Are gnomes finally dead? Retailers scout for new holiday at Atlanta Market

While consumers have packed up their winter holiday décor and are looking forward to the spring season around the corner, buyers at Atlanta Market still have their eyes set for a successful, “green” Christmas and are already looking to source décor for the 2023 holidays.

A large portion of independent retailers in the gift and home industry place the bulk of their upcoming holiday orders during the January shows. In fact, several key manufacturers have told sister publication Gifts & Decorative Accessories that in a typical year they place about 70 percent of their holiday orders in January.

Ganz showroom
Buyers shop for Christmas 2023 in the Ganz showroom during the January 2023 Atlanta Market.

“We are always excited to go to Atlanta’s winter market after the Christmas season and find out what’s new,” said Amber Marie of Amber Marie & Company in Tulsa, Okla. “All of the fresh displays throughout market give us a fresh new look for what’s in store for 2023. We love the ability to shop Christmas trends as it’s fresh in our minds, as well as see what new collections are coming out.”

Marie, who won a 2022 Retailer Excellence Award for Social Media and Online Initiatives, is just one of many retailers who share that sentiment.

“I always tell people when they are shocked that I leave (in January) to go shop for 2023 Christmas that it’s actually a great thing because the 2022 Christmas retail picture is so fresh in your mind,” said Beth Rich, owner of Mix It Up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“I (did) some analytics and evaluated how we did with our buying for 2022,” Rich said. “‘Did we have enough ornaments?’ ‘How many trees did we sell?’ ‘What did we not have enough of? ‘What did our customers ask us for that we wished we had?’ We use Shopify and I love that I can run a report on my phone while I’m standing in a showroom.”

Rich added that she also relies heavily on her vendors and their buyers to “set the tone for a holiday that’s almost a year away.” “When I’m shopping at Sullivans, Tag, Demdaco, Ivystone or any other vendor showroom, I’m looking for new and unique,” she added. “I want my customers to come into my shop and see something that they aren’t seeing at the big box stores.”

Holiday 2023 Trends to Look For at Market

So, what is trending for Christmas 2023 and what should buyers be looking for this week?

As consumers continue to seek special touches that express their unique personality and tastes, Christmas décor trends for 2023 will run the gamut, from traditional to magical to rustic. Popular color choices will include the classic red-and-green color palette for those still seeking a traditional Christmas, as well as more surprising hues like magenta — the Pantone Color of the Year — bold blues, nature-inspired creams and browns, and metallic and pearlescent sheens.

While some consumers will remain in their comfort zone with traditional décor, other consumers are branching out post-pandemic and opting for a magical holiday that inspires wanderlust and dreams of more exotic locales. Christmasworld trend experts have deemed this holiday trend of cerulean blues, wine-colored pinks and iridescent and metallic hues as “unknown beauty.”

Nature-loving consumers seeking a more grounded holiday will be looking for ornaments and decorations with earthy tones and sustainable, natural materials. This trend is more about finding peace and a calming center among the chaos of the holiday. Finally, for your boldest customers, Christmasworld trend experts have identified a theme called “lasting ideas,” which is characterized by bold colors, striking geometric shapes, marble grains and concrete forms.

“One trend we really feel strongly about is color,” Marie said. “Amber Marie & Company loves to find those unique items to place in our trees that are most unusual — adding a pop of color or whimsy. We will be on the lookout for new colorful ornaments that will add that dash of color to really spice up designs and build on trends that started to emerge in 2022. We had a great year for the emerald green and gold trend with just a touch of black for 2022. We are looking to add a few dashes of copper to that collection for 2023.”

Carol Schroeder, co-owner of Orange Tree Imports in Madison, Wis., said the big question this week will be whether gnomes will continue to dominate as the most popular holiday motif, and if not, what new character or animal will be taking its place.

When it comes to sourcing ornaments, Schroeder says she thinks about who would give the ornament as a gift and who would that recipient be. “Wordle and pickle ball ornaments were big this year, but I doubt that many people bought one for themselves,” she explained.

“I don’t think that the recent European decorating trend of browns and other neutrals will have a great appeal here,” Schroeder added about her midwestern customer base, “but I’m curious to see whether we’ve switched back from teal to traditional green. Red always rules.”

She also has seen growing interest in decorative items for assisted living and downsized homes, as well as for dorm rooms and small apartments. “I’d love to see some creativity in that area,” she said.

Other items Rich and other retailers will be looking for this week include:

  • Snowman mugs, ornaments and figurines
  • Natural-themed and neutral-toned Christmas décor with a white-and-cream color pallet
  • Holiday entertaining accessories like holiday cookie books, charcuterie boards and platters
  • Pinecone ornaments, table runners, napkins and napkin rings
  • Ski-themed décor for stores located near ski resorts
  • Traditional and nostalgic décor, and stocking holders. Specifically, Rich said her store ran out of stocking holders three times in 2022 due to the high demand.

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