The Most Popular Girl This Holiday Season

There’s only one doll my 7-year-old daughter wants for Christmas: McKenna, the determined gymnast who’s American Girl’s 2012 Girl of the Year. On a sunny December day, I took a walk from Parents’ midtown office to the Fifth Avenue flagship store, and weaved my way past groups of mothers and grandmothers, and adorable little girls in white tights and black patent-leather Mary Janes, clutching their Rebeccas, their Julies, and their Carolines to their pretty coats.

I asked a clerk stacking red boxes where I could find McKenna.

“That’s the question of the day,” he said. “She’s sold out.” Uh-oh.

Back at my desk, I called American Girl’s catalogue number and a customer-service rep confirmed the news: “McKenna is completely sold out, in stores, online, and in the catalogue.”

This isn’t the first time a Girl of the Year doll has vanished from shelves before the holiday season’s end (note to self: heed the fine print that items are available “while supplies last”). But the folks at American Girl headquarters tell me that McKenna was an especially popular doll, thanks to the boost she got from the Summer Olympic Games, a hit DVD movie, and even the appealing “playability” of her long locks.

So what’s a parent of a girl with her heart set on McKenna to do? AG has a lookalike doll, from its “My American Girl” line, also with bright blue eyes and long caramel-colored hair, if you think your child would go for a substitute. I checked out the doll (product code: F1251), and she could indeed be McKenna’s twin.

Also sold out are most of McKenna’s accoutrements, from her floor-beam-and-bar set to her goldendoodle Cooper. Unlike the doll, you can backorder many of these, though you’ll need to wait. American Girl’s providing frustrated customers who call (800-360-1861) with substitute suggestions for these hot McKenna items as well. I was denied McKenna’s cast and crutches, but I think my daughter will be pleased with a very similar set I spotted in the store.

If substitutes just won’t do, this might help: American Girl will be unveiling its 2013 Girl of the Year on December 28th. I’m not allowed to say who she is, but if your girl’s got a creative streak and loves art, this one’s bound to please.

As for what I did about McKenna: My story has a happy ending. My Christmas wasn’t saved by Santa but by—what else?—eBay.

Image via American Girl

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