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“Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a Homeless Doll!”

“Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a Homeless Doll!”

….I’m sorry, what? Yes, that’s right, little girls around the country may be putting Gwen “The Homeless Doll”—the latest addition to the American Girl doll collection—on their wish list this holiday season. ‘Tis the season for controversy!

For those of you who are not familiar with American Girl dolls, let me give you some background. Since 1986, American Girl dolls have been a staple in playrooms across the country. In the beginning there were only four dolls but, since then, the collection has expanded exponentially. The “hook” is that each American Girl doll has her own story, style, time period and collection of outfits/accessories. From curly to freckled to Victorian era to the 1940’s…there’s a doll for everyone and everything. And now, with the arrival of Gwen, there’s even a doll to symbolize homeless children.

With a price tag of $95.00, American Girl dolls are hardly economical—and they’re not even porcelain, they’re plastic! Isn’t it ironic (cue Alanis Morissette) to pay $95.00 for a doll whose goal is to teach little girls about the harsh reality of children living in shelters and on the streets? Instead of buying a $95.00 doll for your child, how about bringing her to a children’s shelter, donating the money and illustrating the problem firsthand? Critics feel that adding a homeless doll to a little girl’s toy collection desensitizes the real issue of children without families in the United States, while some feel that Gwen is an excellent way to teach children about the less fortunate. My suggestion is that American Girl should donate a portion of the proceeds of this doll to a children’s shelter or homeless juvenile organization. It might help some parents, who are on the fence, justify their purchase.

While Gwen is a limited-edition doll and will only be available for a few more months, it has still caused quite a stir. Who knew a doll could spark such an ethical debate? Let me know what you think—pro or con homeless Gwen?

Posted by Alyssa