American Girl Dolls and Santa Lucia

In an earlier blog post, I talked about a less expensive alternative to American Girl Dolls. My daughter and I call them “Me” Dolls. I feel that these dolls are good for kids since they can play with them without parents worrying about the dolls getting messy.

Today Ed Gawlinski wrote to me about what he feels are the benefits of the American Girl Dolls

The American Girl dolls, at least before they were bought out by Mattel, were intended to be (or at least approach) “museum quality” in accuracy and workmanship. The dolls, clothes and accessories are intended to match one of the books associated with that doll. They are admittedly expensive. However, the books can be bought separately and they are (in my opinion) excellent books that I had enjoyed reading to my two daughters and listening to them reading the stories aloud to us. These were great opportunities to talk about American History and society.

I still get catalogues in the mail from them. In addition to buying clothes for the dolls you can buy matching clothes for the girls. That can be very expensive. However, it can also bring alive a period in American history for your child which is a very valuable learning experience. The cost of the doll, etc. can be useful in teaching your daughter how to take care of valuable property. Naturally, they should also have dolls and toys that they can treat more roughly, take outside and get dirty, etc.

American Girl Doll dressed for Santa Lucia

I had been the director of a Saint Lucia performance for over twenty years. In the American Girls’ book, “Kirsten’s Surprise”, Kirsten explains the Swedish Saint Lucia custom to her cousins, and they organize a Luciatag celebration. Over the years, many of the girls in my performance had a Kirsten doll, and we used these dolls in their Saint Lucia outfit or Swedish outfits to decorate our performance area. Occasionally, a girl would wear her Kirsten outfit as her costume.

Girl dressed in Kirsten Outfits for Santa Lucia

Hopefully, in four to six years, your daughter will start to enjoy reading the American Girls books and then will appreciate having one of the dolls to help bring the stories alive. I am happy to see that some entrepreneurs have taken the idea behind the American Girls dolls and come up with a less expensive alternative. I did know a number of my daughters’ friends who destroyed theirs and that was unfortunate.

I am hoping that in ten to twelve years when my granddaughter is old enough to enjoy them, that American Girls dolls (etc.) will still be available in the stores. However, I do know that both of my daughters have kept their dolls and the books in excellent condition. They each had two dolls and over the years, they acquired (for Christmas and birthdays) a collection of outfits and accessories. They enjoyed getting outfits for their dolls even while they were in high school.

The girls portrayed in the books are strong role models for a little girl. I was very glad to be able to include these books in their library. One of the dolls, Molly, had a father who was serving in Europe during World War II. One of Molly’s outfits included a flight jacket. The daughter who had this doll is now a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, having graduated from the Air Force Academy last May.

I don’t want to be a commercial for Mattel, but I am very glad to have been able to provide my daughters with these dolls and even more so, with the books.

-Ed Gawlinksi

Note: In the second photo above, the girls are in Swedish Costumes that their mothers made based on the one of the outfits worn by the Kirsten American Girl doll.

Many thanks to Ed Gawlinski for sharing his family’s experiences with the American Girl Dolls with us! -Lisa

UPDATE: If you’d like to read another point of view, you can read a later post called One More Word about American Girl Dolls!

This article was posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2008 at 7:07 pm and is filed under American Girl Books, American Girl Dolls, Books & Stories, Countries & Cultures, Dolls, Gift Ideas, Holidays Around the World, Me Dolls, Parenting, Recommendations, St. Lucia's Day, Sweden, Toys, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “American Girl Dolls and Santa Lucia”

  1. Lisa Says:

    That’s interesting. I think you’re right that the American Girl Dolls are better for girls who are a little older. I think it also is good for children to have a toy that’s special – that they have to take very good care of. It teaches kids about responsibility.

    That’s really neat about the characters in the American Girl Doll books being such strong role models. You must be very proud of your daughter!

  2. Doll Clothes Girl Says:

    We use our website to teach our daughter about finances as well as responsibility. We can help her understand how much she can get for her money when she spends a little time searching for options. American Girl is a great product and she has one that is very special to her. When she is a careful shopper she can expand her collection.

  3. laura Says:

    My personal experience with AG has not been a good one. I have loved those dolls ever since I was a kid and ended up getting a Kirsten for my nine year old. Her hair is terrible. American Girl will replace her with another Kirsten doll, but the hair will be the same quality which is very poor, especially considering what we paid for her. We can send her to have her hair styled for more money (how nice for them) or replaced, for about $40 (how very nice for them) or I can get a different doll. Well, she wanted Kirsten. We have Kirsten dresses and books, but the doll itself is just a really big disappointment. I will continue to speak out against AG until they take responsibility and discontinue this wig for Kirsten. Samantha’s wig is fine so I know they know how to do it. If you want a great doll for your daughter buy a Fisher Price “My Friend” doll off ebay. We paid all of $3 for ours and my daughter has put her in her Kirsten doll’s clothes while our $105 Kirsten sits on the closet floor. Again, I can’t express how angry and disappointed I am with American Girl. Fixing the problem will require getting rid of a doll my daughter loves or spending more money as if I haven’t payed enough already! What a scam!

  4. emily Says:

    American girl dolls are for more 10 to 13 girls because they can take good care of it. But I do not agree for the amount of money you have to pay for the chothes 32$ is just so much. And it is only a little piece of chloth that you don’t even use much. I have watched viodeos how kids treat their dolls. And the dolls hair is tangled and everything.Rebecca rubin looks so cool on the website but no she’s not. You should american girl dolls with easy hair. and furniture is like 100$ for a doll’s bed. YOu can buy your kids a bed with 100$ at ikea . And you can even buty a real crib for 50$ at ikea. I really like the dolls and I agree on the price on the dolls. But I don’t agree on the price for the chlothing and furniture the price for those is just crazy. If you are looking for somewhere to buy your american girl doll chlothes go to the doll chlothes superstore. they have chlothing for only 7$ that are really nice for your american girl doll. And you can also make the chlothing.

  5. Leigh Says:

    My daughter has never played with dolls, but when the other girls in our neighborhood started with American Girl Dolls, she decided she HAD to have one. Groan! So expensive! After a bit of research, however, we decided it was totally worth it. There really ARE no other dolls out there that teach good life lessons. Kathleen, age 7, was required to do chores to save up 1/2 of the cost of her doll.
    Now we’ve even started our own project making beds for her doll & the dolls in our neighborhood.
    Check us out at:
    And yes, that’s my cutie-pie on the home page!

  6. Loretta D. Boronat Says:

    My Sibling and My Pal girl and BOY dolls are reasonably priced, high quality 18″ dolls that come with a story booklet, and are a great alternative or companion to American Girl dolls. The clothing and accessories are made in the USA, and our program benefits teens and adults with developmental disabilities. My Pal dolls, ie My Pal for Going Green, My Pal for Peace, My Pal for Tennis, My Pal the Patriot, have booklets which address a broad range of topics that children can learn from and write their own stories about. My Sibling dolls come with a different type of booklets that contain stories of life lessons from the perspective of the typical sibling who has a brother or sister with a developmental disability.

  7. In the authenticity battle, who wins? Barbie vs Felicity Says:

    […] take before Mattel quashed the uniqueness of American Girl, driving out what was special and rather precious about that product and the organization that made it. I wasn’t optimistic about American […]

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