Holiday retailers say shoppers indulging in nostalgia-fuelled ‘maximalism’ decor trend

Lyons Holiday House maximalism
Deanne Lyons (right), owner of Lyons' Holiday House in Westport, with daughter Lexi McDonald.

At Lyons’ Holiday House in Westport, ‘tis the season, every season. 

Owner Deanne Lyons stocks Christmas decorations year-round, in addition to other holiday and celebratory home goods, and she basks in the joy of Christmas throughout the year. 

But this year, she says something is different. Gone are the days of monochromatic Christmas bulbs, muted tones and beige garlands — “maximalism” is taking over Christmas.

OBJ360 (Sponsored)
Holiday House maximalism
Nostalgic Christmas decorations, like these familiar ceramic Christmas trees, are gaining popularity at Lyons’ Holiday House in Westport.

With the holiday season in full swing, shoppers are decking the halls with nostalgia and childhood memories and home decor retailers are saying the new “maximalism” trend is what’s behind it all. 

In contrast to the minimalistic, contemporary aesthetic of recent years, maximalist home decor features bright colours and an eclectic style that focuses on joy and nostalgia, with decorations and pieces that remind people of childhood and Christmas memories.

“There’s a swing back to the nostalgic Christmas right now,” Lyons told EOBJ. “They’re looking for things that feel like Christmas, things that connect to their memories. People are saying, ‘My grandma had one of these,’ or, ‘My aunt collects these.’

“There was a generation that did not choose to collect things like that, but I get the sense we’re coming out of that a bit.”

Old-fashioned, vintage and even “retro” decorations have skyrocketed in popularity, Lyons explained. For example, ceramic, light-up Christmas trees, once a staple holiday decoration in households starting in the 1970s, are hot again. 

“They want it to feel like what Christmas felt like for them, the tree reminds them of their Christmas. They’re really popular again,” she said. “There’s a lot of those updated versions of that kind of old-time, warm Christmastime. They’re just leaning into a more eclectic decorating style.”

Minimalism makes way for maximalism in Arnprior

In Arnprior, Angie MacCrae, owner of KOTi28, has designed a one-stop shop for Scandinavian-inspired, minimalist decor. Although her wares are not usually attractive to “maximalist” decorators, she said she’s seen a marked difference in decorating styles this Christmas.

KOTi28 maximalism
Angie MacCrae, owner of KOTi28 in Arnprior, has dedicated an area of her home goods store for Christmas trends and gifts.

Previous Christmas and home decorating trends saw organic colours and contemporary or minimalist aesthetics, perfectly aligned with KOTi28’s Scandinavian style. But MacCrae said even her most dedicated customers are leaning toward more colours and textures than previous years. 

“I have noticed a lot of nostalgic shopping and some product lines are a lot of felting products, which aligns with Scandinavian decor but also nostalgia and maximalism,” she said. “We have sold a lot of products that are felted and made of wool and that runs in sync with some of the maximalism around nostalgic gifts and home decor.”

MacCrae has decided to lean into the maximalism, colour and nostalgia that seems to be surrounding the season. For Christmastime, she has converted the store’s adjoining retail space, formerly a local cafe, to create a “Christmas shop” that she said is a bright pop of colour in the otherwise neutral shop.

“We don’t usually sell products that align a lot with maximalism, but this section is diverse from the rest of the store and people have really liked that,” MacCrae explained. “Shoppers are coming into the section for the bright, festive colours, the textures, wool, fabrics… lots of flannel … it’s cozy and everyone is looking for colour.”

Red, green and gold Danish cone candles are selling out, she said, as well as candy-cane-striped mugs, hand-painted tree ornaments and colourful knitted scarves and hats.

“It makes sense to me. People are having some hardships and feeling the pinch of the economy and the colour trend to me makes sense because it’s bringing some happiness,” she said. “They’re decorating the tree with more bright colours, more sparkle to help you feel a little bit better.”

In Westport, Lyons’ Holiday House has seen everyone from locals, to visitors from nearby towns, to tourists from afar. Lyons said she attributes the excitement to being a specific Christmas store that caters to every design style. 

“For a long time, there was a certain trend or style everyone did and now I feel that people have more freedom to mix-and-match and create their own aesthetic,” Lyons explained. “I thought there was one popular way and to stock the popular things, but now people really like creating their own look out of a lot of options.

“Instead, they’re saying, ‘I want my space to feel like me and to have the things I love in my space,’” she continued. “And that seems to matter more than keeping with a specific trend.”

Get our email newsletters

Get up-to-date news about the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Ottawa and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.