Christmas with Barbie: Dazzling tree at Sprankles Neighborhood Market shows off long-held collection
Forget about the price check on aisle two.
Customers have been checking out the rotating Barbie holiday tree display at Sprankles Neighborhood Market in Leechburg — new this year.
Lindsay Sprankle of Allegheny Township solicited the help of husband Doug, the store's owner, in moving her Barbie tree from their home to the storefront window area.
The white rotating tree features more than 150 ornaments from Lindsay's personal collection, including Barbie dressed in attire from the 1940s, '50s and '60s.
The first Barbie doll appeared on March 9, 1959, debuting at the American Toy Fair in New York City.
Doug Sprankle constructed a Lexon clear case to house the tree and protect it and the fragile ornaments from harm.
“We wanted to share our Christmas tradition with the community,” Lindsay Sprankle says. “We were going with a ‘wow' factor this year displaying the tree in the store.”
She started collecting Barbies at age 3 when her grandfather presented her with her first Barbie — a sparkling pink formally dressed 1989 Holiday Barbie, still in its original box.
“My grandfather was a collector of many things and wanted me to have a collection to look back on,” Lindsay Sprankle says.
The Sprankle Barbie collection contains hundreds of Barbies and is valued in “the thousands,” she says.
Customers can view Barbie dressed in just about everything from Asian attire, wedding Barbie, retro Barbie, Marilyn Monroe Barbie, big-haired '80s Barbie — it's all on display and customers are enjoying the whimsical departure from a traditional Christmas tree usually displayed at Sprankles.
“Customers seem to love it. They are really interested in it. They're liking that it's something different for the holidays — it's something new,” says Sprankle's employee Kendra Lutheran.
“Each one is more beautiful than the next — the dresses, the accessories, the fur. They are just classy dresses,” Lindsay Sprankle says.
Sprankle, a licensed occupational therapist, says Barbie has it all — the perfect outfit for every occasion and she is independent.
“Every little girl can live vicariously though her,” she says. “Whether by her occupation, fashion style or props.”
“It's amazing,” says customer Neva Antrim of Leechburg, while pausing to view the ornaments after a recent shopping excursion. “I played with Barbies and my daughters and granddaughters did, too.”
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.