The 1988 Happy Holiday Barbie is considered to be the first "Collectible Barbie", although it wasn't originally planned that way. The dolls rapidly sold out and almost immediately began to command big prices on the secondary market. Based on the popularity of that doll, Mattel realized there was a huge market for Barbie Dolls for adult collectors. This was the beginning of the "Barbie craze" that continued to grow, reached an absolute fevered pitch in the late 1990s (thanks to the advent of eBay). Unfortunately for many, the craze has died down since the early 2000s, but there are still many adult Barbie collectors.
This series was one of the most (if not the most) popular of all times. Many began their Barbie collection because of this series and many collected only this line. Many girls received a "Happy Holiday" Barbie each year for Christmas.