Christmas in our sights

The exhaustive round of summer and September trade shows offered a tremendous opportunity for buyers to refresh and replenish their shelves ahead of Christmas, ensuring the trade was spoiled for choice by an army of suppliers with on-trend, fast-moving product for the festive season.


LIP INTERNATIONALGreeting cards come into their own at this time of year, generating strong sales for all kinds of retail outlets, and the available selection is both vast and of exceptionally high quality.

Home accessories and soft furnishings were also abundant across all major trade events, reflecting a welcome upswing in the housing market that’s had a positive knock-on effect for many retailers and suppliers in this sector.

The rise in home products includes an increase in prominence for lighting, where the super-deluxe shared aisles at Autumn Fair and Top Drawer with themes as diverse as urban chic, retro-kitsch, country escapism, industrial design and Steam Punk.

The dark, luxe accent in home décor has been offset by a strong trend for simpler rustic charm fused with clean, contemporary lines and rural motifs including foliage patterns and the by now ubiquitous stag heads and reindeer.

acorn & will festive display domesHumorous, quirky and whimsical themes have also blossomed and matured into a strong thread running through the Christmas gift and greetings market. Whether it’s pineapples on everything, deadpan superheroes, super-kitsch ornaments and gadgets or outrageous patterns, the weird, wonderful and wacky continue to delight.

The Christmas cards from Lip International – spotted at Top Drawer London (above right) – hit the spot perfectly, merging retro cool with rustic charm and plenty of seasonal colour. Allport Editions has also successfully blended humour with tradition in this humorous take on the 12 Days of Christmas by artist David Price, while Chase & Wonders’ Christmas skiers adorn this original wrapping paper.

LAMP-SQUIR_4Acorn & Wills presented a brilliantly frivolous nod to both snow globes and terrariums with this unique collection of Bambi-esque deer grazing beneath domes, a fun decoration for hipsters.

The fun squirrel lamp also taps multiple trends including kitsch ornamental lighting, woodland animals and all things blue, about to emerge as a key colour trend in spring as an oceanic mood sweeps across home and gifting.

Plum&Ashby_CrackerTeaTowelsIf you’re in search of something a bit more traditional these cracker tea-towels from Plum & Ashby would give a perfectly festive twist to your merchandise, and this sweet ring shows that reindeer can appear anywhere at the minute.

For the all-important wellbeing section – a staple of any garden centre gift shop – Somerset Toiletry Company offers a classic range of Christmas-themed soaps and other products, while Stich & Story have come up with a fun solution for slippers that taps the ongoing consumer passion for make your own and DIY.