Soooo…we’ve entered this life stage:
When my niece turned four last September, Mike’s parents took her to the American Girl store to pick out a doll…and Michaela could not have cared less. She just wasn’t into it. So when my in-laws offered to buy Annie a doll on her fourth birthday, Mike and I declined, thinking her reaction would be similar to her cousin’s. Well, we were wrong. On Friday night, we were killing time at the mall by Mike’s office before he could join us for dinner. We walked by the American Girl store and Annie flipped out.
She asked if we could go in, and I said, “Sure,” because in my head I was remembering the American Girl dolls from when I was a kid. You know, when there were three dolls. I read the books when I was a kid and begged my mom for the Samantha doll. I never got one, because I was a) almost too old, and b) not a kid who played with dolls. Annie, however, is a kid who plays with dolls, so I don’t know why we ever thought she wouldn’t be into an American Girl. As we walked in I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat if Annie really liked the Samantha doll?” I was so naive.
Did you guys know that there are, like, a million of these damn dolls now? I felt like I did the day I first went wedding dress shopping. When I walked into that dress shop I stopped dead in my tracks all, “I thought I wanted this but no, no I do not want this.” So overwhelming! Under the stare of a thousand eighteen-inch dolls I basically shut down and wanted to lay on the tiny American Girl couch in the tiny library surrounded by the tiny books. Annabel thought leading me around by the hand to show me all the doll accessories was more fun.
Like the tiny doll-sized VW Beetle. And the bicycle with pet trailer attachment. Or the salon chair. When I got distracted by the doll head-gear (for their bad teeth?) and hair extensions, Annie found the “doll of the year” and started going crazy over her. That’s when I decided to drop some history on her.
Me: You know Annie, I really loved the stories of the American Girls when I was a little girl. We should go find the dolls I read about! They were Samantha, Molly, and Kirsten.
Nearby store employee: Actually, all of those dolls are retired.
Me: Blank stare
Store employee: You know, retired. We no longer sell them. Those are the old ones!
Me:…Yes. Old. I’m old.
Annie eventually found the big display of “just like me” or whatever dolls, and found the one she deemed looked exactly like her. This is where Mike met us and she started bargaining. “I will change all of Jamesie’s diapers! And I’ll pick up Rigby’s poop!” I was ready to see just how far she’d go, but Mike stopped her because his parents still generously wanted to buy Annie the doll. This was her face when we told her:
Then she said, “WAIT! She needs a dog, because I have a dog!”
Store employee: We have a large selection of pets!
Of course they do.
On the drive home, I really stressed to Annabel what a nice, expensive doll she had just been given, and she needed to treat her carefully. She seemed to take it seriously, and thus far (you know, in the last 48 hours) the doll has gone everywhere with her.
Other than the dog and one dress, she’s not getting any other “name brand” accessories (at least, not from us) for a very long time. That stuff is pricey and she doesn’t know the difference at this age. It will be a million times easier for me to stomach her losing a pair of doll shoes from Target (because it’s gonna happen). And, I know you’re going to tell me that I should make doll clothes. Annie is a step ahead of you. She’s already sketched outfits for me to make, and doesn’t understand why I haven’t made any of them yet. “Just read a book about how to make doll clothes, Mommy.” Oh, okay.
Annie named her doll Violet, and she named Violet’s dog Eleanor.
I’ve also spent a lot of the last 48 hours styling doll hair, at the request of Annabel.
Mike says it’s like I finally got the doll I wanted back when I was a child. Hahaha, no. My mom was right, I am not a doll person. But I’m very glad it makes Annabel so happy. I think. Ask me again in a month.
I was skyping with my brother and his youngest daughter (age 5) strolled in with a doll in hand. After a bit more chitchat I was informed that the doll cost about 200 bucks. Whut?! For a second I thought the Skype voice stream was playing tricks. Surely (don’t call me Shirley!) a doll wouldn’t cost that much. So I asked him. Yup, heard correctly the first time. Also came to know that the kid had another doll which was even more expensive. Mind blown!
Oh wow! Annie’s definitely didn’t cost that much. Hers was $110 (still a lot) and came with a bunch of accessories.
OMG!!! This summer we went to Chicago & Sydney & I went into one of those store. WHOA!! I could not believe the prices….I don’t think there was a doll UNDER $100.00…and the accessories – YIKES!!! As I walked thru the store I couldn’t help but feel disappointed as I know how many little girls would LOVE such a doll. I was lucky b/c my little girl is now 13 & like you was never into dolls. It was funny though b/c after we left the store it seemed like all we saw was American Girl dolls EVERYWHERE!!! They are so popular!!! I’m so glad Annie was able to get one. The joy on her face is priceless!!
I loved dolls. My aunt was 6 years older than me and we played Barbie all the time. I also had a Baby Tenderlove doll, and crib. I sewed clothes by hand and made diapers out of old t-shirts. I cried at 13 when My mother gave it away without asking. My girls each had an American Girl doll but they were not like Annie. We still have Samantha and two Friends. I have saved all of them with the hopes of keeping the pretend play imagining alive…GO Annie!!
We’re in the American Girl phase as well. It’s a lot of fun but crazy expensive! My daughter wanted the doll canopy bed for $125+ for her birthday. I told her I could buy a bed for a real person for that price! Thankfully, they have (almost) the same doll bed at Target and she was thrilled. I think Santa will be bringing the Target spa chair this year. Oh, and if your store has a cafe, go. It’s adorable.
I’ve heard a lot about the Target doll stuff but I’d never paid attention to it. I definitely will be next time I’m there! Target spa chair…I just have to LOL at all of it!
I also recommend Target doll stuff … the clothes/accessories are MUCH cuter and cheaper than the American Girl Doll clothes. We bought my 4-year-old an American Girl Doll as well and she proceeded to decorate the doll with “face paint” — using magic marker. Warning: magic marker (or pen) does NOT come off of those dolls. I heard you can rub Oxy Acne Medication on her face, stuff her in a plastic bag, and let her sit in the sun. It’s supposed to fade the pen marks. I have yet to try it … we live in Chicago and haven’t seen the sun in 10,000 years.
My daughter also gave the doll a hair cut.
So… keep the markers and scissors away from Annie’s new doll!
Sounds like your daughter’s doll needs a trip to the hospital!
I know it’s not my money, but am I the only one who think’s it’s totally worth every penny for the shot of Rigby and tiny Rigby?
Oh it was totally worth it. The look on Rigby’s face whenever she sees the toy is priceless.
Whatever happened with the stuffed Rigby clone that was showing up in odd places to freak you out?
Amy K. says:
I too wanted a Molly doll but I was 12 when they came out. Do you know there is a hospital you can send them to if they get injured? We live in Madison, WI where the headquarters of American Girl started before it was sold to Mattel. Every year there is a sale that you have to buy tickets to even get into. I only have a boy so I live through my friends’ daughters trips to the store.
WHOA you have to buy tickets to the sale? That’s intense! But kind of smart.
The tickets are only $7 and entry is free on the second day.
After years of begging (and raising half the money), I got a Samantha doll when I was probably 8. She’s packed away in a box now, but every time I see her, it makes me smile. However, we got an American girl catalog in the mail the other day (by accident -the family that lived in our house before us had two young girls), and I was so excited to look through it. I was so disappointed to find out that it’s not the same. The stories of Samantha and Molly and Kirsten are gone, and it’s just about the dolls and their accessories. Sigh.
I’ve heard that the books are still available if you know where to look…which I do not, but to be fair, I haven’t really started trying to find those books yet. But I definitely want to get Annie the Molly, Samantha, and Kirsten books because I loooooved those when I was a kid.
There is an entire series of additional historical girls. They retire them to make room for new girls and their stories. Plus there is always a heavily marketed Girl of the Year with her own book and DVD movie. Rumor has it Samantha may come out of retirment later this year!!! I was never a doll fan growing up but I wanted Samantha. Never got her however I may get her now. You can still find the original Pleasant Company dolls on Ebay and they are worth/selling for just as much now as they were then, $100.
Yeah, the historical section at the store was REALLY cool. That definitely brought out the history geek in me!
You were killing time at THE GROVE. First mistake.
I know, right? We’ve walked by that store a million times with no reaction. I thought we were safe. I THOUGHT WE WERE SAAAAAAAAAAAFE.
Annabel and Violet are darling! And Rigby and Eleanor…TOO CUTE! Luckily my baby (now 17) wasn’t that into dolls, so a knock-off from Target made her happy. I didn’t know that American Girl dolls ran $200?!?
Annie’s was $110 and came with a few accessories. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were $200 dolls in there, though.
Sorry, no $200 dolls. I wouldn’t put it past them to try it. my daughter has Cecile, the Asian bitty baby, and a just like you doll. She also won the latest girl of the year, isabelle, but I didn’t pay a dime. She is going crazy over them right now. She is BEGGING to go to atlanta…. It is a little sad, because she is almost out of this stage. She is 11.
Samantha’s coming out of retirement in the fall, so you … I mean Annie… can get it for Christmas
I had 3 of them back in the early days and I am sort of overwhelmed by how MUCH there is now!
I was pretty resistant at first, but my daughter has acquired a few American Girls and she LOVES them. She plays with them all the time and takes really good care of them. This year she saw an Our Generation doll at Target that she liked and I thought for $20 why not? Now that we have it I can’t believe the difference in quality from American Girl. As for price, I look at it this way…it’s not a stage that’s going to last forever, the quality is incredible, they hold their value, and for the same cost as two video games she gets it’s better than sitting in front of a video game she gets endless hours of creativity and imaginative play. Enjoy!
That video game comment is so true. Or, the price of a couple Lego sets. When I look at it that way, it’s a little easier to swallow the price. Good to know about the Our Generation quality. Have you bought any of the OG accessories?
I buy TONS of the OG and Madame Alexander accessories at Target and Wal Mart. Also hit up the farmers markets and craft shows where you can find locally made custom stuff. The quality of the cheapers dolls is very obvious. J loves to do the hair of her dolls (3 knockoffs and 1 AG) so most have tons of hair coming out in tufts and strands where as her AG doll looks pristine.
Agreed about the hair! My daughter’s 2-month-old knockoff doll’s hair is so matted and tangled. The AG doll hair is great, easy to maintain, especially on the straight-haired dolls. We do have some OG accessories, and a few other off-brands. I can’t remember for sure, I think the OG shoes are a little too big, but we just have a rule that dolls can’t leave the house with shoes and other accessories because they are too easy to lose! The clothes aren’t as good quality but they hold up pretty well. We’ve also bought super cute Disney princess gowns on Etsy for the dolls. Those were a big hit!
AHHHHH really?! I almost don’t want to open the “have multiple dolls” can of worms but ohhhhhhh. I feel like Annie would really want Samantha. hahahaha
AHH! Samantha’s coming out of retirement?!? Okay, I’m gonna start saving up money for her now… for my 21 year old self! (though if I have a daughter in the future she can most certainly play with it… in small doses).
My coworker, who has a five-year-old, brought in the most recent American Doll catalogue expressly because she and I are around the same age and she KNEW I would have a very visceral reaction to the fact that there are now 8000 dolls and none of them are the ones I remember. At the time she brought the catalogue in, you could still order Molly, but with the warning that she was about to be retired. I had Samantha and Felicity when I was a kid, and so I was shocked that they had retired all of my favorite girls.
But yeah, the VW bug had us just rolling on the floor, because WHAT?
If you are into craft fairs and stuff, I should tell you that, at least back in the day, they were a treasure trove of American Girl goodies. Most of my American Girl clothes came from craft shows my mom went to, because they were so much cheaper. So, so much cheaper. (I have no idea where my dolls are now, now that I think of it. I hope my parents are keeping them safe.)
Oh cool, I had no idea about the craft fairs! I will definitely keep my eyes open for them now!
Samantha is coming back this year! (2014)
We had 1 Just Like Me doll as well. Sale priced clothing. AND luckily it was very close to the age Dallas grew out of liking dolls. Are they worth the price, honestly I don’t know. BUT, they sure do make the kiddos happy. Dallas took good care of hers…and I’m betting Annie will too.
Erin Christine says:
Oh my, how fun!! I am so so excited for when my daughter is old enough for one of these. She is 4.5 months old, so we have a ways to go…but having the Samantha doll was one of my fondest childhood memories. I remember when the catalog was just the original historical dolls and their complete “collections.” I too was surprised recently to learn how many of them (all?) are retired. My sister took me to the American Girl store at the Grove several years ago when she was living in L.A. and I nearly lost my mind. The thing is, I’m really not a girly-girl (try to figure that one out) – but I just love these dolls. One Christmas, my mom handmade the lunch sets for our Samantha and Kirsten dolls that you would find in the catalog; they probably would have cost about $20 from the company. But she made the little sandwiches, fruits, etc., out of modeling clay – baked them, and painted them. So I can totally see you making clothes for Annie’s doll, but you can also find outfits and certain accessories on Etsy and at craft shows for a fraction at the cost. Enjoy!!
Oh my gosh, what a cool mom you have!
Stacey T says:
I wanted to caution you on the hair!!!!!! When you style it you can only use a WIRE brush, or WIRE comb, nothing else. No plastic, it will strip the shine right off the dolls hair! Also, you have to spray the hair wet when working with it, or it will get frizzy and again, lose it’s shine and become completely unmanageable! (Take it from someone whose daughter and I ruined a dolls hair and had to spend %50 to replace it’s head at the doll hospital).
Oh yes, we got the hair lecture at the store so we now also own an American Girl brand doll brush. LOL
Wow, blast tpfrom the past! I was very into dolls but baby dolls so when I saw these at my distant cousins, I was unimpressed. The thing I remember most is that I kept calling my cousin’s doll kristen by accident and she kept shrieking “it’s KIRsten!” And I was thinking why does my mom make us come here once a year.
Glad Annie enjoys her new doll!
Yes I too spent ungodley money on an AGD a few years back. I have not bought any of the accessories from them or clothes too much money but I did find that Walmart has a great inexpensive selection of doll accessories for theirversion of AGD that fit all 18″ dolls. You can’t beat the price!! Good luck!! Lol
I definitely need to find those cheap accessories!!!
Michelle H says:
One word – SUCKER! ha ha ha!
We have two but I am so glad Lily is done with them as everything is so expensive! The only thing I have AG is the dolls themselves. All the clothes and accessories are other brands. We have a store in DC area now and I’ve avoided it like the plague as even though she isn’t into it, she does like a good excuse to shop already!
I guess I’m “old” too! I had the set of 6 Molly books when I was growing up(because she looked like me!) but no doll. I remember when there were only 4 girls, and they were all set in some time in history, and it was more about that than the dolls. It made me sad to see that Molly was just retired a few months ago! Ah, nostalgia. I only have a boy, so I won’t have to go through this sort of thing (and I’m kinda happy about that).
Nah, you’re not old if you were young enough to be able to get any AG dolls when you were a kid. The first American Girl dolls were released the year I was 19…
I can relate. We even have the same dress and the salon chair her grandparents got her.
My oldest (now 13) loved, loved, loved her AG dolls. I guess I am the “mean” mom because although she had 3 dolls, they were all from a different historic collection and since she was already reading when she first got into the whole A/G thing, we read the books together and really turned it into a history lesson. Those 3 dolls (2 who are now retired) are now safely tucked away waiting for the day when my 4 year old expresses an interest. For now though the little one has one of the bitty babies (purchased by my mom!) that she loves playing with and I’m glad that I don’t have to stress about messing up the hair just yet.
They are crazy expensive, but so worth it. They’re quality dolls that will be around for generations to come. My parents didn’t have much money at all when I was young, but they knew to invest in good dolls. I’m 42, and my Madame Alexander and Zapf dolls are still beautiful and never fail to make me smile. My girls have more AG dolls than I care to admit. Jess suffered an unfortunate hand injury at the teeth of the border collie, and another girl got a snazzy wedge haircut at the hands of little sis, but I feel like this dolls will forever tell a part of my girls’ history.
You seem to have a lot of family, and AG makes for great gift ideas. The people buying the gifts love that their gifts will always be a hit, and as you’ve found, grandparents are suckers who don’t bat an eye at a hundred dollar doll.
Now. When is it time for Build-A-Bear??
Oh, she’s been to build a bear! She begs to go all the time but I’m like, “Oh, you already built one, remember?” haha.
The AG accessories are definitely going to be the family go-to present for the next few years!
My daughter got her first American Girl doll when she was 5 from her grandmother and I rolled my eyes. More followed over the years. She’s now 12 and still plays with them. She has a mix of historical dolls and contemporary dolls. They have been great, the way she plays with them has changed as she has grown – she constructs things for them and plays in really creative ways. She has bonded with friends over them. We’ve spent a lot of money on AG and related things over the years (including the extras from Michaels and Target), but she has kept all of it, taken good care of all of it, and has continued to play with all of it – more than I can say for any other toys other than Legos. And the whole American Girl brand, corporate as it is, is focused on really building girls up. The fiction books are well written and well though out, and the advice books and magazine have been really good as she grows up. So many of the toys aimed at kids her age now have girls with lots of makeup and horrific bodies. The American Girl dolls just looks like girls. So I really surprised myself, but I turned out to be a big fan! She is starting to age out and it is making her and us sad.
I’m really looking forward to Annie getting old enough for all of that!
Eleanor and Rigby! Adorable! Annie is too clever.
I loved my AG. I got her when I was a little old for it but I wanted one so much and felt really really lucky because I knew how expensive she was for my mom. I think that it helped that I was a kid who played with dolls until high-school so I still got years of joy our of her. She is safe in the attic in case I ever have a daughter.
I hope Annie loves every minute and adventure with her doll. She looks pretty damn stoked.
Love this! My cousins and I all got AG dolls from Santa for Christmas when we were in Kindergarten. When the “Girl of Today” came out when I was a litttttttle too old to have another doll, I begged for it anyways, and sentimental Santa brought me one! I had Molly and my aunts and grandma made a bunch of clothes for her! I was in the AG store in Chicago recently and felt so sad that the historical girls display was a tiny corner compared to the “Girl of the Year” and all that. The Molly section didn’t even actually have a doll in it!!! Also, I second the hair comment – my Molly had to get a new head from the doll hospital, too.
Jeanne P says:
My daughter got hers at age 9, the first year they came out (when they cost about $80) She had Molly because they both wore glasses. Her best friend Samantha had the Samantha doll. They played with them until they were 12 and treated them so gently.
I have seen a lot of directions to make accessories on Pinterest. Molly is now carefully packed away in case my daughter (now 26) ever has a daughter.
Oh duh, I should totally look on pinterest! You’re a genius!
Walmart has a line of 18 inch dolls as well and they have great shoes, skates and boots that fit AG dolls for just $2 a pair!
Oh awesome! I heard Target has great ones, too. I have to start looking around.
Oh, also Michael’s has some cute accessories and outfits, and you can always use a 40% off coupon there!
Ok the look on Miss A’s face is worth the money, but girl you are looking really skinny!!!WTG
Oh, haha, thank you!
Wait a minute…. Samantha, Molly, Kirsten… they’re RETIRED??! Like I will never be able to buy one for my (yet to be conceived or born) daughter?!! That is so depressing.
According to the internet (and a commenter here!), Samantha is being brought back later this year! So I have to think the others will come back around at some point, too.
I had a Kirsten doll when I was younger. My cousin and I each got them for our tenth birthday (she got Samantha). We got them from our grandmother because they had books that went with them and reading was super important to our teacher mothers. Anyway, when my daughter was born last year, my mother took my doll to the store to have her hair “done” and buy her a new dress. Since she had been retired, everyone made a huge deal about the doll. My best friend also was into the dolls with us and bought a new one for my daughter when she was born. So my 18 month old has two!!! Totally ridiculous, but also really special that she will get to play with something that was so important to me as a child. Annie looks like she will have many happy memories with her!
I’m not going to lie, thinking about her playing with your old doll has me a little teary! I think that’s so, so sweet.
Michell DuBose says:
I just googled free patterns for American Girl dolls. There are loads of options! You will have no problem learning to sew many of them. And you and Annie will have a great time making them! Eventually she will be able to sew too! I see fun times ahead. Yay Annie!
When I read that line about sewing doll clothes, I thought, “you know, this would be a great way to get Annie to start sewing!” You (or Grandma!) can buy one of those 20 dollar starter machines for kids, and before you know it, Annie will be the one making the clothes, plus you two will have another activity to do together!
I need to google that…I am almost afraid to start making clothes for the doll because I fear Annie will think of me as a clothes factory! hahaha
Don’t laugh too soon…one summer my mom said she felt she worked at a sweat shop sewing & knitting clothes fir my niece’s Just Like Me doll. But it was a fun & creative sweat shop!
I had a Samantha doll growing up. I’ll admit that my parents spoiled me because I had a lot of the outfits and accessories (like the bed and birthday party tea set and table). But I also had every single book and loved to read them. My Samantha doll, all her outfits and accessories, and all the books are in my old closet at my parents house (my old room is now a gym). As a kid, I always thought it was weird that they kept them, but now as an adult I’m super grateful.
One day, when I have kids, I plan on passing all of that down to them. Hopefully they will appreciate the historic nature of the original dolls and not just look at it as a toy, but that might just be a crazy thought.
I’m mostly impressed with the Beatles Eleanor Rigby connection!
Well, she gave her doll her middle name (Violet) so she asked us what Rigby’s middle name is. Rigby’s full registered name is Eleanor Rigby, so that’s why she picked Eleanor. Still, super-funny!
Of course, that makes total sense. Such a smart girl!
Denise Ward says:
It sure looks like Annie had a wonderful time at the store, and that doll does look like her! I’m older than you, and still have wonderful memories of my sister and I getting a shoe box full of Barbie doll clothes at Christmas–my Mom found a way to sew when we were outside or playing, and they excellent! Give it a shot, and you’ll be enchanted with your efforts, I’ll bet!
Aw, your mom is awesome!
Ebay is also your friend as far as dolls clothes go. And as earlier posters said, I’ve seen loads of sewing and knitting patterns to fit 18 inch dolls online.
A few years ago, I bought a Heidi Ott 18 inch doll because she was so lovely (similar to this one http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411xYZgh5LL.jpg). I told myself it was for my future daughter, to be added to my own childhood tiny tears doll and the dolls house I bought on ebay and decorated myself complete with tiny paintings, finely crafted curtains, embroidered rugs and lacey blankets knitted on pin-thick needles (I clearly had a LOT of time on my hands pre-child!) And naturally I then went on to have a boy. Who is lovely, of course, but his appreciation of a pretty doll is kind of limited. Ah well, maybe I’ll get a granddaughter some day!
Your post is so timely – Alyssa just went to a birthday party at the American Girl bistro yesterday! The place still makes me a kind of panicky from when I helped one of my friends with her 6 year olds birthday party there years ago. For some reason the table wasn’t ready and we had to wait (for what seemed like forever) in the store with 12 six year olds – who all understandably wanted everything!
Love that Annie is so happy and the Rigby mini me!
P.S. we have now begun negotiations for her birthday party to be at American Girl. When we got home from yesterday’s party Alyssa said to her twin brother “have you ever wanted to see the American girl doll store?” He said, “sure.” She responded with “why don’t we go see it in July for our birthday party?” She gets an A for effort but he quickly said “no!!”
P.P.S. there is an American Girl doll hair salon in the store in Atlanta . . .
Thank goodness Annie doesn’t know the AG store has birthday parties!
I, like you, had the original American Girl dolls. (I’m only 21,so they’re not THAT old, promise ). I read all the books that went with them because I was fascinated by the stories and the history behind them(I was a nerd child). I don’t recall which actual doll I had, but I wasn’t much of a doll person and was much more interested in the books… no wonder I’m an English major. LOL.
In a completely unrelated topic, your hair in that last picture looks GORGEOUS. So shiny!
Oh, thanks!!! Totally hang onto those books because they are hard to find now!
In fifth grade I saved up all my money to buy my own American Girl doll. Totally worth it.
In other news can we talk about how great you look?!! Your arms in particular look amazing!!!! Tell us your secret
Oh thank you! Lately, my secret has just been trying to eat as little sugar as possible (I fail at this when Girl Scout Cookies are in my house). I like to do arm exercises, but lugging James around helps a lot. He’s a nice twenty-pound weight!
We have thus far avoided our daughter knowing about these (She’s 6). But I’m so sorry you weren’t warned! It is a BEAST and a whole can of worms. If they lose a limb, there is a “hospital” you can send them to. Of course it costs money, but the doll will be returned good as new with balloons and stuff like she just came home from a real hospital. And there is a real doll salon. And a million other things I’m sure. I don’t actually know since I’m trying to avoid it, but my boss’s girls go to the American Girl store for vacations. For real. There is apparently a giant one somewhere. Dallas? Chicago? God help you.
I believe it! The one in LA was ENORMOUS.
I can’t believe they retired the original dolls! I mean, if they’re going to do all the crazy crap they do can’t they at least stay true to their roots and, I don’t know, the old historical stories?!! I’m glad my Eleanor hasn’t gotten into dolls yet. I want to stick with dinosaurs forever!
I am a few years younger than you, Heather, and I was about 8 when the first AG catalog showed up in our mailbox. And of course I had to have one. My mom bought me Molly, and then two years later I saved up my allowance money for Samantha. That was the first (and actually, maybe the last) time I ever really saved and sacrificed for something, and it was a valuable life lesson and all that.
It saddens me a little to see that the “old” dolls have been retired, and there are so many, and it’s commonplace now for a 4-year-old to have a $100 doll. (FYI, that hair frizzes super easily.) But I’m glad this was a special present for Annie and that you’re stressing that to her and that so far, she loves the doll.
Also, have you seen those older dolls on ebay? Even ones in mediocre condition go for several hundred. I told Molly I would always love her, but it might be time to sell!
I wasn’t really comfortable with her having something that cost $100…but everyone has assured me that it’s amazingly well-made and will last for years and years. It’s definitely well-made, I can agree there. I hope that she gets a lot of use out of it. But then I look at my nephews and many of my friends’ kids who have $100 lego sets (or multiple cheaper sets), and many of them just build the set and never touch it again. Annie definitely won’t play with her doll that way, so in that respect, it was a worthwhile purchase.
As a mom of 2 boys – I have to come in defense of the lego sets: except for one lego set he built only once so far (but it’s over 600 pieces – a lot for a 4.5 year old; it took him the better part of a day…but my 2 year old loves the dolphins that came with it; yes, it’s actually a set for girls), our firstborn has spent hours and hours building and rebuilding various lego creator sets of a few hundred pieces each (and all bought on sale!). Main issue is I have to help take the pieces apart lol.
Oh my brother and I were totally Lego CRAZY as kids, and we’d spend hours and hours playing with our assembled sets! I’m glad to hear other kids do that, too! My nephews just build them and put them on display and I’m always like, “But don’t you want to PLAY with them?”
I will admit that your post made me tear up a bit. My daughter will be 21 next week. She loved her American Girl dolls. She also had the horses. A few years ago, we lent them to my niece with express instructions about taking good care of them, etc because they were to be returned when she outgrew them.
The dolls were left at a neighbors, and ended up spray painted and hung in the neighbor’s trees. I’m sill heartbroken because I had planned to put them away for my daughter’s children.
The dolls are expensive, but the quality is amazing. Annie will love her doll and play with it for years and years to come. I have the best memories of playing on the floor with my girl and her AG dolls.
Spray painted?!? The thought makes me ill!!!! Are they still around? Can they be sent to an AGD store for cleaning????
Welcome to the American Girl world my daughter (who will be 6 in August) loves hers. She has a itty bitty baby and one of the iffy bitty twins (you can but them seperately in store and we thought that size would be better for her)
I’m an oldie like you. I had Samantha and Kirsten and my sister had Molly. I’m lucky that my mom has them all saved and I plan to let my daughter play with them.
I was a Cabbage Patch kid, but my younger cousins had/have American Girl Dolls. I went through a sewing phase so I made quite a few outfits for them. I have seen 18 inch doll clothes at Joanns; coupled with a coupon, I think, are a pretty good deal.
Lordy, I’m old. My daughter, now 32, is the only granddaughter of a doll collector who showered her with the original Pleasant Company American Girl dolls. She has, in historical order: Felicity and friend Elizabeth (1774), Kirsten (1854), Addie (1864), Samantha (1904), and Molly (1944). And their clothes. And their accessories. And their books. And Samantha’s furniture. And several ‘dress-like-your-doll’ real girl gowns like Felicity’s Revolutionary War outfits. The royal blue taffeta holiday gown with the lace pinner cap and the white cotton summer gown with the flowered sash and straw hat had to have their own hanging dress bag in her closet, for heaven’s sake! (Mattel no longer sells the girls’ outfits to match the historical dolls’ clothes, more’s the pity.)
Grandmother and granddaughter loved every.single.piece of it. Hours, days, weeks, months, and years of play and imagining and curiosity about the eras of “the girls” led to her devouring books and watching movies/tv shows about those days. My daughter is now a school library media specialist with a love of history. Traceable back to the AG Historical Dolls? Could be!
I seriously wish I had ALL of those dolls still. The historical ones are the best, hands down! I devoured the books that went with them.
Mom in MN says:
My daughter (now 13) has 2 Bitty Babies, a set of Bitty Twins, 3 Historical dolls and a Just Like Me doll. (I purchased none of them! All purchased by her grandma and aunts.) I could try to add up the $$ invested in all of the dolls/accessories/pets in the totes that now reside in storage in my mom’s basement, but I would cry. The weird thing? She was never really a doll girl…
Kathryn M. says:
For some reason I just love this post!! I guess it’s a combo of your sarcasm, the look on your face with the doll hair…Annie’s overwhelming excitement and precious pics, what she named the cute mini Rigby, etc….I just love it
Both of my girls are into the AG dolls. Thanks to birthdays and Christmas, they both have multiple dolls–my older daughter’s dolls are currently up in my closet. Yep, you heard that right–but she is 12 and a bit over them.
My youngest–loves her dolls. She was lucky enough to get McKenna–the gymnast doll of the year–which is good because as she tells us, she will be in the Olympics in 2024. She does all sorts of things with them. And takes them with her.
We got the spa chair and the bathtub from Target. Great deal and she uses them a lot.
I’m hoping, maybe for her birthday, to take her to the new AG store in San Francisco. My husband says it is my dream more than hers.
We have about 20 of those dolls sitting on shelves (ugh) and she is 20 and away at college. We have all of the books. I will ask her if she is ready to give them up and if she is you are more than welcome to them. I know the dolls are not going anywhere yet, because a younger cousin just asked her for one and she said “No”!
I’m glad Annie got her doll and I love the miniature Rigby dog. To make you feel better, just let me tell you they didn’t even have American Girl dolls when I was young. In fact all the dolls were still made of porcelain. OK, just kidding about the porcelain part.
Peggy Howard says:
I was visiting Atlanta this weekend and went to the American Girl store. I wish I would have taken my girls when they were younger they are now 18 and 22. They loved their dolls and I made matching Easter dresses for them all and one year my oldest and Molly had matching poodle skirts! The little clothes are hard to make. I would rather make an adult a dress than the AG doll. Try Joann’s , etsy and craft shows…but for a gift get her and Violet matching outfits, you won’t regret the pictures!
Alexandra :) says:
WAIT WHAT? SAMANTHA AND MOLLY AND KRISTEN CAN NOT BE RETIRED. I HAD A SAMANTHA DOLL AS A KID. AND I’M NOT EVEN 21 YET. I AM TOO YOUNG TO BE OLD.
I love that first pic with the doll because well, she’s not expressive at all
Sigh… this post made me smile and feel sad at the same time. My girls are now 18 and almost 16, and LOVED American Girl dolls. My oldest girl started with a Bitty Baby from Grandma around age 4, and received her beloved Samantha from her Great-Grandma and Aunt when she was diagnosed with leukemia at age 6. (She’s fine now BTW). My youngest daughter’s 6th birthday was spent at the AG store in Chicago and is one of my favorite memories ever. Picture three girls (their cousin came too), ages 6, 7, 8, with their assorted moms, grandmas, great-grandma, aunts – they all got matching outfits to their dolls, we ate ‘tea’ with the dolls in little chairs attached to the table, and saw a cute little musical performed by 7-12-year-old-girls. I shudder to think about how much we spent that day, but totally worth it. (The birthday girl had been talking about Felicity all the way to Chicago, and I figured she’d change her mind when we got to the store and she saw all the ‘new dolls’ – but she bee-lined it right to Felicity and never even looked at any of the others!)
We added Samantha and Felicity’s “friends” (great marketing ploy by AG!) over the years for Christmas presents, but mainly my mom made some of their clothes,we bought stuff at Target and craft shows, and also refurbished some doll furniture found cheap at yard sales in lieu of the expensive stuff in the catalogs/store. It’s now all packed away for grandkids someday. As for quality – those dolls were loved and loved for years and still look great.
Thanks for letting us all share our memories – and looking forward to seeing lots more of Annie and her new friend!
Thank YOU for sharing! Also, so glad your daughter is okay! xo
Almost all regular AGD are $110. Price goes up with accessory packages. The AG store in NYC does a lunch which is really wonderful and very girlie. I assume they do it at your store as well.
Great for Moms, daughters and grandmas. Target has a great line. Their accessories are great. They also have a cheap doll carrier backback which is great. Toys are us has good accessories as well. If you search, you can also fine matching outfits for AGD and Annie that is much cheaper than AG store. I loved the matching pajamas but my daughter just grew out of them.
wendy goldstein says:
We had two hand me down dolls from big sister and cousin that we took to the spa and cleaned up. Got their hair done and everything! My daughter and all her friends love the dolls . I get accessories from Target or Toys R Us and my daughter saves up her money to buy something from the store once a year!
OMG I have a Molly doll. She was the ONLY doll I owned as a kid and I LOVED her books and her accessories. My attic at my parents has Molly carefully packed in a Pleasant Company trunk, with all of her accessories (including some made by my grandmother – PC used to sell patterns for all of the clothes – my grandma made Molly Florida Gators PJS and a bright Orange rain slicker and hat – amazing!!) I also had the matching Molly PJs and Samantha Nightgown
You are going to need this post:
I loved the original American Girls when I was younger. I never had a doll, but always wanted one. I was so bummed to find out that the originals were retired. Samantha was my favorite.
My sister and I had 5 between the two of us including the first generation of Girls of Today (mine-which came with blank books for you to write the story in), Molly, Kit, a later generation of Girls of Today (with curly hair like she has), and a Bitty Baby. My parents put off getting me a doll by telling me I had to read the books (I read all of the Samantha, Molly, and Felicity books) my sister happened to end up with most of her dolls as gifts from other people. My mom and a family friend had a business making the clothes for the dolls so I ended up with a random outfits (including a matching school uniform and other dresses) for my doll. They are all currently on a shelf in a box in my parents basement waiting for grandchildren to play with them and their clothes.
I’ve seen the old books on ebay and dresses & sports uniforms and accessories on Etsy – some had matching outfits for the girls (this was around Christmas). I know that some of the pattern companies (McCalls is the one I remember) had “18 inch doll” patterns.
Have you seen the Conan OBrien bit in the American Girl store? It’s hysterical!
Welcome to the Club. I have mixed feelings because they are so pricey, but they are also a heck of a lot nicer quality than the cheap Target crap, or Barbies or Monster High dolls. And my daughter is almost 8, but we love the books–great messages for girls about being smart and standing up for yourself and taking care of your body, as well as fun puzzle books and crafts. Target has the knockoff line and the clothes/accessories aren’t bad. Doll hair is bad, though. If you take care of the doll’s hair it will last. I think it’s all about moderation, like everything else.
Check out Liberty Jane patterns if you are wanting to sew. She does super cute, modern designs with easy to follow patterns. I have two that are very into AG (and surprisingly, one is my 8yo son) and sew all the clothes because I can’t handle the prices for new!
If you want to tackle furniture, ana-white has some awesome tutorials. My husband made a bunk bed for the dolls and it only required minimal swearing.
Last but not least – these dolls are easy to repair yourself if anything happens. No need to send it to the Doll Hospital for a costly visit. Holler if you ever need help and I’l walk you through the fix!
Have you ever fixed a head that’s come off? We still have my sister’s 30 year old Samantha doll but her head won’t stay on & the AG Doll Co will only “fix” it by putting on a whole new head. We want the original!!! If you can help that would be awesome!!!
Yes. I will email you! Should be something you can do right there pretty easily.
My now 10 year old daughter received her first doll at the age of 4 (also a gift). We bought it at The Grove (oh, the memories). I am happy to report her dolls are still played with daily. It’s amazing how the play changes over the years, now she crafts little everyday items for them, sets up stop motion movies, etc.
Oh my gosh, Annie just started watching the stop motion AG doll videos on YouTube! Does your daughter put hers up anywhere, because she’d have a huuuuuge fan in Annabel!
Do they have a softball playing AG doll? Otherwise I can’t see either of us ever needing one. I hadn’t even heard of them until Brie was 5. We do have one now, thanks to Grandma who had bought Samantha for Brie’s aunt when she was a girl. We also have a horse and way too many accessories to count. I will take AG over legos any day though.. At least you can see the AG accessories before you step on them and break your face from the fall!
Oh yeah, they TOTALLY have a softball uniform for the dolls. In fact, they have a uniform for just about every sport, which made me happy (not just stereotypical cheerleaders)!.
Freaking lego blocks. I have a bruise on the bottom of my foot from one that is making me limp!
My daughter has a look alike doll that she got 2 Christmases ago, last years girl of the year (saige)
, which was her birthday gift, and then this past Christmas she received a Hermione doll, which is an American girl (whatever doll was on sale last November) that my mom made a hogwarts uniform for and I made a small wand for. I also got her small potion bottles,a cauldron, steamer trunk, and a cat. My mom and I had so much fun putting it together and my daughter loves it! She will play for hours with all three of them, and they still all look brand new. Honestly we spent more in her brothers Christmas gifts (Legos) that hers.
Holy crap, *I* would play with a Hermione doll! That is AMAZING and you and your mom win all of everything for putting that together!
Jackie F. says:
Very cute! Just so you know, the AG dolls have a bigger bootie than the Target dolls so some of the pants don’t fit…I found that out the hard way *sigh*
AGD! Now that’s one doll craze I am not looking forward to. Especially since we already have a Lego addiction going (mine and hers)…
Kristen G. says:
Oh I loved the day Kirsten since it was so close to my name. I never got one but was very envious of my cousin and her Samantha doll with accessories.
When I was little I was definitely a Cabbage Patch girl, I had three or four of those and I absolutely loved them. Every birthday and Christmas there would be new outfits waiting for my dolls under the tree. When I was 9 or 10 I finally got the AG Samantha doll and she quickly became friends with my CP dolls, even usurped their beds and doll dresser that my granddaddy had made. For a couple years after that there would be a couple different American Girl brand outfits or accessories for Christmas or my birthday… or for my mom’s birthday because she was possibly more obsessed with dolls than I was (and I would hole up in my room and play house with my dolls for HOURS until I was in middle school). I’ve still got all the doll clothes, beds, dresser, and accessories and I REALLY hope that I have a daughter who loves all this just as much as my mom and I did Oh, and just wait until she’s into dolls like the “My Size Barbie”… my cousin’s hubby and my bf found mine in my mom’s storage room while we were cleaning out her house and just about died laughing!
I am sooooooo glad I have boys. Annie is as adorable as ever …. and mate, you look twenty years old! Hot! xx
Oh this is just TOO cute!! I had two AG dolls growing up who I loved and adored, and I just recently discovered them in storage…it was so wonderful to find them again!
If I ever have a daughter I cannot wait to get her an AG doll, lol no shame in my game And the joy on Annie’s face in these pics is just priceless!
Oh, and I loove that the doll’s name is Annie’s middle name, and Eleanor the dog…Eleanor Rigby…a true Beatles fan at heart, just like dear old dad! Love it!!
Just a bit of info, Jo Ann fabrics sells clothes and accessories for ” Springfield dolls”. Which is a knockoff doll. But they fit all 18″ dolls! They fit our American girl doll perfectly and they are pretty cheap!
Oh awesome! I will totally check those out!
LOL Just saw the comment above….I was going to tell you that since you said you wanted to learn to follow patterns, you can buy patterns for both 18″ dolls and genuine AG Doll patterns. My mom, once she got used to working in such a small scale, loved making clothes for my 2 oldest nieces.
We are waiting to see if my (just-turned) 5 y.o. niece will be in to them too. Right now she has all her mommy’s dolls EXCEPT for her Samantha doll, whose head has fallen off after 30 years. My mom uses her as a macabre model for the doll clothes she makes. (She also knits them sweaters& hats!)
While the AG company offers to “fix” your doll if you mail it in, all they really do is give her a new head which IS NOT the same thing at all!!! We feel she should be genuinely fixed.
Another good place to find knock-off, hand-made AT doll clothes is Etsy, And we had luck at random boutiques and antique malls. Far cheaper than the store!!!
Welcome to the age of the American Girl Doll. For the sake of the money spent, May Violet be actively involved with your family for at least the next 5 (to 6) years!!!
Right, the “AT” above ^^^^ US supposed to be “AG” ….don’t you just love it when machines think they are smarter than YOU are?!?
Hey, if your doll’s head has fallen off you might look for candle wick thread. Thread it through the part where the strings once were and then tie it TIGHT around the head. I can provide further instruction if it helps.
BTW— LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Annie’s expression!!!!!
Thought I’d share some of the clothes my mom made for my niece Ava’s just like me doll. This is but a very, very small sampling. I think one summer, when A a was with us, she must have made 30 different outfits!
These are awesome! Your mom is amazing, your niece is so lucky!
Sue G says:
My daughter (now 12)got her first AG doll when she was 5, and it was well worth it. That doll has gone everywhere with us! She has two large ones and 4 small, because her dolls needed dolls! Not sure if anyone suggested it, but Amazon has the older small dolls and books, I got Molly, Josephine and Kit from them. Also try Etsy, I bought some really cute slippers and clothes from there. I had bunk beds made for $25.00 at a place that provides employment to mentally handicapped adults. I just used foam for the mattresses, and sewed sheets, pillows and pillowcases. easy!
Sue G says:
Oh, and Ikea has doll beds too!
I am currently nursing my 11 week old daughter, Eleanor, to sleep with my 45 lb mutt, Violet, at my feet!!!!
I’m 24 years old now, but I had two American Girl dolls (Molly and Felicity) plus a Bitty Baby. I played with them constantly from ages 7-11 and I devoured the book series that came with each doll (plus the ones my library had). Both my dolls were gifts and I purchased several outfits with money that I had saved (I think they were $24 at the time, but as soon as I had the cash I forked it over to my mom to order something).
I also subscribed to the American Girl magazine ‘Girls’ catered to young girls about young girls. I even received a penpal in Sparta, Missouri through a program they ran. The magazine is no longer in print, though.
That being said, I adore the American Girl franchise and I will whole-heartedly spend my money on something I hope will give my daughter’s of the future so much happiness. I often consider how crazy I would buy if I bought some now (I LOVE Kit) and hoard them for the kids I don’t have yet. I’m even a high school history teacher today which I credit to being exposed to the historical stories of Felicity and Molly at a young age. Worth the money!
Craft fairs are another great place to get doll clothes and accessories (or at least they used to be when I was of an age to be playing with American Girl dolls). I’m still sad they retired Kirsten, but very glad mine is still in good shape and safely stored away to eventually give to my kids!
I found the pick of your daughter with that really excited face on holding her doll on accident. I was looking for AG employee dress code and this came up. Made me laugh so hard and now I’m adding your blog to my feedly. Also JSYK Samantha will be rereleased this month.
Also I should mention I make doll clothes: http://astoriaavenueapparel.storenvy.com/