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12/12/05 - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that by 2003, the value of gifts of education, health and money well outweighed gifts of apparel, home goods and jewelry. Annette McEvoy calls it "the gift shift." "It's a shift from tangibles to intangibles, including experiences, services, health care and do-gooding," says McEvoy, consultant to specialty retailers. "Cash and gift cards are the largest gift category these days, and 10 years ago it wasn't even monitored." The surge in this sort of gifting, she says, is the result of Americans' never-ending quest for convenience, coupled with a breakdown of the old idea that giving cash gifts is tacky. "Convenience trumps a lot, especially at holiday time when the female head of household has a lot extra to do."
"There's no space left for all our stuff," says gift guru Alison Deyette. "Gift cards used to be declasse; nowadays, they're the right answer. If it seems impersonal, then personalize it - like putting a gift card for Blockbuster in a mini cooler with snacks and candy."
- Charity gifts: Online shopping malls for charity gifts. You buy a gift card in someone's name, the site notifies them, and the recipient can choose from tens of thousands of registered non-profits to make the donation. "It's a brilliant idea - everyone is a hero," says McEvoy.
- Experiential gifts: One of the strongest growth trends in the gift market, topping more than $250 billion a year, according to marketing trackers. Send your loved one on a hot-air balloon ride or lessons in gourmet cooking, race-car driving or the flying trapeze. Another idea is to give your folks a vacation - a cruise, a weekend in Las Vegas or a whitewater rafting trip.
- Health care services.
- Consumable gifts.
- Education gifts.
- Audio gifts.
- Practical gifts: Consider a gift card for gasoline - McEvoy says the wealthy are buying their kids cards with up to $1,000 worth of gas.
Flipped Christmas Tree Fad is Taking Root
11/28/05 - It's the latest fad in holiday decor - This is the latest way to display your Christmas tree: hang it from the ceiling, or mount it, bottoms-up. Retailers of upside-down trees say it's really taking off, and it's a great way to save floor space. Don't expect any Christmas tree farms to carry them, since they don't grow that way. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $600 for one of the trees, which come prelit.
In Star Decorators Warehouse's showroom, an upside-down version - standing on a weighted base to prevent leaning - is drenched in garland and over-sized ornaments. Sometimes the trees hang from a ceiling, like an evergreen chandelier. Already down one dozen, the warehouse expects to unload its entire inventory of three dozen in time for Christmas. At Target.com, a $399 pre-lit wall upside-down tree was sold out. Hammacher Schlemmer, a high-end apparel and accessory retailer based in New York, has also sold out of its upside-down trees.
But what would Santa think ?
"This is not the typical tree, but if you want to wow people, this is a wow kind of tree," said Patrick Hopper, merchandising and floral design specialist for Star Decorators Warehouse. However, you won't find the trees at your neighborhood Michael's or Hobby Lobby. While retailers sell fake upside-down trees, some are going to give it a whirl with a real pine. Peter "Treeman" Jenkins, a certified arborist, said upside-down trees go against nature, and would require special steps - like bending the branches and misting the trees with water - to prevent them from drying up and returning to their natural shapes. "Very, very strange," said Jenkins about the trend.
The flipping of the tree started a few years ago in high-end shops and antique stores to sell pricey ornaments - the upside down trees gave better view to the ornaments and saved floor space.
11/28/05 - Retailers report this year's hot Christmas decorative items are personal. Anne Koehler, merchandise manager of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, said one of this year's biggest Christmas trends is personalized decorations or ornaments created for an individual's interests and personality. "The more personal you can make the ornament, that seems to be what is selling,' she said. There are personalized ornaments for accountants, field-hockey players and in memory of a beloved family pet. Individualized stockings and Santa hats also are popular at Bronner's, which bills itself as the world's largest Christmas store.
Fashionable Floral Trends in Holiday Decorating
11/16/05 - Do you like the straight clean lines that define contemporary minimalist taste? Or are you into flash and glamour? Or maybe you favor rich, sumptuous, luxurious textures and colors?
FTD Master Floral Designer Keith White, AIFD, defines the latest in-vogue color palettes and provides the following suggestions for incorporating them into holiday decorating that celebrates the season with style and grace.
So out with Santa Red. Goodbye to Kelly Green. And welcome to modern elegance!
**Color Trend: Rosehip
**Holiday Creation: Floral Wreath
This palette is rich in patinas with an analogous color harmony of earth tones in deep mahogany, terra-cotta, clay, carnelian red, rose shades and copper accents. These colors, along with the textures of the suggested flowers, are perfect for a stylish holiday wreath.
Create or purchase a wreath made from willows, vines, birch and natural twigs, be sure it is loosely woven with natural openings to allow for insertion of fresh floral materials and accent pieces. Next, purchase floral materials, which include rosehips (available now through December), Hypericum in red, brown or peach (a great substitute for the short-lived, prickly and poisonous Holly Berry) and other long-lasting proteaceous materials like Leucadendron and Leucospermum (pin cushion). Jester, a burgundy Leucodendron with pink shading, or the bright orange Sun Burst Leucospermum.
Accents can be copper-colored ribbon or strips of leather. For even more of a seasonal twist, add pine cones or use the copper ribbon to tie on several small and decorative ornaments.
**Color Trend: Hydroponics
**Holiday Creation: Floral Hostess Gifts / Parting Favors
The cool, clean shades of green, lilac ash and illusion blue that dominate this palette best complement a sleek, elegant hostess gift of easy-to-assemble handmade cones filled with fragrant blossoms and spa items to emphasize health and well-being during the holidays.
At your local craft store, purchase stiff, handmade papers by the sheet and silver wire wrap. Then select baby's breath and evergreen branches. Next, dried lavender and rosemary. Also buy small packets of bath salts.
-- Snow Cone
- Lay the paper on a flat surface and place the packets of bath salts upon the paper.
- Carefully roll the paper into a cone shape, with the bath salts in the lower part of the cone.
- Now take the Baby's Breath and group it together very tightly into an ice cream cone shape, and insert it into the top of the cone.
- Wrap the silver wire around the entire cone to hold the structure together.
- Finish it off by attaching a Christmas ornament with more of the silver wire.
-- Sachet Cone
For the Sachet Cone, repeat the steps above but use the dried lavender in place of the bath salts, and the rosemary and evergreen in place of the baby's breath.
**Color Trend: Gatherings
**Holiday Creation: Table Decor
This palette works brilliantly for collectors possessing a variety of precious heirlooms combined with eclectic flea market finds and travel souvenirs. Its midrange medley of earth tones like soft pink, rustic brown and artichoke green exude a vintage feel.
For table decor in your entryway, dining table or side tables gather a combination of collectables like vintage ornaments and small pottery vases and juxtapose them with pieces in Asian motifs, delicate china patterns and assorted candle sticks with beeswax candles. Artfully arrange the collection upon the table for a great conversation of life's experiences.
Choose flowers to accent this vintage collection: Roses, Hydrangeas and Ranunculus, to name a few. More specifically, opt for the Sahara Rose, a bi-color with its antique linen and pink appearance or the Super Green Rose, which opens to resemble a tiny cabbage or Brussel sprout. And any of the antique blues and pinks available in wintertime Hydrangea selections would also be appropriate. When choosing the Ranunculus, stick to the pink and peach tones. And if you really want to make a statement, the King Protea works with this palette as well.
Fill some of the collectables with water and use as containers for your fresh flowers; some of the floral materials can also be arranged around your pieces to accent your personal treasures.
Big, Bold, and Mini
* Color: Deep jewel tones of purple, teal, red and peridot green, accented by gold and copper.
* Big, bold ornaments : Big enough for outdoors, but meant for indoors. Add just a few, or go even bigger !
* Mini-Trees : Kitschy fun in metallics, white, pinks, and purples.
* Flights of Fancy : Cherubs and angels, butterflies, dragonflies and fairies
Christopher Radko's 2005 Holiday Trends and Tips
Nostalgia : Nostalgia for Christmas past is a cross-generational trend this year. Mature consumers are seeking old-world decorations, while younger consumers are nostalgic for their memories of childhood with simpler shades and bright bold colors. Consumers can create a retro look in their homes with accent colors reminiscent of the 1970's such as avocado, berry, cinnamon, wine and teal blue, as well as silver foil trees, flocked trees in white, pink or blue, color wheels and larger light bulbs on lights strings.
Family Diary : More than ever, the Christmas tree has become a family history that has taken on even greater meaning and importance. Events such as births, weddings and new homes are recognized on the tree and, because of the importance of such events, the quality and value of those ornaments have increased. Accent your tree with novelty lights and tailored colors that complement your decorations.
Hobbies/Themes : Ornaments that represent favorite hobbies and activities such as golf, skiing and travel give a tree that personal touch while reflecting people's interests, pursuits and experiences. Or, create a tree that keeps on giving, with ornaments designed to raise funds and awareness for charities including AIDS, Breast Cancer, Pediatric Cancer, Animal Rights Organizations, Diabetes, Heart Disease, St. Jude Children's Hospital, and the Dave Thomas Foundation. And personalizing doesn't stop with ornaments -- forgo the old boring tree stand in favor of a base that matches your interests as well. Try a baseball card tree, a chef's tree with vintage utensils or a gardener's tree with silk flowers and seed packages.
Going Beyond the Tree : Decorate the entire house. Holiday cookie jars, snow globes, mantel decorations and festive dinnerware are a great way to extend the "good cheer" into every room. Multiple Christmas trees are also a way for each member of the family to express their own creativity and individual ornament collections.
--Christopher Radko, designer and producer of fine European mouthblown glass ornaments, gifts and home decor for Christmas and other special occasions.
5/25/05 - Trends 2005
Christmasworld : This year, the spotlight was once again on the traditional colors red and green, with the Luxury Baroque theme in gold and champagne set to maintain its trend status.
Christmas 2005 will see decorations exclusively in green, either bright green or pastel green, setting a number of all-new accents. In this context, green tree decorations are equally as important as white ones for those aiming for trendsetter status. Where this new style of decoration becomes particularly interesting is the combination of a variety of greens and whites.
White speckled with blue, a style reminiscent of a clear, polar night, is particularly effective. White Christmas tree balls are teamed with crystal snowflakes and icicles in a variety of finishes.
Aimed primarily at a younger target group, the color combination red, orange and pink is popular. This modern combination is combined with silver for contrast.
Those preferring an exotic Christmas and wishing to mix it with other cultural elements, will go for the Asian options featuring pink, yellow, and green Buddhas.
A touch of mystical magic added to the Christmas festive season is set to become a trend. Dark red and purple, combined with black, dominate the decorations in this context.
Mystical magic also plays an important role in floral decorations, the role model being the film version of "The Lord of the Rings". The newest materials and colors include wood, leaves, roots, mangroves, nuts, mushrooms, gold, fur, pine cones, cut glass and real stones and coordinating, organic, medieval shapes such as goblets and cups, bring ancient forests, elves and dwarves to mind.
Red is another important color for the coming season. Red, in combination with black as well as silk, organza and fake gemstones. As with the Christmas tree decorations, the themes Tradition, in red and green, and Luxury, in creamy white, champagne, cognac and chocolate brown, are ultra-trendy.
Embellished with Swarovski crystals, flowers, stripes and dots. Colors are pink, rose, green and turquoise. In the wellness segment, candles are offered with accessories, such as incense sticks. The 70's retro trend, with its organic designs and blue color orientation, is still a major theme, as are elaborately crafted candles, with a gold and mother-of-pearl glittered finish.
The traditional log cabin look, with antlers on walls, doubling as coat hooks, is particularly trendy. Tree-trunk style candles, bottle openers and rustic aviaries stand-out in the accessories segment. The trend colors are green and orange as well as white, which appears primarily along with country style. Warm, earthy colors and sleek, modern furniture made from natural materials create a relaxed atmosphere for the fall / winter 2005 season, with hanging lanterns and copper-accented lights.
5/11/05 - Think comfy, crisp, and clear. Carolers replacing snowmen, Santa, angels, etc. as top design theme. Retro influencing all product categories. Designs and themes from the '60s and '70s expected to be popular.
- Feminine designs. Hats, Christmas-themed dolls, Mrs. Claus, fashion statements.
- Glass .
- Carolers, musical themes.
- Candy cane designs.
- Textiles: Tablecovers, throws and pillows, tree skirts, stockings, etc. in vintage designs.
- Glass: decorative and functional items in holiday themes.
- Candles: Still hot, look for more candle-related accessories.
- Musical: Musical items, especially with movement. Products include plush, dolls and figures.
- Inflatables: Back this year in even more shapes and sizes. Licensed characters. Movement and music in addition to lights. Indoor and outdoor.
- Nature : Berries, pinecones and pomegranates. Natural colors.
- Candy themes.
- Polka dots and pom-poms.
- Red: Primary to burgundy . Look for cherry to garner the most attention.
- Blue: Accent color, in shades ranging from royal to Wedgwood. Emphasis on the darker shades.
- Green: Primary to forest green. Lime green will look fresh, darker shades expected to hold wider appeal.
- LED rules.
- Remote controls.
- Light covers in new shapes and multiple sizes. Sports, icicles, cones, and fireworks.
- Candles with multiple colors of flames and multiple effects.
- Large outdoor sculptures .
- Lighted gift boxes as outdoor decorations gaining popularity.
- Wider range of styles, higher prices.
- Potted trees.
- Prelit with LED lighting.
- Realistic looking.
- Tall, thin trees.
- Irregular shapes.
Paper Products ( see also Greeting Cards/Paper Products)
- Innovative designs.
- Gift bags.
- Cards glitter with designer pizzaz.
- Note cards.
- Bags with small gifts attached to the handles.
- Wide range of colors, including wine, greens, reds, and pinks.
- Decorated boxes.
- Decorated mailing tubes w/ matching labels.
Christmas Trends 2005: Holiday decorations will be crisper and cleaner. Glitter and glitz, combined with understated design. The same holds true for cards and giftwrap. Minimalist styling providing the background for beads, glitter, and metallics.
Nostalgia: mid-twentieth century, the modernist period in art and design. Think "space age," and minimal.
Colors: off-greens and off-reds from merlot red to pink and sea-green to lime. Pale blue with retro red will provide a fresh combination.
Gingerbread Brown: Accent color.
Natural: Earth tones, natural fibers and elements.
Warm: Red and orange, purple and gold accents.
Contemporary: Black, white, silver, deep blue, and crystals.
Romance: White, silver and gold accents
Lighted decor: experts predict this may be the year that we make the switch to LEDs, which are being used in a variety of applications
Inflatable outdoor decor continues to be popular.
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