If you’re just starting to think about Christmas décor themes … surprise, you’re behind the trend. Pinterest said that while people on their site usually step up their holiday planning in September, this year saw a big increase starting in April, during the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders.
But no need to worry.
“The closest we can get to ‘normal’ are these holidays,” said Tom Mirabile, the principal and founder of home industry insights company Springboard Futures. “We’re in a state of ‘re-‘ — reimagine, reinvent, rediscover.”
As far as color, look for décor themes featuring red or green, instead of a mix of the two most traditional holiday colors together.
“This could be monochromatic, just reds or just greens, or making it white and red or white and green,” said Michelle Lamb, the editorial director of The Trend Curve, a home furnishings newsletter. The greens are “definitely on the cool side (but) not blue enough to be a teal. Think sage and other soft greens, the ones found in nature.”
As for other colors, the emphasis is on intense and eye-catching mood-lifters. “Brights are big,” Lamb said. “It’s not just primary brights, it’s more color that is a little bit edgy. That means right on the border between bright color and neon.”
One thing is certain: There are elements in all the 2020 Christmas décor trends that can be linked to this unique place in time.
This year of years
“Christmas is a layered holiday,” Mirabile said. “You bring out what you have collected over the years. It’s like a time capsule. Then you introduce new elements that become part of the collection.”
What will 2020’s contribution be to the time capsule? Although keepsake and collectible ornaments have long been on the scene, the 2020 editions will stand out as much as this year has, with pandemic-themed ornaments, figures and more, trend watchers said. For example, Raz Imports’ “Healthcare Heroes” collection, which benefits the American Red Cross, salutes doctors, nurses and other medical personnel with gingerbread first responders, medical-themed Santa and elves, and even an illuminated gingerbread hospital for display.
“This is going to be something that people hold onto. It will be the Christmas they talk about for decades to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, like, ‘Remember that holiday during a global pandemic?’”said Lenise Willis, editor in chief at Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine, in a video report that Mirabile helped produce about seasonal and holiday trends at International Market Centers’ Atlanta Market.
For those who want to take a more humorous approach, the Ornament Shop’s pandemic-related offerings include tree danglers like toilet paper stacked in the shape of a Christmas tree, hand sanitizer, personalized pandemic masks and even a Dr. Anthony Fauci figure.
The pandemic shutdown has also driven what trend watchers describe as a move toward more handmade, homespun décor or the “Etsy-fication” of the holidays.
“People are really looking for something that we call the ‘mark of the maker’ — that means that you can tell it’s handcrafted,” Lamb said. “It’s almost as though a whole new group of people got introduced to making things at home.”
Mirabile added, “Even products that are made of synthetic materials, the objective is the look of things that were crafted.”
As Etsy itself explains it, the move toward the homemade look is an offshoot of the “Cottagecore” movement embraced during the pandemic, with people turning to the time before technology by pursuing simpler pleasures like crafting and baking. This builds an appreciation for the works of others and gives them a chance to show off their newfound skills. Etsy reported increases in searches for crochet, knit and embroidered ornaments and holiday quilts.
Retro a go-go
The “mid-mod merry” trend, as Lamb called it, is tied to the larger midcentury-modern furniture and décor aesthetic, and introduces new colors like turquoise and even a bit of pink to freshen the palette. “Think about how many mid-mod furnishings are out there and you can see right away that it makes sense to do Christmas … matching with that. This is a perfect fit for so many homes.”
She said it has the added benefit of evoking the “tremendous prosperity and innocence” of the post-war years, the late 1940s and ’50s, as an antidote to this year.
“Consumers want some assurances after what they’ve been through, that we’ve been through hard times before and made it through, those feelings of security,” Lamb said.
Raz Imports goes all-in on mid-mod merry with bright-colored decorations with distinctive shapes, like ovals, teardrops and starbursts, as well as retro TV ornaments and figures, some of which are animated and play Christmas songs. Grandin Road has an ornament assortment with the right colors and shapes for the motif as well.
Nostalgic elements as a trend this season are not limited to the midcentury-modern aesthetic, of course. Etsy said “vintage holiday” in general is resonating among shoppers, and pointed to items like retro Santas, big bulb lights and peppermint stripes as popular choices.
Keeping with tradition
“When life gets wobbly, we always return to tradition,” Lamb said. “Icons we know, things that feel familiar, these are almost like looks that can put their arms around you.”
In particular, the citrus elements of long-ago holiday décor are coming back in style, according to Etsy, which noted a search increase of 126 percent for “citrus décor” in the last few months compared with last year. The use of oranges, clementines and similar fruit in wreaths and displays, as well as a motif in tableware and tablecloths, goes right alongside the bright color — lemon brights — and natural elements trends.
Natural selections and sustainable solutions
Expect to see the calming effect of nature called upon in holiday decorations this year. Etsy predicted raw wood, dried foliage and fresh greenery to be commonplace, and the trendwatchers noted woven materials, such as wicker and cane webbing, also are part of the look.
Lastly, on Etsy, there’s been a big leap in searches for eco-friendly gift wrap as part of what it called the greener gifting trend, with choices like fabric wraps, wooden tags and twine.
“Sustainability is about longevity,” Mirabile said. “It’s about not having to buy and buy and buy.”