American Girl Doll…or Not

Posted November 5, 2014 by Prairie Wife - 31 comments

I am the first to admit that I am super anal when it comes to a lot of things. Buying Christmas gifts is one of those things that I just can’t leave alone. My big sis Texas Two Steppin’ is the same way so perhaps it is genetic. I try to have all my gifts bought and shipped here before the first week of December. Then all The Cowboy and I have left to do is take the individual Cowkids out to choose gifts for their siblings.

Christmas GiftIt should come as no surprise to my regular readers that we have a system of gift giving that we stick to around here. The Cowboy and I only get one gift each for the Cowkids. It’s really worked well for us, and let me explain why we do this. Our Cowkids are pretty lucky, and blessed with not only a pack of siblings but a multitude of loving Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and family friends who often send gifts. Add to that Santa Claus who brings them one gift off their list (we mail a list at Macy’s every year to donate to Make a Wish Foundation), a book, and an item of Wyoming clothing and you can see why just one gift from Mom and Dad each doesn’t seem so stingy. After all, just adding up gifts from siblings, parents, and Santa each Cowkid gets eight gifts…that seems pretty good to me!

We emphasize the thoughtfulness in picking just the right gift to give to others, often hand create crafts to send to Aunts and Uncles, and of course talk about the true meaning of Christmas, the gift of Jesus to the world. The Cowboy and I both were raised on pretty tight budgets, and though at times it was really hard to see others have what we couldn’t, we also see how it went into creating who we are today. At first when we had kids it was an act of necessity to keep gift giving down to a minimum. We saved for months to get that one perfect gift for each other and Cowboy J and Cowgirl G. Lately we’ve been blessed with a budget that isn’t quite so tight but, we still really try hard to make sure our kids know they can’t (and shouldn’t have it all). Cowboy J spent one year telling everyone he knew he was going to get a four wheeler for Christmas. We had actually planned on giving him this gift but, we changed our minds and got him another gift…just to prove a point.

American Girl DollNow that Christmas will soon be upon us the Cowkids are beginning to talk about what they plan to ask Santa for on their list. Cowgirl G has been professing her desire…dare I say NEED for an American Girl Doll this year. She has actually been asking for one since her birthday last year, when a catalog mysteriously showed up at our door. For those of you that are unfamiliar with American Girl Dolls they are beautiful 18 inch dolls that come with a book sharing their personal story, numerous accessories and furniture choices, and even clothing for both them and your child. For the doll, book, and outfit they charge…wait for it….$120.00.

American Girl Doll listNow these dolls are beautiful and very well made. I hear the hair is like no other doll hair in strength and ease of brushing and the clothes are strongly stitched and easy to wash. There are also American Girl Doll stores where you can take your child to get their doll fixed, buy accessories, and even hold birthday parties. Cowgirl G takes exceptionally good care of her dolls and is very responsible. For her birthday last year she murmured a time or two about an American Girl Doll so, thinking I was super smart, I bought her a Fancy Nancy Doll that was similar in size, came with a book, and two outfits (at a much lower cost). While she liked it you can see from her list that she feels she has “grown out of” this doll. Yup that’s correct, my daughter wrote a list of why she wants an American Girl Doll (notice she even did the logo correctly).

Now technically we can afford for this doll to be her one gift from me, and even have her brothers purchase an outfit or accessory or two for her gifts from them…but the question is should I?!

Before I leave you I need to add that I spent years begging Ma and Pa for an American Girl Doll of my own (several girls I went to school with had 3 or more)…and needless to say they could never afford to buy one for me. I know that I can’t ignore my emotional connection to this decision, that’s why I need your help!

What do you think readers…American Girl Doll…or Not?!

Copyright: anskuw / 123RF Stock Photo

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31 thoughts on "American Girl Doll…or Not"

  1. Erica says:

    Will it require a $120 gift for the other kiddos?

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Nope. We get them a gift based on what we think they will enjoy and get use out of. Some gifts are as little as $15 and we don’t compare and make sure we spend the same on each Cowkid because it is so individual what they would like.

  2. Alyssa L says:

    I know Katey is not ready for one, her current dolls condition speak volumes. She too has been begging for one, but I’m not ready to drop that kind of dough, knowing she won’t take care of it. As a kid I had 2, both are still packed away nicely in my basement. One was a birthday gift, then for every holiday afer that all my presents were accessories for that doll. The other one I bought with my own money, saved up all my babysitting money for 2 months so I could buy her. Around that time though they were losing their magic for me. I’m def not ready to pass mine on to her either, my old barbies I gave her are in sad shape, and to me my American Girl Dolls of some of my most prized chilhood items. Half the magic was in dreaming about what I might get next for her. The thrill of flipping every page in that new catalog. As long as you know she will treasure and take care of it, I say go for it.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      If she treated her things like the Cowboys I wouldn’t even be thinking of it. But, she takes impeccable care of all of her toys…and especially her dolls!

      1. Alyssa L says:

        As others have mentioned, they are wonderfully made dolls. I still have both mine from 1993 and 1996 and they are in wonderful conditionn hence why my daughter cannot have them yet! I say go for it, sice you know she will take wonderful care of them!

        1. Prairie Wife says:

          It is nice to hear how well made they are!

  3. Riley says:

    While I am not any help at all here, I so understand this conundrum! Will be checking back for more input. xo

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who battles this!

  4. Bobbi P says:

    Yes 😉 my niece is 10 years old and still uses her American girl dolls everyday! I most definitely think that Cowgirl G will get good use out of her, and when she’s done with the doll, a new Cowkid could always use it!! The dolls definitely get great use out of them over the years!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I didn’t even think about how CowBaby5 could play with it lol….I don’t know why as we hand everything down around here. Thanks for making such agood point!

  5. Kristen says:

    Ugh I’m in the same dilemma…except multiply that by 3!! They want to each get one from Santa….but we all know who Santa really is 😉 Daniel says no way but I am really torn on what to do. I’m sorry I don’t have an answer for you…although if it was just one daughter I probably would give in…mine is times 3 so it’s really hard to justify spending that kind of money… So I would take opinions also 😉

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I know right…I like how Bobbi pointed out handing them down so even if your oldest outgrows hers you will have lots of use still. Maybe you could let Santa get them that one thing, and the other gifts are all the clothes. But man I hear ya on the cost!

  6. Melissa says:

    I honestly feel like American Doll’s are the new (Much more expensive) version of Cabbage Patch Dolls or Barbie. I know that American Girl has been around for a long time but they just seem to have become popular in the last few years. I’m just not sure why they are so expensive. If you think that she is old enough to take care of it and still young enough to enjoy it, then ABSOLUTELY get her one.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Good comparison on the Cabbage Patch Dolls lol! I agree about the cost but as I said in the post everyone I talk to that has bought one says they are a superior quality doll and last years!

  7. Melissa says:


    As my parents explained it to us when we were younger, “With age comes responsibility and certain privilege.” If you can’t see spending that kind of money x3 right now you could always give the oldest hers and tell the other 2 they have to wait until they are older and more responsible. Plus in all fairness she has probably been waiting the longest for one anyway. Just a thought.

    1. Kristen says:

      True! That’s a good point…just not sure how to tell the others they cannot ask Santa for it…

      1. Prairie Wife says:

        When there have been gifts that we want to give them not Santa, Santa gives an accessory or related toy. So maybe Santa will bring them all one outfit for the doll and then they open one from you? Then you can say Santa knew you had already bout dolls because he is Santa?

        1. Prairie Wife says:

          Sorry…. didn’t read Melissa’s post first. We always have our kids ask for two things they want from Santa and they only get one so we have some wiggle room, perhaps that would work?

          1. Kristen says:

            Ok. Good points. I really don’t think I can only get Siera one… She is already 11. Not sure how much longer she’d play with it. Guess she could hand it down to Breya…
            It’s just going to come down to convincing Daniel!!

  8. College BFF says:

    I guess it kind of depends on what you set your budget for each of the cow kids one gift from you. If it’s within that budget I say go for it 😉

    1. College BFF says:

      Haha plus then you could have a reason to come visit me cause there’s an American girl doll store here 😉

      1. Prairie Wife says:

        I have to admit part of the appeal is taking a girl trip to the nearest store and letting her pick something out or get the dolls ears pierced etc…. 🙂

    2. Prairie Wife says:

      It is in the budget, sigh…just trying to decided what is best!

  9. Karen Szewczyk says:

    I purchased each of the granddaughter’s American Girl doll(s) with the strict advice that these are not normal dolls and need extra special attention. They LOVE their dolls and all the outfits (some not from American Girl)! The granddaughters were taken on a trip to an American Girl store, which totally caters to the children, and then visited a nearby restaurant that had booster seats for the American Girl dolls. P.S. Many of their historical dolls are collector’s items that can be passed on for generations.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thanks, it helps me to be more OK with the cost when I hear how they really lasted and were so loved by other little girls!

  10. Karen Szewczyk says:

    Do it…you will never regret it!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      🙂 I will be sure to leave my final answer here for all of you to read, I appreciate all these things all my readers have given me to think about!

  11. Get her the doll, have her earn the outfits. Maybe siblings can buy a toy horse or dog to go with, let her earn the outfits, since I know how much she’ll want to change and dress it.
    Also price is not as crazy as I’ve heard. $100 is almost the same as the Wii!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I agree about cost, though the Wii we got for Cowboy J was something the whole family can use, as opposed to the doll which will be mostly Cowgirl G.

  12. Buy her the doll and have her earn the clothes

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      That is a good idea!

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