It goes without saying that many of us are more excited than usual for Christmas this year. With Christmas 2020 seeing many have to stay at home and avoid seeing family due to coronavirus restrictions, we're all hoping that Christmas 2021 will be a very special celebration, with this year hopefully marking a time when things can return to some kind of normality. It appears Christmas is already on many of our minds, with Retail Week's industry report, The Christmas Forecast, predicting that our Christmas spending patterns will be more reflective of 2019 than 2020.
But, it's not just buying gifts for loved ones that makes Christmas such a special time. Getting ready for Christmas is a time that helps make many of us feel more optimistic and connected to our loved ones, which feels more pertinent than ever this year.
If you're already getting into the festive spirit and thinking about how to decorate your home in a way that you and (hopefully) friends and family can enjoy, we asked 11 experts for their homeware trends predictions for Christmas 2021...
If you're someone who likes to follow a theme throughout all your decorating at Christmas, the biggest trend that is emerging this year is rustic, homemade looks.
"A huge trend we can expect to see is DIY décor," says Emmie Brookman, Creative Director at homeware store, Silver Mushroom. "We've become a nation of crafters and Christmas is a wonderful time to proudly hang our homemade decorations around the house," she says. "If you're not much of a crafter yourself, but love the look of homemade items, fear not, this too will be another big trend this year. The glamorous decorations will switch to a more subtle, stripped back, country style this year using mostly natural materials. For Christmas décor the trendiest pieces will be made from wood, feathers, pine cones and even dried fruit!"
Ashley Baker, Senior Interior Designer at Vesta, a firm of interior designers, echoes that DIY trends will be popular. "Expect to see garlands made from dried oranges, foliage & berries and other handmade items for décor," she says. "As Christmas 2020 lacked friends & family, there will be an emphasis on décor that brings people together. We will be more focused on creating experiences together which is why DIY décor and group activities will be even more popular."
The Christmas table is one of the centrepieces of your home; a blank canvas for you to decorate and enjoy serving Christmas dinner on.
Sustainability will be a big trend for the dinner table, according to Good Housekeeping’s Deputy Homes and Interiors Editor, James Cunningham. "Think re-usable crackers (try the fabric designs at NotOnTheHighStreet), recycled glassware and handmade or hand-finished dinner plates," he says. "You can also consider re-purposing last year’s Christmas cards as placeholders and use foraged pinecones to hold them.”
For a new take on a classic Christmas table, James suggests opting for snow white shades with frosted silver and clear glass. “This colour combination creates a beautifully elegant look that will be popular on this year's table,” he says.
Alex Head, Founder of catering company, Social Pantry, adds that personalisation will be a big trend around the Christmas table this year. “Add a personal touch to your table to make your guests feel extra special this Christmas,” she says. “Whether you want to push the boat out with a velvet ribbon or napkin that has your guests’ initials embroidered on or keep it simpler with a hand-written place name and menu or fun photo at each place, your effort will be appreciated as guests never get tired of a personalised gift.”
When you think about Christmas, the traditional colours that come to mind are red, green and gold.
When it comes to Christmas 2021, expect twists on old favourites. “A trend that’s on the up is burnished berry tones,” says Good Housekeeping’s James Cunningham. “Pair shades of raspberry, plum and grape with décor that features gold detailing. It’s a dramatic, sophisticated look that’s a move on from the classic red and gold.”
There will also be a focus on nature-themed colours, according to Beth Greer, owner of Ivy&Bee Interiors. “We’re predicting this year's Christmas 2021 colour trends to have a focus on earthy, muted tones,” she explains. “Our customers are shopping more consciously with a renewed sense of appreciation for nature. We're seeing an increase in demand for artisanal decorations, gifts and tableware sourced from sustainable materials; offering an overall more sophisticated feel with softer, more natural tones.”
No Christmas is complete without a wreath. Whether you put yours on the front door or prefer to look at it inside your home, a wreath is a beautiful way to get you feeling festive. Many people also opt to display beautiful blooms inside their homes, too, especially as a centrepiece on the Christmas table.
So, just what colours and types of foliage can we expect to see this year? “We are seeing two very strong and very different themes this Christmas,” says Kate Kern, Head Florist at Maison de Fleurs. “Firstly, a very natural, neutral, home grown look, and secondly – on completely the other end of the spectrum – a very modern, contemporary, almost embracing the unexpected look.”
Kate predicts that both these trends will be available in florists come Christmas. “This Christmas for our collection we are doing a little bit of both,” she explains. “We have created wreaths and garlands that embrace the best of British; gorgeous natural foliage intertwined around dried fruits all in very neutral colours - creams, whites, beige, light pinks etc. We are also embracing a bit of the magical as well; we are using real succulents in one of our wreaths! They are such a lovely addition to a wreath; they really bring it to life and add that special touch of unexpected magic.”
Lighting is another way to bring festive cheer to your home, be it inside or outside.
With Christmas 2021 set to, depending on the situation, be a time when we can once again see friends and family, get ready to reminisce on the good times when it comes to lighting design. "Nostalgia is a key theme for this Christmas, with the use of old festive trinkets, retro tree lights and vintage styles capturing the joy of the season perfectly," says Lucy Kirk, Creative and Photography Manager at lighting store, Lights4fun.
If you're looking for lighting for your garden, 2021 is the year to go all out to bring joy to neighbours and visitors. This year, animal lights will be particularly popular. "From large stags to charming acrylic penguins, style these together to create a heart-warming display to be enjoyed throughout the Christmas period," says Lucy.
One theme stands out for Christmas 2021 when it comes to cards and wrapping paper: sustainability.
Over the last few years, interest in sustainability appears to have grown, with people now searching for cards, wrapping paper and even gifts that are sustainable in some way. Smaller retailers and bigger brands, like Paperchase, have put emphasis on selling sustainable cards and wrapping paper. “Sustainability is a huge focus for us this year," says Katie Leamon, founder of her own luxury stationery brand. "We are focused on the theme of being as environmentally friendly as possible at a time of year that can otherwise seem rather frivolous, so our cards are all made from recycled coffee cups otherwise destined for landfill, and all our inks and wraps are 100% recyclable,” she says.
Gifting can be hard at the best of times, especially when you’re looking for that friend or family member who is notoriously hard to shop for!
Experiences, whether big or small, will be at the forefront of many people's minds when it comes to gifting this year. “With many families and friends having spent last Christmas apart due to an unexpected second lockdown, this year people will be looking to make up for lost time and make it truly magical,” says Richard Hurd-Wood, CEO at Virgin Experience Days.
With the coronavirus drastically changing how we see and interact with our loved ones, the way we gift is changing. “One key expected Christmas trend is the post-Pandemic desire to get out and do things,” says Shaun Powell, CEO at Find Me A Gift. “People have had enough of being at home and so want exciting experience gifts.”
Richard Hurd-Wood echoes this sentiment. “Even at the peak of lockdown, the appetite for experience gifts remained strong,” he says. “Over 250,000 experiences were sold during Christmas 2020 – from digital experiences like cocktail classes and chocolate making kits to gifting experiences where people could reconnect when lockdown eased in the following months.”
Experts also predict that fans of more traditional gifts will keep supporting their favourite shops on the high street. Moreover, if this Christmas follows trends from 2020, people will continue to support small and local businesses, too. Research by eBay found that, when Christmas shopping, nearly six in 10 of us are keen to support local businesses. "Shopping locally has a huge benefit to the local economy, local jobs and communities - as well as providing a great source of individual or unique buys," explains Caroline Bloor, Consumer Affairs Director at Good Housekeeping. "Local shops often source goods nearby which means they are reducing their carbon footprint and you are making your shopping habits more sustainable, too. Look for campaigns like Small Business Saturday, on the first weekend of December, to help find and support shops near you."
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