With the holiday season just around the corner, you may already be thinking about planning for upcoming parties, hosting guests, or just sprucing up the decor in your home. Whatever your holiday traditions and celebrations may be, it’s an exciting—and sometimes overwhelming—time of year for most of us. But not to worry, we’re here to help calm some of those impending waves of panic and get those creative juices flowing, so you can start planning for the holidays with an inspired and easygoing attitude that says, “I got this.”
We reached out to John Tobey and Shannon McLaughlin of John Tobey Event Design in Denver to help us uncover and explore the hottest new trends in holiday house parties and decor. Below are their top tips on ways to dazzle and delight your family and friends this season:
A Need for Nature
“What we’ve been seeing lately with our clients is a lot of nature inspiration for entertaining and holiday parties,” Tobey says. “I think nature is something we can all relate to—whether it’s Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or non-denominational/secular celebrations—so it’s easy for anyone to incorporate this theme in their decor and festivities,” he says. They’ve been seeing natural features coming into play—from magical wintery sky themes with sun, moon, stars and snowflakes to more earthy elements like wood, bark, wreathes, and plant-based decor.
A related trend that’s been around in recent years and continues is hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”), McLaughlin says, explaining this Danish expression is loosely translated as “cozy.” “Hygge-inspired decor evokes a sense of simplicity, warmth, comfort and coziness—so things like sheepskin throws and knitted things, pine boughs and holly branches, red and white flowers and other elements from nature, rather than the glitz and glitter that was popular years ago,” she says.
Patterns from the Past
“Another trend we’re seeing a lot of is the influence of patterns that were big decades ago—specifically herringbone, plaid and polka dots,” Tobey says. They’ve been showing up in all kinds of holiday decor such as stockings, tree skirts, table settings and centerpieces, indoor and outdoor displays and accent pieces. “We’re also seeing this trend inspiring some fun new twists on old traditions, such as hanging patterned giant mittens instead of stockings over the fireplace,” he says.
Taking Back Traditions
“Traditions and ceremonial holiday themes are back in a big way,” says Tobey. “It’s like we’re seeing this generation bringing back the trends of their parents’ generation, perhaps longing for the comforting traditions they grew up with,” he says, citing building gingerbread houses, stringing popcorn and cranberries, and decorating live (or at least more natural-looking) trees and wreaths as being increasingly popular over the last year or so.
“Lighting is something we’re seeing as a big trend this holiday season,” Tobey says, explaining that warmer lighting is trending. “Whereas a couple of years ago we were seeing all those cool, white, LED lights and really bright colors, now we’re seeing that the trend in lighting is coming back to a more natural, warm, golden, festive, candle-like glow. People seem to be wanting more of that soft, amber glow versus the cold, industrial kind of lighting that we saw when LEDs first emerged and began to influence holiday lighting decor years ago,” he says.
According to Tobey and McLaughlin, one of the biggest color trends for 2020 is calming blues inspired by the soothing colors of the sea or ocean—and they expect it to influence the 2019 holiday season too. “The color blue is huge this year, and this trend plays nicely into everything from Hanukah to the winter, sky, and fairytale-like themes,” Tobey says. Specifically, the three shades on everybody’s radar this year are midnight, aqua, and cerulean (or sky) blue. “Blue agate ornaments and other earthy minerals and gems are going to be big this year,” Tobey predicts. Other colors expected to be strong for the holidays this year include aspen gold, mango, toffee and Pantone’s vibrant Pink Peacock.
Tobey and McLaughlin say when it comes to party planning, there’s an overall shift toward focusing more on meaningful experiences versus just expensive things. “Whether it’s an elegant potluck, a gingerbread house competition, a toy drive or a fun fundraiser, people are forgoing the more consumer-based holiday culture in favor of incorporating more meaningful experiences, activities, and even a sense of mindfulness and inclusiveness into holiday celebrations,” McLaughlin says. She likes that because it echoes their approach to working with their clients as well. “Ultimately, we try to create memorable moments,” she says, adding, “After all, that’s what the holidays are all about.”
John Tobey Event Design
2125 Grant St.
Denver, CO 80210
Lindsay Mitchell is a writer and content marketing specialist who has written for several home design and remodel blogs. She likes to say she has “designer genes” thanks to being the daughter of interior designer Terri Mitchell of Interior Enhancing in Colorado Springs. Learn more at coloradocreativecontent.com and interiorenhancing.com.
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