Natural hair Black Holiday Barbie gets a nod, packaging disappointing
Holiday Barbie 2018
People are complaining that the quality of Barbie Holidays Dolls is declining annually, but this year they have pulled a trick out the hat, celebrating 30 years with a natural hair African American doll.
On Barbie.Mattel.com, the Holiday Barbie 2018 comes with this product description:
"For 30 years the Holiday Barbie doll has created a long-lasting legacy of imagination and celebration. On her 30th anniversary, she wears a beautiful red gown reminiscent of the dress worn by the first Holiday Barbie. It has off the shoulder cap sleeves, multi-tiered layers throughout the bodice and gown, accented with a delicate bow at the waist. Styled in a trendy afro, her brown hair is framed with glowing highlights that complement her deep brown eyes. Sophisticated accessories — a headband, necklace and bracelet feature 30 “pearls” to celebrate the occasion and add the finishing touches."
The doll was designed by Carlyle Nuera.
Many of the collectors and the parents/guardians who bought the doll for their children or nieces or other young loved ones seem to be happy with the natural hair decision but beyond that, the reviews aren't the best. Many people had issues with the packaging and execution.
Here is some of what some people had to say:
This Holiday Nikki Barbie is more than just a darling doll—it's absolutely one of a kind! This special edition doll only comes out once a year, so it's a 2018 limited edition. She comes adorned with beautiful jewellery including a necklace, bracelet and crown. Her hair is authentic just like a real African American woman's hair which is rare to find. Her nails are red—how fun! Lastly, she is wearing this amazing red tulle dress that could be straight off the runway by Giambattista Valli. Although I received this product at a discounted price in return for my unbiased review, I highly would recommend my friends and family to purchase this for a birthday or holiday gift. (Panda on Walmart)
All of the positive reviews on this doll are from "top reviewers" and people that received the doll as a free product. However, as someone who bought the doll myself online, I am disappointed. These dolls were something I looked forward to every year, and I was excited to receive the doll with natural hair. Sadly, when she arrived her hair was messy, the necklace was cheap and the dress ripped as I placed her on the stand. The box was bent, making opening it a disaster. Now I understand the box is not to the fault of Mattel, but the doll itself is. (Anonymous reviewer on Walmart)
Compare this doll to the one from 2010. These dolls have been going downhill in their overall design, quality, and packaging. I'm glad they went for a more diverse hairstyle, but the necklace is tacky and cheap, and the dress looks like a Christmas peacock on steroids. I'm disappointed. It's almost as though the holiday dolls are an afterthought.
EzrraGrey on Walmart
I have been collecting these holiday barbies for as long as I can remember. This tradition is something I look forward to yearly. I'm genuinely disappointed in the execution. The box is very simple and poorly done, and her afro is not well held together and very messy. I am happy that the doll has natural hair but I would appreciate it better if it was well executed. If Barbie keeps on treating the holiday dolls like a bottom of the list priority. I will no longer be a customer.
AnnaB123 on Walmart
I received this product a week ago. She is absolutely beautiful. The holiday Barbie is an iconic Barbie. But this one is a step above. Why? Because she has a natural hair style that you don’t see on many dolls. She has something that a little girl can look at and think “she has hair just like me”. I think she will be a big hit for any little girl.
Luna81 on Barbie.mattel.com
I LIKE HER FACE AND HAIR. THE OUTFIT IS NOT A WOW FACTOR FOR ME. GOING DOWN HILL WITH THE HOLIDAY BARBIES
Shontah on Barbie.mattel.com NB: She receieved free product
I love her face, hair and the gown after seeing IRL photos from the convention. I may remove the necklace, though.
Romona on Barbie.mattel.com
My favorite of the holiday Barbie line. First time with a natural Afro, very pretty.
Rob Thompson on Amazon
Beautiful African Barbie. Hair is fantastic and finally natural
M.Oxley on Amazon
Beautiful doll but the box was crushed
Lady Love on Amazon
This is my favourite Holiday Barbie doll ever, (although my favourite gown was the one from 2009)!
Stephen Sumner on Amazon
Overall, across the three sites Loop checked, the new Nikki Doll got 4.5 out of 5. It goes for approximately $40 USD, with one site going as low as $37 USD.
Editor's Note: This is not the first Black/African American Holiday Barbie, just the first with natural hair.