When this uncle feels like he messed up on his niece's birthday, he asks Reddit:
I (22M) have a niece (7F) who just had a birthday. She's been wanting an American Girl Doll for ages, and if you know anyone who's been a little girl in the past forever, you know what those things cost.
She has a ton of the books, and pretty much talks about them nonstop, which is how I discovered all her favorites, what she likes about them, and basics on what all the characters enjoy in general.
I decided that for her birthday, she deserved to get one. I saved up for a bit, and was planning to get her Julie, because her actual favorite, Kirsten, isn't made anymore. But, right before I ordered the doll, I decided to check out ebay and see if there were any of Kirsten that I could get secondhand.
There were. For way less. With what I had saved, I realized pretty quickly that I would be able to get multiple of these dolls that she loves so much, and make a project out of it. I like fixing stuff up. I ended up getting really into the idea of making all her favorites, and ended up scouring the internet for them.
I got her six of them. Two were in pretty bad condition when I got my hands on them, but I put in the work, and they ended up looking pretty good.
They don't all have their original outfits, but they all have something the doll was supposed to wear except for Singing Bird, who is Kirsten's best friend but doesn't have a doll, so I had to kind of make her to the best of my ability.
I also put together some stuff for each of the dolls to "come with" based on what my niece told me about the stories. I thought I was the greatest uncle to ever live at this point.
The birthday came, and when I put the packages out for my niece, my sister immediately noticed they were the wrong shape, and that there were way more of them than expected.
She asked what happened to the American Girl doll. I explained that there were in fact American Girl dolls in all the packages, that I realized how easy it was to get them secondhand and fixed up six old ones instead.
My sister then got very upset, and accused me of not respecting her daughter or thinking she deserved something new. She said she should never have let her little brother (me) be in charge of something so important to a girl, and that her daughter deserved the full experience of opening the box. I don't get it. What kid cares about the box a toy comes in?
Everyone went home before my niece opened anything, so I don't know exactly how she reacted, but I do know that she seems to love the dolls.
My sister has told me that I'm banned from DIYing gifts for her daughter ever again, and that next time just get something new that will actually belong to her instead of someone else's "castoffs." AITA?
NTA. While I have no idea what an American Girl Doll costs, what you did was priceless. DIY gifts mean much more than just handing over your card to someone for a gift.
You put in a lot of work for these gifts and it could have meant a lot to your niece. Your sister is teaching her to be an entitled princess who will only appreciate shiny baubles and things with a high price tag instead of things that are a result of love and effort. That's a real shame.
NTA - But I'm sorry for you that your sister is. I'm sure you niece doesn't know the difference. All she knows is that her uncle got her 6 American Girl Dolls! And I'm sure that she was overjoyed by this.
Your sister's problem is that she's an asshole who wanted her kid not to play with the doll but instead save it as a collectible. I think that you are a great uncle, not only did you spend your money on exactly what she wanted but you got her 6 different kinds but you put a lot of time and effort into this as well.
NTA, your nice loved them. That's all that matters. Your sister is acting incredibly entitled. You put hard work into restoring and making the dolls!