got me at least the number one wanted item on my list each year. I don't know how they did it...called my dad to ask him (he had no idea my mom handled Christmas gifts).

I am telling all family to buy doll clothes and accessories (not AGD ones but any that will fit an 18" doll).

My son has had his eye on a lego kit that is actually about the same price wise and shock value wise for Christmas morning. He will get that to even out the big gift factor.

I asked my daughter about the reason for wanting an AGD. And why now because she never liked dolls much before. Her answer convinced me. She never knew until now (friends with AGD catalogs) that a doll could really look like her. The ones at Target don't look like her and she wants a doll that does. Plus they are big enough to fix their hair and change their clothes...and basically really play with them. She told me Barbie's clothes didn't fit and her hair could never be fixed and I had to agree with her. Oh and she was totally fine if that was the only gift she got from Santa or mom and dad (she knows both bring her gifts and even Santa has limits).

I will post back later how long the love lasts for future reference. Thanks to all!!

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

Unless I have a very good reason, I buy what they request. Xmas to me is a magical day, where kids do get to have a candy canes and cinnamon buns for breakfast.

Life is too short to not create as many smiles as you can.

Let her decide what she wants, if you can afford it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter got her first when she was 8. Never liked dolls or Barbies at all, but loves her AG. She is getting another one this year and she is 11. My mom bought both of them for her as her big gift from them.

A lot of people will tell you not to spend the money, but honestly, when a little girl is asking for an AG doll and you CAN spend the money, do it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If that's what she wants I would get it . How much longer will she want toys ? It goes fast . You can get her a couple of little things to open too . Don't increase everyone's budget too . She will love it !!! It's worth it 😊

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answers from San Francisco on

My girls have a few American Girl dolls, they were Christmas presents too.
I never spent the extra money on all the clothes and accessories (you can get really cute, cheap hand made clothes on etsy and ebay) but the dolls are beautiful and well made, heirloom quality.
Personally I think Christmas is a time for wishes to come true, so if that's what she wants and you can afford it I say go for it!
And throw away any catalogs that come in the mail so your daughter doesn't get sucked into begging for all the extras :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

My two girls absolutely LOVE their AG dolls. Do a lot of your daughter's friends have them? Mine do and they all play with them a lot. All they want for Christmas is more AG doll stuff. But I agree you could start with the Target one. A couple of girls have that instead and no one fusses. Tell her she can have that doll and then some accessories and clothes. The AG doll means she will only get that doll... My girls never liked Barbie a lot either or other dolls that much.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Our daughter wanted one for Christmas last year. She played with dolls sporadically, so I was a little hesitant. I always thought it would be fun to have one, but alas, I was too old for dolls when they first came out. So, I maybe gave in because secretly I still wanted one.

My daughter doesn't play with it as much as I would have, but she loves having it. She loves the craft kits you can buy to make different things for the doll. She will sometimes disappear into her room for an entire afternoon and make things for her doll. I think it was worth it.

She had a cheap imitation doll and next to the real one, the knock off is really poor quality. That one never sees the light of day, but the AG doll sleeps by her every night.

As far as the accessory packs, if family members are looking for gift ideas the accessories are a great gift. Our daughter got several outfits from other people. Many of her doll clothes were made by Grandma or are the knock off brands. The quality of the real AG clothes and knock offs seem about equal. We haven't really purchased any of the furniture or other packs of goodies. Those seem way over priced to me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

but her the doll, dont get her a knock off doll. My daughter had one real AG and got a journey girl doll from toysrus. The differences are huge and now she has 2 AG dolls and the journey girl doll found a new home. I think the knock offs are good for younger girls (4 or under) but a 8 year old will know. My daughter LOVES her dolls and is still asking for accessories now for Christmas. I do go with some cheaper accessories but having seen her friends real AG beds and stuff the AG is way higher quality. I don't mind buying her the dolls since they get used, a lot. Is the higher amount including shipping? I have never spent over 110 on a doll.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would buy a lesser doll based on her history of not being a doll person. If she happens to be a doll person for this type of doll, then you'll have found out the cheaper way and can get a better one at a later date for her birthday or next Christmas. If she's still not a doll person, then you won't have blown your budget to find out the hard way.

Christmas is two parts - asking for wishes and receiving well thought out gifts. Wishes and gifts are not always compatiable and that's not a bad lesson to learn. Good luck whatever you decide.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If there are grandparents and/or other relatives asking "What does Susie want for Christmas," ask them if they'd be willing to get her one outfit for the doll, or one accessory. Then you get her the basic doll ensemble which usually includes the doll and a few other small items and sometimes one book. Or if one grandparent usually goes big-time on a gift, you can get that grandparent to go in with you on the doll, perhaps.

You're going to get a lot of posts today saying to buy her a knockoff doll that looks similar. Only you know if that is going to work -- she will know the difference, and if she has been seeing and playing with other kids' AG dolls she will truly know it's not AG. They are good quality and the hair and skin are definitely different from those on the cheaper dolls. Also, does she want one of the specific historical character dolls? Or a "just like me" AG doll with very specific hair, eye and skin colors? That would mean a knockoff would definitely not be what she's thinking of, if she is talking about a historical character or just like me doll.

If you want to try the knockoff route, that's fine, but talk to her about it! Discuss how if she gets a Whatever Brand Doll, she will be able to have many more outfits and more accessories, while an AG doll will mean maybe one extra outfit and that's all. (If she is expecting Santa to make it all happen -- well, you may have to have another "Santa gift" so you can actually discuss the doll with her.) She might just surprise you and say another doll is fine because she understands she can have three outfits with that doll instead of just one with a real AG doll.

As far as clothes and accessories: You can find lots of outfits online that fit these dolls. Some are just as pricey as official AG clothing but others aren't. Be aware that the official accessories can be very expensive indeed (over $100 for things like a doll bathtub or doll vanity) but would your child enjoy making accessories? My daughter made a tub and vanity and other items for her dolls from boxes, perfume bottles from beads, etc. Much better than buying plastic stuff.

The best thing about AG is not the dolls per se, but the books, especially the historical book series. Be sure someone gets her some AG books that would interest her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

In this case, I'd get her the one from Target or something like it since she's not really into dolls. Don't blow your budget it won't be worth it. And the AGD is not what it's cracked up to be anyway. And they are Not made in America. What a racket.

I bought one when my daughter was 9, she's 31 now and even though it was nice, it was not worth the money even then. Back then you could buy patterns for clothes which I did and made some. Back then it was more wholesome too.

If she' not into dolls, what has brought on this switch with her? Is it because other girls/friends have one? I'd find that out first. What's going on with her, why does she want the doll? I'd base my decision on her real reasons and such.
Good Luck with it all

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I would make it very clear that this is her Christmas gift.

Nothing else, and mom, stick with it. Of course stocking could have some small treats.

There are girls that we have known that
LOVED their AG dolls. She is still at the perfect age for it. Ask other relatives to give her other things not related so she will have an assortment of gifts. This is a perfect learning lesson for her. She may end up totally satisfied, or she may realize, it was not worth it. Either way it is a beautiful gift and she will never forget it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes. Mine never liked babies or Barbie's and plays a lot with it. Accessory kits are only $28 and it is all good quality. Don't buy the imitation dolls.



answers from Washington DC on

IMO, it would be the "that's all we could buy" that would stop me. Does she know how much they are? Recently, I freecycled a doll that my stepdaughter outgrew and my daughter did not want. You could look on ebay or craigslist or freecycle, too. If my DD decided she wanted one now, I would probably get her a similar doll or sit down with her and work out a deal for earning money for one. Save Grandma's birthday money, etc. Is she into American Girl specifically or would she like a My Generation doll with accessories? My DD was gifted a My Twinn baby and she likes her every bit as much as the Bitty Baby (again, big sis handmedown). You might look there, too. The custom dolls there are $80 and you would have some $ leftover for other gifts or accessories. http://www.mytwinn.com/customdoll/

ETA: Is this her Santa gift? I didn't see anywhere where you said it was and if you do Santa at your house, I would just tell her that wish lists are just that - wishes, not guarantees. I disagree with the other poster. Let the magic continue for a little longer if she still believes.



answers from Washington DC on

You might get a gift certificate...if you have an american girl store in your area, half the fun is going to the store and shopping. The staff there really treat the kids nice and give good customer service. You can give her a few other small things to open up on xmas.



answers from Washington DC on

I love the American Girl dolls. I think they are great educational toy for young women. However if this doll is going to be 100% of your budget maybe talk to grandma or an aunt and see if maybe you buy the doll (Which is $115 on it's own.) Maybe Grandma buys the extras.

This would also be a good time to let her no Santa isn't real and Christmas costs mom and dad money. Make sure she knows exactly how much it is and what that means.



answers from Dallas on

Get the doll... And I've never seen one over $115, with the exception of Isabelle for $120. I believe there's a $10 off $100, I think the code is 179780, but check the FB posts if that doesn't work. Lots of good sales on pets and accessories now too...



answers from Chicago on

yes. I bought some dollie and me outfits on zullily for super cheap.


answers from Norfolk on

I just don't know what I'd do in your position.
I'm so glad we have a boy.



answers from Springfield on

My 8 year old niece asked for one for her birthday. Her parents made a weekend of going to the American Doll store in St. Louis, but they made sure she understood that this meant no friend's birthday party. It was her choice. She asked for clothes from us for her birthday. I think my mom actually ordered clothes from their website. Me? I went to Target and bought clothes from their collection. My niece was thrilled.

My husband and I aren't great with budgets, so we haven't really looked at present buying in terms of how much money per kid. I do try to find bargains. I look more at an even balance in big presents and small presents. Your daughter doesn't understand that this doll is costing that much money, and your other child/ren won't either. Spending less money on another child won't necessarily mean that those presents won't have the same value to them.

To kids, it's not about the dollar amount. It's about getting a present that means something to them. I'm not necessarily saying you should get the doll. I'm just saying I don't think the dollar amount should necessarily have any impact on what you buy for other kids.


answers from Columbia on

Sounds like it's time to put some of those other toys, the ones she hasn't played with, on the local swap shop page and get a few bucks for them. I imagine they're in great condition.

Yes, get her the doll. But don't increase the budget. That's a very expensive toy, and there's nothing wrong with your daughter understanding that it's either a number of inexpensive toys, or one expensive toy.



answers from Baton Rouge on

I wouldn't buy a doll for a kid that age. And I wouldn't pay that much money for ANY doll.



answers from Boston on

I would get it, but I'm a sucker for buying what the kids want (within reason). Is your daughter really stuck on this idea or can you lead her towards asking for something else? One of my kids decides what she wants, but the other can be persuaded to ask for other things. Would your daughter be okay with only one present under the tree?

Good luck with whatever you decide!



answers from Santa Barbara on

Does it have to be American Girl? Has she seen the similar dolls at the other major retailer for under $30? I think AG has better details, but I'm not sure if an 8 year would care about the details as much. (just read posts below and it sounds like they do notice the details).

It sounds like you have the budget and if this is the thing she really wants I think I would go for it. Kind of like over priced Lego sets for boys. You can try to show them the cheap sets, yet there is something about Lego details that captivate the kids.



answers from New York on

With the per child budget your described, I probably wouldn't get the doll but if you want to use this opportunity to teach you child a lesson then get her just the doll. She will either be happy or mortified that there was only 1 gift under the tree for her.

With the budget you described I wouldn't get her that doll but go with either the Our Generation Doll from Target or the Journey Girl from Toys R Us. I much more reasonably priced doll. When my older neices were living with me I had a $75 per child budget for 6 kids. They always got gifts even if sometime they didn't get what they asked for at Christmas time. They are grown now and it wasn't traumatizing to their growth and development. LOL.

Have a Merry Christmas.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I have 4 girls. Ages 11,9,7,&5. Each one of them has an AG doll. They all HAD to have them. They all take great care of them. The nice thing about them is they have the hospital(which is also expensive) if the dolls break. They all sit the dolls on their beds. Basically they sit there. Every now and then they will take them shopping with us etc.. But mostly they just sit there. They lost interest in playing with them in a week or so. Were they worth that? No... Not to just sit there. But I would also be upset if they ruined such an expensive gift. My girls don't play with dolls much either. They've asked for another one, but its not happening being that they don't mess with the ones they have! Lol


answers from Jacksonville on

I would not, without having a better understanding of why your daughter is suddenly so interested. I also have a daughter who was rarely (if ever) interested in any kind of dolls. She was a stuffed animal girl from day 1, and that never changed. Big money on a doll (no matter the variety) would have been wasted. Completely. If my daughter suddenly expressed a desire for a doll, I would be wanting to know WHY. Do her friends all have them on their lists? Is it a popularity thing? Is it the "in" and "cool" thing? If that has anything to do with her reasoning, she won't be happy in the long run.

I would dig to find out where the interest has originated, and make my decision on that. But if it were practically the whole budget, I would not... because even if she *thinks* she wants it, if she never has had any interest, she will end up wishing she had chosen other things. If you want to use it as a lesson for her, then that is up to you, obviously, but I wouldn't want my 8 yr old's Christmas memories to be wrapped up in a teaching lesson like that, personally.

Good luck with your decision. Maybe get her a book. They have them based on the various dolls. Maybe she'll still want one when her birthday rolls around.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Talk to her and take her window shopping. Help her to understand if she gets that doll there will be no other presents. Other child will have many things to open on that day but she'll only have 1. She needs to understand the concept of the cost.

I wouldn't spend that much on any toy for a child.

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