Deck The Halls: Holiday Decor in July

By Gianna Annunzio
07/27/2022
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fig and dove

Donning the home with beloved holiday decor marks the official start of the season for many homeowners. After forfeiting large gatherings within the last few years, consumers are more motivated to invest in the holidays as they envision a return to normalcy in late 2022.

Similarly, the industry’s lust for holiday decor has not faltered. At summer markets, items that blur the line between “holiday” and “everyday” are trending. Manufacturers are focused on providing natural, organic holiday decor, offering an elevated yet traditional feel. Unapologetic “glitz and glam” selections continue to be classic holiday choices as well.

 

Decor That Fits

As we emerge from the pandemic, consumers are also looking for professionally curated holiday decor to represent a reset. Seasonal items must fit seamlessly alongside home decor, and exude their personal taste. Fig & Dove, a luxury home decor line, offers just that: artisan collaborations and numerous unique holiday items, making it possible for any homeowner to find what they’re looking for.

“Half the time after Christmas, people are ready to get their decorations out of their house because it doesn’t look like their house anymore,” says Colleen Waguespack, Fig & Dove’s Founder and Creator. “With Fig & Dove, we show our customers how to use the same products throughout the year.”

With customers investing in holiday products that fit harmoniously alongside home decor, year-round practicality is becoming increasingly important. To achieve this, Waguespack prides herself on both artisan collaborations, and designing holiday decor from her own mind’s
eye. One successful item — a set of acrylic stackable candle holders — were intended for both the Advent season, and year-round use.

“At Advent people display three purple candles and one pink candle,” she says. “Nobody knows where to find a good Advent wreath or holder — and if you bought that, you’d only use it once a year. But with these, you can stack them to make them taller and use them every day.”

Waguespack says most of Fig & Dove’s holiday products aren’t overt, helping her accomplish blended use.

“We have these really beautiful paper mache angel toppers for Christmas,” she says. “But truthfully, they’re a really great table topper that people have left out year-round. It’s one of the things that we’re totally proud of.”

In 2018, Waguespack created and popularized the “wreath sash,” inspired by the sashes worn on papal vestments from the Heavenly Bodies exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum. Although holiday decor offerings often feel repetitive, Waguespack proves that product innovation is always possible, even within a
classic segment.

“When I visited the exhibit two years ago, I knew instantly that its simplicity was the perfect finish to adorn a wreath,” she says. “I looked for effortless ways to add seasonal decor and found tying a knot in a wreath sash preferable to the fuss of creating a symmetrical bow.”

Today, the sash has become a top seller.

“We put a video of the wreath sash up on Instagram to show people how to properly tie and display it,” she says. “So many people watched and received it well. We gained 2,000 followers from that video, which shows me that the product is working.”

Fig & Dove also offers the classics: Christmas stockings, acrylic stocking holders, tree toppers and table toppers. Although these items come at a higher price point, Waguespack centers her product line around investment pieces and always sticks to a core collection, only adding new things that compliment it.

“We don’t ever abandon our collections,” she says. “With our fixed selections, people are always able to add on a layer from it. Maybe one year our customers can get the stockings, the next year they get the stocking holders, then the tree skirt, and so on.”

Within the core collection, the top selling items are Waguespack’s solid ivory monogram stocking, and acrylic stocking holders. She says the stocking holder in particular initially put Fig & Dove on the map.

“Sometimes people can’t replace their stockings,” she says. “Maybe their mom needlepointed their stockings, or they hold some kind of sentimental value. But everyone still needs a stocking holder, so they buy them up. They look good in both the modern and traditional environment, and they work on any type of mantle.

“Our holiday items are made to never go out of date,” she says. “People bring holiday stuff out for the rest of their lives, so it should be something that’s timeless and classic, regardless of your palette.”

 

Full Service Decor

Some homeowners also gravitate toward full home decor services, eliminating the pressure of designing the perfect holiday setup themselves. Christopher Todd, Founder of Christopher Todd Design, began his business decorating client homes for the holidays. He and his team can work with existing
decor that honors family traditions, or create something new and fresh for his clients.

“Many clients often know their design limitations, and treat their holiday decor the same as their home,” Todd says. “They can’t design their home, so they don’t attempt to decorate for the holidays. Another very attractive aspect [of the service] is they leave for a few days, and when they return, their holiday decor is fully displayed. Their home is spotless, and they’re ready to enjoy the season without having to worry about decorating.”

Todd’s business also includes a retail showroom based in Las Vegas, offering a collection of one-of-a-kind home decor.

“The biggest opportunity for holiday design is that it is recurring each year,” he says. “As trends change and materials are improved, people consistently upgrade their decor as we upgrade their design.”

Although holiday may not be entirely free from economic struggle, Todd says once a client signs on for services, they rarely discontinue them.

The business is often booked solid by the end of the year, with few openings available to take on new clients.

“It becomes a lucrative business on a very short and limited timeline,” he says. “I don’t think seasonal decor is completely recession-proof, but they still use our services to decorate with existing decor.”

There are also unique challenges when it comes to decorating for the holidays — instead of spending months on a typical design job, Todd only has about three days to transform his client’s home. All home decorations usually start the first week of November, and are completed by December 5.

“Another great thing is that if the decor goes up, it must come down,” he says. “We have a policy that if we decorate your home, we are required to dismantle and store it to make it easier for displaying it the following year.”

Holiday manufacturers are also constantly working to make their product better, and more natural-looking each year. The industry has moved past the time of artificial trees and greenery looking “out of a box.” Products now look so natural, it’s often necessary to touch it to know if they are artificial, Todd says. This helps continually pique client interest.

“Fresh, natural looks are what we specialize in, and our clients have gravitated toward the elevated look,” he says. “Although people have had multiple decorated Christmas trees in their homes for years, we often do whimsical or ‘fun’ trees in children’s areas or playrooms and keep the more sophisticated rooms of the house just that — upscale and sophisticated.”

In Todd’s experience, holiday trends also naturally follow home design trends. The industry has seen modern farmhouse incorporated into holiday design, for example, centered around black and white color palettes. Felt ornaments have also been an emerging trend within the past few years, creating an earthy and simplified look.

“I personally try to keep the trend of collectible glass ornaments and create a tree that has meaning and memories,” Todd says. “I love mixing ornaments from all walks of life — from clients’ childhood memories, travels they have taken, etc. Those trees have the most meaning in my opinion, and will always be on trend.”

 

In with the New

On the vendor side, companies including Park Hill have decided to dabble in holiday for the first time, reflecting trends as well as tradition within their selections. According to Liz Zwissler, Park Hill’s Creative Director, holiday is a category retailers often refresh every year. Because of the nostalgia and sentimentality of the season, it’s not often overlooked by customers — even if it means merely adding a new ornament to their collection, or trying a new candle scent. Exciting and dramatic displays attract attention, providing an opportunity for everyday product sales as well
as seasonal.

“This year, as we were emerging from the pandemic, we saw both ends of the style spectrum shine,” Zwissler says. “Our Cabin Cozy Collection is one of the crowd favorites being outdoorsy and nostalgic. Of all the lifestyle changes we were forced to make during the pandemic, this one was a positive: enjoying nature and relaxing fireside with family and friends in intimate gatherings. Another top-selling theme — Holiday Splendor — is unapologetically over the top glam.”

Incorporating holiday decor into the business has created newfound buzz and excitement for Park Hill as well, allowing the group to reinvigorate the product mix and display. It also allows the company to delve into whimsy, rich colors and sparkle that can be limited in everyday home decor.

“We’re excited to continue to inspire our customers and challenge ourselves each season to create the ever-elusive ‘wow factor,’” says Zwissler. “It also afforded us a big push in shipping in the third quarter when other categories can be slowing down. We’ve committed to investing in inventory so we can sell holiday through the summer markets.”

While customers may not be able to purchase larger investment pieces like a sofa or dining room table, Zwissler says they can often afford to refresh their holiday decor with a new wreath for the front door, or new focal ornaments for the tree.

“There is also always gift giving to consider,” she says. “A special ornament or candle can make thoughtful hostess gifts, and people will not stop entertaining. Creating a holiday feeling in your store will make it an enjoyable outing for customers. More often than not, that will also result in sales.

“Even as we are coming out of the pandemic, we all need a safe haven,” she says. “What better place could provide that than home for the holidays?

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