Tribune Media Group
Like fashion, decorating trends for upcoming seasons are divined at least half a year in advance to give stores time to order and stock up. And just as fashion has the runways of Paris, holiday décor has Christmasworld, the ultimate Christmas consumer goods trade show held annually in - where else? - Germany, the birthplace of the Christmas tree.
Ornaments new and old
Metallic ornaments have always been around, but with the popularity of everything metallic (gold, silver, copper) in home décor, they're chic.
You can buy some future heirlooms from a company known for its great design like Nambé. A maker of heavy metal alloy bowls and home accessories, Nambé just launched an ornament line ($25; available at Macy's, Bed, Bath & Beyond and major retailers).
Vintage ornaments, with their soft metallic patina, look good all over the house, not just on the tree, says P.J. Acosta of AG Design Center in Chicago, which specializes in luxury floral and decor design. "Fill a bowl with them on the coffee table, or on an accent table in the foyer. Or use an oversized glass vase to fill with things you've gathered up over the years, mixing textures."
The most modern of ornaments are digital. You simply upload photos to the ornament, and it plays a slide show on a tiny screen ($19.99, American Sale). American Sale CEO Bob Jones Sr., who does most of the holiday purchasing, expects these to be hot items this year because they are fun, eye-catching and versatile. "As your kids grow up you can add new holiday photos," he says. "After Christmas, some styles come with a frame so you can put them on your desk."
It Still Takes a Village
The collectible Christmas village trend is still huge, and Lemax makes an affordable alternative to the pricier Dept. 56 brand, "plus they come with starter sets," says Jones. Some villages are now lit with LED lights.
Nativity sets and religious themed décor is making a comeback these days, and it's not just because Christmasworld decreed it so. Jones says his company has been selling more and more nativity sets lately. And Nambé recently launched a nativity set alongside its new ornament collection. You may need some gold to buy it: the 12-piece set retails for $500.
One of the predictions to come out of this show is that in 2009, the two worlds of fashion and holiday décor will collide on Christmas trees everywhere. That means popular fashion colors such as purple in every shade. Turquoise, which is paired with brown in fashion and interior design everywhere, is also big. Display it with white and silver, which work together well, says Acosta. "Also, chartreuse is still around, which looks good with the traditional red and makes it pop."
The alternative color scheme to these trendy colors is not good ol' red and green, but white. Natural colors and materials combined with shades of white, champagne gold, silver and glitter evoke nature and a snowy landscape.
Speaking of fashion, anyone who has been in a clothing store this year knows the '80s are back. The Christmasworld folks have given us permission to decorate with "brightly-colored baubles, garish plastic trees and disco balls in all sizes for a funky Christmas." Inspired by glam rock, these décor items include red and black candles with sparkly skulls, roses and silver ornaments. You can trust Christmasworld on this trend-or not.
Get the LED out
LED lights are the future of holiday lighting. They're brighter, longer lasting, and way more durable than traditional lights. Plus, they're green, using about 80 to 90 percent less power. They're cool to the touch, so they won't light the house on fire when the cat knocks over the tree while you're at the mall. Expect to pay more than you would for traditional lights, but prices will likely drop as this technology takes root.
Pre-lit trees also come with LED lights now ($99 and up; American Sale). It's a good idea to look at different models in the store because there are variations in light color, Jones says. "They come in multicolored, warm white and cool white. Warm looks better inside because it looks like incandescent light."
Jones says LED lights and lighted trees pay for themselves quickly because the LEDs last 25,000 to 100,000 hours. "You can buy an LED set and it will last 20 years," he says. He should know. "We keep ours on in the store from September to January. That's the equivalent of 30 years."