The Good: Generally good sculpts, Some neat accents, The 2014 Celebration Barbie is well balanced
The Bad: No flexibility, Obvious seams at arms, Weird fabric accents, The 2013 Barbie Celebration ornament is backheavy, EXPENSIVE!
The Basics: Rebooting the Barbie line at Hallmark is turning into an expensive proposition for fans as the 2015 Celebration Barbie Hallmark ornament set catches fans up . . . in a very mediocre way!
Happy Hallmark Ornament Preview Weekend!!!!! This day is one of my favorite days of the year: the day Hallmark Gold Crown stores open with the bulk of their year's new releases of decorative ornaments. Hallmark is excited this year because they got the license back from Mattel to produce Barbie-themed ornaments. In a franchise-wide initiative, many Hallmark Gold Crown Stores today had employees who dressed up as Barbie. So, at my ultimate - and favorite local! - Hallmark Gold Crown Store, I had the joy of evaluating this year's ornaments while surrounded by women in formal wear (and one in a cowgirl outfit, foreshadowing the December release ornament!). After having a thrilling political discussion with the store's owner, enjoying the atmosphere created by women who were working a hard day of retail work while in prom and wedding dresses, and buying the last of my July ornaments, I have returned to start posting reviews of some of the big genre ornaments of this year. First, though, I thought I'd join in the celebration of Barbie's return to Hallmark by reviewing the 2015 Celebration Barbie Ornament Set.
Alas, for all the excitement, Hallmark has produced a pair of incredibly average ornaments and milked the loyal collectors for more than their worth with the 2015 Barbie Celebration ornament set.
The 2015 Celebration Barbie ornament set recreates the 2013 AND 2014 Celebration Barbie dolls in ornament form, essentially catching collectors up with the two Barbie ornaments that went unproduced the years Hallmark did not have the license. The pair of ornaments sells together and was released as caucasian and black renditions of Barbie. This review is for the caucasian version of the character. The pair of ornaments was released with an original issue price of $40, which is more than the prior $17.95/ea. that the previous Celebration Barbie ornaments were released at. The pair is a decidedly mixed bunch of ornaments.
The 2013 Celebration Barbie is an ornament that features Barbie in a red dress with gold accents (I was impressed that one of the cashiers at my favorite Hallmark store had actually done a fair job of replicating the outfit!). The typical blonde Barbie in the red dress is 3 3/4" tall, 2 3/4" wide, and 3 1/4" deep. She is made almost exclusively of hard plastic, though she is accented surprisinhly well with a cloth ribbon around her waist and a gold cloth underdress that peaks out the front of the Celebration Barbie ornament. Unfortunately, the 2013 Celebration Barbie ornament has seams that are painfully noticeable at the shoulders, which makes fans disappointed when they are not movable there, like the doll's arms would be.
By contrast, the 2014 Celebration Barbie ornament has a silver-gray dress and the cloth element is a weird mesh that encircles Barbie's waist. One supposes this might be a fun frilly skirt or surprisingly quirky belt, but the execution of it (which is a LOT less filled out than the artwork on the box and promotional materials would have consumers believe!) makes it look like, perhaps, Barbie fell through a trampoline while on her prom night and managed to tear the trampoline apart, yet still is wearing it around. In other words, the mesh is thin and incongruent with the rest of the outfit. That said, the 2014 Celebration Barbie ornament is molded with a weird, but detailed, corsage on the shoulder of the dress and the blonde haid of that Barbie ornament has a pearlescent quality to it that would be the envy of every bleach blonde! The ornament's most impressive detail might well be the sparkling earring that peeks out from Barbie's hair on her left side.
As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Celebration Barbie ornaments could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but they do not. These are just the ornaments, with their incongruent fabirc elements accenting them. I've long thought that it was disappointing that the Celebration Barbie ornaments do not have any articulation to her limbs. With rebooting the line, fans are given consistency and fidelity to the past Barbie ornaments, rather than improvements with the new additions.
As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake 2015 Celebration Barbie ornament set is that the ornaments will be hung on a Christmas Tree. For those creating the ultimate Barbie Christmas Tree, the Celebration Barbie ornaments become a necessary pair to add to one's collection, if only to keep the set intact! Both ornaments have the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the character's head, though the results are different. The 2013 Celebration Barbie ornament is back-heavy, because of the train of her dress. That makes her pitch upward at a slight angle, dragged down as she is from the bottom, back of the ornament.
The 2014 Celebration Barbie ornament has good balance.
Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have branched out into every major franchise from Barbie to Gone With The Wind to The Hunger Games. The Celebration Barbie ornament set is selling fairly well, probably because fans missed the Barbie franchise for the past two years.
It is hard to declare this ornament a strong "buy" for investors, though. The initial price is stiflingly high and it is one of the priciest ornaments or ornament sets from Hallmark this year (certainly the most expensive set without a light or sound feature!). The initial high price makes it seem unlikely that it will appreciate much in value, especially as it seems to be fairly well-available in the marketplace.
The mixed quality and high initial price of the 2015 Barbie Celebration ornament set makes Barbie's return to Hallmark something of a mixed blessing. Die-hard fans will be thrilled Barbie is back; discriminating ornament collectors will find themselves wishing the new Barbie ornaments were of a higher quality to justify the return.
For other Barbie ornament reviews, please check out:
2012 Barbie Provencale
2012 Brava, Ballerina! Barbie
2012 Holiday Celebration Barbie (Black)
2012 Holiday Celebration Barbie (Caucasian)
2012 Matinee Fashion Barbie - Final In The Series!
2012 Tweed Indeed Barbie
2011 Celebration Barbie (Black)
2011 Campus Sweetheart Barbie
2011 Prima Ballerina Barbie ornament
1996 Enchanted Evening Barbie ornament
1995 Barbie Debut (Brunette) - Club Exclusive
1994 Barbie Debut ornament
For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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