For a video game with five titles, three spinoffs, and over 11 million players, the Animal Crossing Nintendo franchise has surprisingly slim merch offerings. Officially licensed merchandise is limited to a handful of plushies and uninspiring T-shirts, most of which sell out in a matter of hours. And while there are finally some satisfying (and still-in-stock) options at Target and Urban Outfitters, the game’s fans (myself included) have taken our search for merch elsewhere, sifting through Etsy page after Etsy page of homemade key chains and D.I.Y. embroideries.
But not all Animal Crossing merch — especially handmade Animal Crossing merch — is created equal. So to help you find the best — from actually tasteful tees to fan-inspired figurines (that don’t look too crafty) — we talked to several of the biggest Animal Crossing fans we know for their favorite official and unofficial merchandise. And even if you’re not in the merch market yourself, we think any of our finds would make a very thoughtful holiday gift for the gamer in your life.
Decor and Doodads
For the fan whose merch taste skews minimalist, this unassuming apple plushie could easily be passed off as fall décor.
A little more practical than a plushie, gamer Woodsy, the primary data miner for the Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp community on Reddit, likes this limited-edition journal, which he says is “nice for recording your activities” and making island-chore checklists, thanks to its “clean layout.”
A personalized Animal Crossing mug would make a “perfect” gift for any player “who takes pride in their island,” says Sarah Cwynar, who runs the Animal Crossing inspiration account @crossinginspiration on Instagram. The fruit, grass pattern, and town name can all be customized, too.
And for those drinking on the go, gamer and YouTuber Erika Paige pointed us to this New Horizons–edition water bottle from Target. “I think the design of Tom Nook’s face on this water bottle is so cute yet understated,” says Paige, “and the symbolic Animal Crossing: New Horizons mint-green color on this water bottle is a really nice touch.”
Two Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans we spoke to recommended the Animal Crossing-edition PowerA controllers for Nintendo Switch. Woodsy, who uses the wireless version, assures us that they’re “high quality, responsive, and durable controllers that are really a must for non-Joy-Con gaming,” while Alex Byrd, who runs the Animal Crossing-themed YouTube channel Lex Play, told us she’s a “big fan” of the wired version. “It features some cute villagers and calming, soft hues. It’s perfect for Switch gaming, but it can also be used with other USB-compatible devices and with PC games,” she says. “Definitely a lifesaver if you’re waiting for your Joy-Cons to charge.”
For serious players, Woodsy “really recommends” this New Horizons companion guide. “It’s extremely, thoroughly researched and is beautifully printed. It’s enormous and includes images of everything you could conceivably need, including interiors for every single villager — great for planning out which neighbors you want,” he says.
And for when you’re not playing Animal Crossing, here’s a New Horizons–themed carrying case to protect your Nintendo Switch Lite.
I own two of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing amiibo figurines: Celeste and her brother, Blathers. Not only do they make for some cute, inexpensive bookshelf décor, they can also be used during gameplay with amiibo-compatible Animal Crossing titles, including New Leaf, Amiibo Festival, and New Horizons.
It wouldn’t be 2020 if some Animal Crossing–inspired face masks didn’t made the list. “I love the design of these masks,” says Cwynar. She likes that they’re 100 percent cotton, come in different sizes, and are offered in six different AC-themed designs.
New Horizons players will instantly recognize the graphic on this tee, which comes recommended by Brooklyn-based artist and avid Animal Crossing player Annie Narrigan. “It’s always an unexpected joy to get merch in the mail from Wilbur and Orville, the Dodo brothers,” she says. “So it’s even more exciting to see someone making some of that merch real.”