Fall 2006
Haute Holiday Decor By Christa Weber

History Within the Branches

While most holiday décor trends come and go with a rapidity that would make Kris Kringle blink, classical ornaments continue to fare as well as their contemporary and trendy counterparts. This is likely due to the fact that most people enter adulthood with only one or two to their names and amass their collections as the years go by. A fully realized Christmas tree ornament collection is eclectic and unique—a personal history written in glass, wood, resin, and plastic.

Glass is still the darling of the ornament industry. But consumers are looking beyond the shining balls and glittering teardrops that come six to a box, and honing in on expensive, hand-painted and mouth-blown collectable pieces in the season’s hot colors produced by artists and artisans. Consumers are adding to their collections more slowly, but spending more money when they do.

Thus, the market for Christmas tree ornaments remains fairly stable year by year, according to Heinz-Guenther Reichert, president of wholesale distributor Reichert & Baden.

“Almost everyone buys at least one new ornament during the Christmas season. I don’t know anyone who says, ‘I have enough, I don’t need anymore.’ They may not be investing in an entirely new collection, but they’re buying a few pieces to augment what they’ve already acquired throughout the years.”

Tree type plays a big role in determining which ornaments come out and which stay boxed up for another year. Consumers’ environmental and aesthetic values have helped the market for artificial trees flourish. As a result, consumers can choose a variety of branch thicknesses and configurations—a development that, according to Carol McBride, marketing director of retailer The Christmas Shoppe, has helped larger ornaments regain their stylish stature.

“People now have the option to buy thinner trees and trees with larger gaps between the branches. People are using those gaps to display figurines, larger glass balls, and bigger, more striking ornaments. The ornaments no longer obscure the natural beauty of the tree, and placement of those ornaments within the tree gives it dimension and depth.”

Sonja Simmons, owner of gift shop Reflections On Main, believes that the practice of giving ornaments as gifts year-round is growing in popularity.

“I tend to sell one ornament at a time and price is definitely a factor in that. Many people will shop elsewhere for their main mass of Christmas tree ornaments while coming to us for stand-out pieces that will really make their collections shine.”

Christa Weber

Christa Weber (Terry) is editor of the popular nuptial fashion, wedding etiquette, and bridal accessory website, Manolo for the Brides. Her writing has appeared in numerous weekly newspapers and trade magazines throughout the northeastern United States, as well as several websites and literary magazines such as Rhapsoidia Magazine and The Mochila Review. Currently, she serves on the board of directors of Ninepatch, a non-profit co-operative journal of spirituality published monthly, both online and off. She can be reached at christadterry@gmail.com.

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