Holiday Entertaining from Thanksgiving through New Years

Holiday Entertaining from Thanksgiving through New Years

Naomi Sleeper
Director,  Productivity Improvement
Imperial Distributors


For supermarkets, the holiday season is not just about food and cooking accessories. It’s providing the complete holiday entertaining solution for shoppers. This month, we focus on key trends for holiday entertaining in 2018.

Material & color trends: This year’s holiday décor trends include metallics and purple. Copper has been on trend in recent years; in 2018 a broader range of metallic barware and serving pieces, with colored, hammered, brushed and wood-accent finishes, are featuring prominently. The pantone color of the year, Ultra Violet, also combine with white, warm and cool tones for beautiful holiday table spreads from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Featuring these accents and colors in in-store seasonal and general merchandise displays can help to inspire shoppers’ entertaining vision throughout the holiday season.

Barware: Classic and craft cocktails continue to grow in popularity (sales up 57% in chain restaurants since last year, according to Restaurant Business (2018)). (The #1 cocktail for the fourth year in a row, according to Business Insider (2018) is the Old Fashioned—easy to make in a large batch, it’s also an ideal drink for fall-winter holiday entertaining). Whether making cocktails on the spot at parties or just opening bottles of wine and craft beer, barware is a holiday entertaining essential. Displaying a broad assortment of bar tools and accessories with craft mixes and cocktail recipe books is key to meeting holiday entertaining needs while setting a festive holiday mood in stores.

Fall-winter candles: Candles remain a popular décor item to escalate both the visual and olfactory experience of the holidays. If the food in the oven and on the table isn’t aromatic enough, pumpkin and spice candles invite warmth for Thanksgiving guests, while earthy scents enhance the Christmas feel. In addition to traditional taper and votive candles, a broad range of decorative candles in crafted vessels – gold, painted or etched ceramic, hand-blown or embossed glass – provide on-trend visual appeal to the holiday table. From value to upscale, a strong assortment of fall-winter décor candles is a key element of store’s holiday merchandising.

Host gifts: If not hosting a holiday meal or party, chances are your shoppers are attending one. Do not miss out on the opportunity to sell to holiday guests, as well, by reminding them not to show up empty-handed and providing easy grab-and-go stand-out alternatives to the bottle of wine host/hostess gift.  Prepackaging small seasonal and general merchandise items like spreaders, holiday napkins, barware accessories, and mugs—with or without seasonal packaged foods—can provide shoppers with unique host/hostess gift solutions. Smart Retailer (July 2018) recommends $20 as an ideal price for these gifts. Pre-wrapping these gifts, even for a small upcharge, provides valuable convenience for shoppers scrambling to check items off their holiday to-do list.

Games: In supermarkets, games are typically merchandised in the toy category and promoted as holiday gifts for kids. A wide assortment of holiday-specific games and crafts (e.g. Thanksgiving scavenger hunts, card games and turkey decoration kits), serve not only as gifts, but also as entertainment during the holidays (as a fun activity before Thanksgiving meal is served, for example). Games are growing in popularity for adults, too. With structured group activities and games becoming more popular at holiday parties and New Year’s celebrations, advertising card and board games to adults can translate to additional holiday gift or host purchases through December.

Promotions and timing are key to taking advantage of these holiday entertaining trends. Stores should feature all entertaining for Thanksgiving through New Year’s this month. Practical Ecommerce (September 2018) predicts that 37 percent of all U.S. holiday retail sales will occur between Thanksgiving and the end of Cyber Monday week (the following Saturday) this year. Supermarkets should be sure to take a slice of the holiday sales pie with sharp in-store and online promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.