By Peter Giannetti
My wife and I, like everyone, had to forgo many things the past 15 months. One thing our family and friends seemed to miss even more than we did was our annual holiday party.
I’m sure it’s not extraordinary as holiday parties go, but it had become an automatic entry on our early December schedule. Its cancelation confirmed just how profoundly upended our world had become… and perhaps that such pastimes should no longer be taken for granted.
As I see some previous guests for the first time in months, the first question from many is, “Are you going to have your holiday party this year?”
It’s not even Memorial Day. The eagerness of the question almost seven months before any such party would be held, though, speaks to the enthusiasm to reunite and gather, relatively unrestrained, by a society beginning to see some welcoming light at the end of what at times seemed the darkest of tunnels.
This also signals the next, important opportunity for a home and housewares business wondering how to follow up its unexpected windfall last year as homebound consumers stocked up at record rates on cookware, kitchen gadgets, appliances, cleaning tools, organization solutions, home office products and myriad other daily living essentials.
If lockdowns and precaution, despite the grave situation that necessitated them, propped up the home goods industry as a caretaker of a sheltering populace, the safe re-opening of communities should position the industry as a concierge to help people share their homes again with family and friends.
An imminent home entertaining renaissance will inspire re-outfitting of homes with new implements and accents that weren’t a priority as the pandemic deepened. These products will take on added value as people widen their focus from minding themselves and their families to returning some attention to serving their guests.
Visitors are experiencing homes for the first time all over again. And hosts should want to show off a bit. That fuels a merchandising hot spot for home and housewares suppliers and retailers that can pivot to lifestyle assortments and messaging that taps demand for updated specialty serveware, cocktail accessories, table linens and other new crowd-pleasing furnishings.
The opportunity isn’t only about refreshing sales growth potential ahead of fourth-quarter holiday entertaining. Expect renewed zest and appreciation for celebrating all sorts of meaningful life occasions during the year… including some that people took for granted until they were told the party had to be canceled.
As for everyone asking me in May if we’ll reprise our annual holiday party in December, the answer is a confident “Yes!” It will be wonderful to welcome everyone into our home again.