Barbie Magic Then & Now

When I was a little girl I had at least 30 Barbie dolls (give or take a few Kens), plus the corvette and the tricked-out camper van thing and, of course, the Dreamhouse. Oh, the Dreamhouse! While my older sister played “house” with her baby dolls, I’d be throwing elaborate dinner parties for Barbie and Ken and all their fabulous friends. I was the biggest Barbie fan I knew.

So when my 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter (right) expressed an interest in the classic dolls I was totally cool with it. She’s gotten a few as gifts in the past but the brand-new Holiday Barbie is her first collectable (“We definitely have to save the box, mom!” she declared) and certainly the most glamourous. My daughter isn’t a girlie girl but she does love to deck herself out for special occasions (and parade around in my heels) so Barbie’s red stilettos, red manicure, “big, poofy” dress (in her words), and gold chunky necklace are right up her alley. Man, would Holiday Barbie have been a hit at one of my Dreamhouse soirees.



Watching my daughter play brought me back to my Barbie days so I dug up a big box of them from my parents’ basement (thanks for never throwing anything out, Mom!) and introduced her to some of my old friends. A few of the dolls had seen better days (e.g. one was missing a limb) and they needed clothes—stat!—but they held up well considering they were on hiatus for nearly 30 years. And Holiday Barbie loved having an entourage.


We had to invite my niece over to join in on the fun. Of course both girls preferred Holiday Barbie to my 80s-era dolls with their slightly-outdated clothes and major bed head, but they threw a ball for Barbie (my 3-year-old niece kept referring to it as a “ballgame”) and everyone had, well, a ball. And since Holiday Barbie comes with a stand, she could really hold court.


Photos: Erin Zammett Ruddy

*This post is sponsored by Mattel.