These American Girl gifts and memorabilia of the beloved historical characters are nostalgic “must haves” for fans of the original dolls and books.
I grew up in the earliest days of the Pleasant Company, when only Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly existed. They played such a formative experience in making learning fun for me. Not only could I learn American history through the eyes of a girl my age, but I could also play with her and her accessories in doll and toy format.
There was arguably nothing more exciting than the day a new American Girl catalog came in the mail! Before the internet, THIS was how we shopped for the most coveted items we craved. And, from an aesthetic standpoint, Pleasant Valley nailed every last detail. I think this attention to detail plays a big role in why the original historic characters remain so popular today.
Over the past few years in particular I’ve gotten back into collecting American Girl goodies, both vintage and new, and I know I’m not the only one. When accessory retailer Stoney Clover Lane launched a collaborative collection of bags and patches inspired by the historic characters in 2021, they sold out in mere minutes. And, every time I share one of my finds on social media, it garners a lot of feedback and sales.
So, I decided to put together this American Girl gift guide geared towards women in their 30s-40s, who grew up with these books and dolls and love the nostalgia they inspire. Shop them as gifts for Christmas or a birthday for someone you love or yourself!
To be clear, I’m focusing on the earlier American Girl historic dolls women today grew up with:
- Kirsten Larson
- Samantha Parkington
- Molly McIntire
- Felicity Merriman
- Addy Walker
- Josefina Montoya
American Girl Gifts and Merch
Let’s talk about American Girl gifts and merch, both old (vintage) and new! First I describe my picks then share shoppable pictures of them.
First and foremost, you need to check out the swoonworthy Stoney Clover Lane collaboration! These bags and accessories come in prints reminiscent of each historical character, and you can get stick-on patches to match them too. I purchased Molly’s tote, clutch, and patch myself (pictured above). These were such a massive hit when they were released! You can still shop them on American Girl and resale sites like eBay.
Next, I recommend American Girl cross-stitch patterns from Etsy. You can stitch the dolls (popular with readers) and/or “I’m a Samantha.” I shared these recently on social media, and SO many readers picked them up! You are my people.
For something small and fun, I also love these Etsy American Girl doll bookmarks (I actually have similar bookmarks from this seller), and these American Girl illustrated silhouette stickers, which feel true to the nostalgia of the series.
Lastly, I love the idea of a simple gold heart locket, which is inspired by Molly, and even Samantha. It’s extremely subtle, yet so wearable.
Shop this American Girl merchandise below:
Vintage American Girl gifts are where it really gets fun, in my humble opinion. The best places to search for actual American Girl merchandise of the 80s and 90s are Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.
I had completely forgotten some of this stuff existed and, of course, I’ve had fun buying it all back.
eBay has a lot of American Girl Hallmark ornaments. I have Molly so far, and I love it! (Pictured at the top of this article.) I plan on adding more next year.
I also scored an American Girl postcard! (Pictured at the top of this article.) I purchased one of Molly reading that I framed and placed in my reading room.
On eBay and Amazon, you can also find American Girl Craft Books, Cookbooks, and stationery sets inspired by each historic “Girl.” I used all of these as a child and love that you can play with them again as an adult. They would work especially well at a birthday party.
Dolls of Our Lives is a non-fiction book that feels like a stroll down memory lane, tapping deep into the nostalgia of the early days of the Pleasant Valley Company and the American Girl dolls and books. Readers get the company’s history, fan stories, and oodles of pop culture references. To elder millennials like me, it feels like reminiscing with old friends.
Last, but definitely not least, collect the original American Girl book sets! I knew I wouldn’t walk away from curating this article without buying something, and the Samantha book set is currently sitting in my cart.
Shop this American Girl merchandise below:
Those are all the most nostalgic American Girl gifts and merchandise for original super fans.