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Which Holiday Barbies are best?

Barbie dolls have been one of the most popular toys out there since they were first released in 1959. The options have diversified over the years, incorporating not only more body types and skin tones into the range of dolls but also more professions, outfits and styles.

The Holiday Barbie is a mainstay of the brand: a collectible Barbie in a holiday dress released each year. But Holiday Barbies aren’t just a popular toy during the holiday season. They’re also a popular commemorative item for serious collectors. A top Holiday Barbie is the 2021 Holiday Barbie, which comes in a stylish, sparkly silver dress in a collectible box. 

What to know before you buy a Holiday Barbie


Barbie was created by Ruth Handler in 1959 and was originally modeled directly after a German doll aimed at adults called Bild Lili. Handler recognized a gap in the market for an adult-bodied doll after watching her daughter play with her dolls, and the rest was history.

One of the most popular toys the world over, the cultural impact of Barbie can’t be overstated. Today, the dolls come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes than before to incorporate a diverse range of skin tones, hairstyles and body types so that all kids who play with Barbies can feel more represented by the dolls. 

Holiday Barbies

The very first Holiday Barbie was released in 1988, and Mattel has been releasing one a year since then and have developed into a holiday toy staple many look forward to each year. Holiday Barbies generally come with a holiday-inspired dress in one or two colorways in a collectible box. Jewelry or other decorative accessories are usually included. Holiday Barbies are designed to be displayed rather than played with, so they generally come with a permanently bent arm and less easily-removable jewelry. The 1988 Holiday Barbie was considered to be the first collectible Barbie released by Mattel.


Holiday Barbies released in the years between 1988, when the first one came out, and 1995 are seen as the most collectible, as they’re older and fewer mint editions still exist. There are also a few more recent Holiday Barbies that are highly collectible. These are generally ones that were released with limited edition colorways. For example, both of the 2005 and 2004 holiday barbies were both released with a second, additional colorway in smaller numbers. These Barbies with rare dress colors are highly collectible and often come at a higher cost. 

What to look for in a quality Holiday Barbie


Like all Barbies, Holiday Barbies come complete with a full outfit, including shoes and jewelry. Some Holiday Barbies also include more fantastic elements like stars, holly, snowflakes or ornaments. They do not come with additional accessories in-box, just the jewelry they’re wearing for display. Holiday Barbies also have fully styled hair.


Holiday Barbies usually come in just one dress colorway, but will sometimes come in two. They are usually available in at least two to three different skin tones and hair colors. As these are collectible items, there are usually fewer options than there are with many of the other Barbie models when it comes to shape and size. Expect the “traditional” Barbie silhouette when it comes to Holiday Barbies. 


Because Holiday Barbies are a yearly release, there’s an extensive back catalog of Holiday Barbies. Many serious collectors seek them out every year, but for those who just want a doll they like the look of, this means there are many options and dress styles. 

How much you can expect to spend on a Holiday Barbie

As a collectible item, Holiday Barbies come at a higher price than some other Barbies. Expect to spend between $30-$40 for the current year’s model, and between $20-$30 for recent models from previous years. Older Holiday Barbies, particularly those from before 1995, are collectible items and can fetch extremely high prices in the $200-$300 range.

Holiday Barbie FAQ

Are Holiday Barbies rare?

A. Most are not rare. There are some limited edition colors and years, but for the most part, these are mass-produced dolls and can be easily acquired. Older years’ models are a little harder to find, but more recent years can be purchased with ease. 

Can Holiday Barbies be played with?

A. Of course! Though they are collectors’ items aimed at older Barbie fans and accordingly have some details like styled hair and bent arms that may make them difficult to play with, Holiday Barbies are still toys. This means they can be played with like any other Barbie. 

What are the best Holiday Barbies to buy?

Top Holiday Barbie

2021 Holiday Barbie

2021 Holiday Barbie

What you need to know: This year’s Holiday Barbie is one of the hottest toys of the holiday season. She comes in an elegant silver dress with silver jewelry and shoes for a wintery look. 

What you’ll love: Her dress features delicate sculpted “gemstone” detailing on the bodice, and she comes with silver earrings and a bracelet. 

What you should consider: Some found the doll to be of poor quality for the price.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Holiday Barbie for the money

2020 Holiday Barbie

2020 Holiday Barbie

What you need to know: The 2020 Holiday Barbie wears a gold dress with sparkly gold detailing and dramatic jewelry and makeup. 

What you’ll love: Last year’s model comes at a more affordable price. The poofy gold dress has a great silhouette. 

What you should consider: Some reviewers said the hair was thinly rooted in the doll’s head.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

2017 Holiday Barbie

2017 Holiday Barbie

What you need to know: With a unique starburst accessory, this 2017 Holiday Barbie is the perfect display piece. 

What you’ll love: She has stylish accessories and a chic red dress for a dramatic look. The gold starburst piece that is molded from plastic adds flair to her look.

What you should consider: The fabric of the dress frays fairly easily, so she may not hold up as well to play.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Arabella Matthews writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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