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As the world grapples with the rising cost of living, there is one constant that shines brightly: We’re heading into the holiday season, that time of the year when Canadians get into the spirit of the celebration.
And, in case you haven’t noticed, we’re doing it earlier and earlier, with many across the land putting up trees, lights and all that glitters well before December. (According to recent research from Time2Play (time2play.com), it appears Manitoba’s the province that heads up the holiday decorating spirit well before the other provinces!)
Although inflation is hanging heavy over Canadians, we’re still digging deep to decorate: Various economic reports show consumers are shifting priorities to enjoy a bit of good cheer. A recent 2022 Deloitte holiday survey (deloitte.com) reports “despite economic pressures, holiday spirit (and spending) is alive and well as shoppers adjust their spending strategies in response to inflation.”
Plus – to do so is good for one’s well-being. Mental health experts say decorating for the holidays is tied into rituals, and the comfort found in things that are familiar – like a certain ornament, the sparkle of tree lights, even the fragrance of freshly baked goods – all evoke something we can control.
“Decorating is a way to try to reclaim our traditions and rituals that offer us confluence of memories, identity, connections and family,” said Dr. Vineeth John, professor of psychiatry with McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in an earlier interview on the university’s website.
“They offer a way to restore, at least partially, what’s been lost due to the impact of the pandemic and return to our authentic selves.”
For those who haven’t started putting anything up yet, we suspect this is the week when the magic happens.
We spoke with designers, decorators and industry experts, and many are saying Canadians are turning to traditional comfort and nostalgic memories to bring on everything cozy and bright.
“What’s old is new again,” says Tracy Platt, associate VP for style and design at Canadian Tire (canadiantire.ca), in a recent interview. “This year, our Christmas collection is inspired by themes of nostalgia and Canadiana, and from a vintage (perspective), coloured bulbs on trees and retro fawn motifs – everything has a nod to Canadian Christmases of years past.”
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Canadian Tire’s special Christmas Trail, a charitable, Toronto-based holiday event now on and offering a winter wonderful of decorated trees and giant, sparkling woodland animals, also showcases the latest holiday decorating trends, including huge LED-lit arctic bunnies, five-foot snowmen and vintage-inspired jumbo bulbs. Hottest indoor trends courtesy of designer and TV personality Jillian Harris offers holiday ideas bright with hints of nostalgia and a feminine colour palette, all inspired by Jillian’s family memories growing up in B.C.
Colour and texture play a major role in holiday decorating, notes Jordan White of TJX Canada (tjxcanada.ca, the company behind HomeSense, Winners and Marshalls), in a recent email interview. “Chalets are the inspiration for many of the décor trends we’re seeing this year – light washed woods with pops of green are a classic way to add some holiday cheer to your space,” along with faux fir garlands, and accent furniture and accessories in deep blues, greens and mustards.”
Meanwhile, the folks at Home Hardware (homehardware.ca) are reporting that Christmas classics this year include “cozy plaids and quirky gnomes.” “Actually, gnomes continue to dominate holiday decorating this year – along with a nod to the “modern farmhouse” aesthetic of delicate neutral tones and rustic charm, meaning you can re-imagine your old and favourite decorations into something new for 2022!” says Laura Baker, chief marketing officer for the company. Home Hardware also shares that vintage is big this year, with lots of silver and gold, and sparkling stars.
Michaels Canada (canada.michaels.com) is seeing a surge on angels, elves and Santas dressed for various occasions (skiing, anyone?) in its merry-must-have department, along with large and colourful inflatables for the lawn. Again, it looks like a nod to all nostalgic this holiday season – and perhaps the idea of creating a winter wonderful indoors, perfect for apartment dwellers.
All this leading up to New Year’s Eve, which sees Benjamin Moore recently revealing the IT colour for 2023: Raspberry Blush, a rich and charismatic colour that is bound to set the stage and mood for the new year! (@benjaminmoore/#ColourTrends2023)