Summer might only just be arriving but long-lead journalists and Britain’s best merchandising teams are already thinking ahead to Christmas and the key trends that are set to shape the 2022 festive season.
Pictured top: Lechuza completely nails the Scandi-Pastel Trend with this gorgeous ice-cream coloured styling, which shows the perfect way to Hygee your home in a contemporary way, without relying on boring beige.
In the UK’s vibrant and eclectic mature consumer goods market it can sometimes appear that everyone has a ‘trend’ and that, therefore, any kind of style can be a trend, as long as it’s well presented. Some have even suggested that for this reason we are in a post-trend phase, but the key for brands (and that includes retailers as well as suppliers), is to be true to your style – don’t try to be everything to everyone – but go for the macro trends which best match your brand aesthetic. And remember, many of these trends are specifically designed to cross the seasons – style isn’t just for Christmas, as this gorgeous candle feature by Ivyline shows. Not only is this perfect for a festive table, it can be used year-round for any special occasion and will look just as good on a mantlepiece as it does on the dining table.
For suppliers wondering how to maximise their publicity opportunities ahead of the main gift buying season, the macro-trends are usually broad enough for you to reposition existing ranges or individual items, through stylish and strategic photography and merchandising guidance for buyers who also want to tap the zeitgeist.
As the biggest single journalist resource in the UK, we looked to Pressloft for Christmas 2022 trend guidance, with a view to keeping focused on what’s hot when the weather gets cold. They have pinpointed nine major themes to watch out for, which run the gamut from natural, sustainable and homespun to vibrant colour-bombs and vintage style.
Sustainable Swaps: Plastic Free and Recyclable
The keys to this sustainable theme are eco-friendly, reusable, zero-waste, plastic-free, recycled and recyclable items that are TRULY green as opposed to green-washed. The look is low-key and rustic, using plain brown papers instead of foiled, glittered or glossed, or fabric you can keep instead of paper. For brands which are moving towards an eco-friendly mindset but might not have a sustainable aesthetic built-in, you can achieve the look by styling your product images and displays in an eco-conscious way, incorporating plants and things that can be planted.
Images below: Potter & Hare sustainable tape, wreath and fabric wrap, Willsow plantable book and No Forks Given Fabrications Robin decoration.
Multi-Purpose Pieces: Crossing the Seasons
This refers to decorations that do a double duty and will catch the eye of thrift or cash-strapped consumers, as well as those with a sustainable mindset who want the things they buy to keep on working over time, rather than being discarded after the holidays are over. These could be Christmas Eve favour boxes that can be repurposed as trinket boxes or brought out in Christmases of the future so they become part of a tradition, for instance by holding a keepsake on a tree. Pretty biscuit or tea tins which can be used for years to come, luxurious Advent Calendars which can be filled with chocolates next year, star decorations that can be reused on birthdays, metallic table decorations that you can use all year round, all meet this trend.
Affordable Gifting: Luxury for Less
Christmas can be very expensive at the best of times, but if the cost of living crisis continues to deepen, it could be harder than ever for many British families at the end of this year. Quality gifts at an affordable price will be in high demand, so retailers and suppliers alike should be very aware of price points without compromising on quality or sentiment. Personalisation with initials on jewellery or stationery will bring a sense of luxury, whilst anything that evokes shared memories – a special note or card beautifully framed, for example – or is beautifully presented, even though small and humble, will hit the sweet spot. We are thinking of luxury for less, personalisation, thoughtful or nostalgic ephemera, mindful, stocking fillers, cost-savers and bargains.
Pictured below, Bloom Boutique’s pretty yet very affordable personalised bracelets, Ivyline’s lovely Christmas stars, which will keep on working, whatever the season, Christmas Stocking filler tins by Woodland Weddings and Paper 2 Pearls handmade pendant necklace.
Crafty Christmas: Handmade Heaven
Building on the potential of personalisation and – for that extra personal touch – DIY gifts, cards and decorations for Christmas are not only creative ways to save money but also encourage the whole family to get involved. This also allows your gifts and decor to have a curated feel for 2022. This trend is more for the consumers than suppliers, but retailers can get involved by offering products that can be used for handicrafts, or even crafting kits themselves – whether it’s food, drink, felting, card or jewellery making, these are still very popular in the gifting world.
Below: Storigraphic’s 70’s style stationery and 60s/70s music posters by Optimum Prints Co.
Retro Flair: Back to the Sixties and Seventies
Retro is not so much a trend as a permanent style category and it really comes into its own at Christmas, when everyone starts feeling that little bit more nostalgic. This theme will translate into 2022 Christmas décor in the form of snow globes, retro patterns, unusual statement baubles and – once again – those evocations of happy past memories with friends and family. The sixties and seventies will be the vintage of choice this year.
Botanical Accents: Foliage is the Focus!
With more than 3 million Brits taking up gardening as a hobby (or mental-health remedy) during lockdown and digging in deeper ever since, this is a trend that can only bloom further. Not only beloved of gardeners, blooming botanicals are also the way to attract urban jungle enthusiasts, who now influence on Instagram with natural ease. Already a staple in home décor, houseplants and botanicals will be big at Christmas. Combined with luxurious accessories and natural materials, botanical elements will create a lush yet sophisticated setting. Warm up the look with wood and metallic furniture or accents which can be repurposed for year-round tabletop luxury or wall art.
Gorgeous styling from Lechuza and British Regional Hampers perfectly demonstrate this trend.
Merry and Bright: Maximalist and Non-Traditional
Lest we forget, this is the season to be jolly and the Maximalist trend is here to keep things real! This is the perfect trend for fun-loving non-traditionalists who still want to go all-out at Christmas and celebrate with rainbow glittery style with a colourful tropical twist! This is fairly straightforward – you know the drill – more is more and quirky is cute!
Featured: Abbey Cat Gifts mug, Mother and Son Studio psychedelic print and Blind Badger cocktail kit.
Pastel Scandi: Cosy and Soft
Also colourful – but softer than the previous trend – is the ninth of Pressloft’s Christmas 2022 trends, Pastel Scandi, an update on the Hygee trend which dominated a large segment of the home interiors market for the past few years. People have got bored of plain neutrals but the Hygee principles of being cosy, cocooned, warm, soft and snugly will never get old. Update this look with pretty pastel hues and ice-cream colours, soft throws, squash cushions, glowing arrays of coloured candles, rustic textures and paper crafts, to Hygee your home in a contemporary way this Christmas. This one offers stunning merchandising potential which weaves in more than one trend, as this gorgeous lifestyle image from self-watering planter specialist, Lechuza, demonstrates so well.
Whimsigothic: Celestial Magic
As with some of these other trends, Whimsigothic is not just good for Christmas – as anyone who attends home and gift trade shows will attest! Celestial motifs, the zodiac, magic, luck, love, lunar phases, shooting stars, pagan impulses, a touch of witchcraft, skulls, snakes and tattoos and even a touch of the Spanish Inquisition – or at least the high Baroque style – and you’ll get the picture! This is a look you can go full-monty or a bit more subtle with. Don’t want to give the impression your shop is a den of occultism, that’s fine, just sprinkle a bit of astrology and gilt-edged items into your merchandising mix and you’ll make it! By the same token, if riding a broomstick around the home and gift halls sounds just great, unleash your inner witch in grand Whimsigothic style!
Featured: Annie Sloan, Em Prints Art UK, Annie Sloan, Zodiac favour box from the Gift Box Co. and Artisans du Maroc moon and star decoration.