Screen Printing:

Keeping the Holidays Happy

Product and design tips for the upcoming traditionally busy season.

By Jennifer Foy, Contributing Writer

Mix up your holiday offerings by keeping some of the same products you typically offer, but with a holiday twist, like this Christmas mixing bowl and holiday aprons.

October 9, 2018

The holiday season is upon us. Instead of discussing the potentially hottest items that shops will be selling, let’s delve into more relatable information for your business.

It’s ideal to know about popular general gifts (some are newer, while others are the same “old” item that hits the gift-giving spot with a fresh design); design/theme trends; and tips on incorporating these items into your product offerings.

Popular products always will exist, but adding the hottest items is not for every store, shop or retail operation. However, not expanding or adding some seasonal gifts and holiday design-themed items means you’re missing an opportunity. Picking gifts and décor that can pertain to a market type or appeal to various shoppers can be easier to sell and promote.

Regular gift and décor items that are decorated seasonally, such as serving trays, placemats, small wall panels/signage and more, require easy adjustments. Specific items, including metal, ceramic ornaments and the newer, natural wood ornaments likewise easily can be offered. Coffee mugs and jewelry, such as bezel necklaces and cuff bracelets, are good for sales.

Think holiday cheer, colors, monograms or even non-holiday, more trendy designs.

Options Abound
If you have a showroom, consider setting up a small display area for kitchen-themed items. Or, expand your apparel area and show off the addition of aprons and hand/tea towels. These can be holiday themed or not. Tablet and cellphone cases, as well as stylized charging stations, remain solid-selling items.

Don’t forget the health-and-wellness arena, as well as specialty snacks. Whether it’s a magnet with a positive or healthy saying, or Christmas-colored, chocolate-covered pretzels, these smaller, themed items are easy gifts for your customers to add to other purchases.

Design trends for gifts include the Fall/Winter 2018/2019 Pantone color palette, a series of 10 colors ­— including the color of the year (Ultra Violet) ­— that begin with fashion and trickle into all other industries, including wall-paint colors as part of home décor, gifts and more. You’ll see colorful gradients and patterns with colors reminiscent of the 1980s and 1990s.

Applications such as dye sublimation offer a large use of color gamuts and ranges — even some bright neon hues — that work well with this trend. Think pop art-style artwork with bold colors, polka-dot backgrounds and speech bubbles.

Photographs also are being colorized with a single color on top and a gradient or illustrative element to create more of a dynamic visual image and tell a story. Text that has a handwritten look also adds a bit of personality to a photo. Look for fonts in marker styles, spray paint or chalk lettering. Flame Stitch-style patterns will continue to become more popular.

Other artwork or design trends where the art can be applied to products you already offer include the Eye of Fatima, also known as Hamsa. This global design is said to protect against evil and can be used with heavy detail or simplified with a modern twist.

Display Advice
Be sure to show the hot new items or products with trendy designs front and center on your website or in your store. For the latter, it’s important to merchandise these items in key spots; for the former, have such items on your homepage and suggested throughout the site or in at least one different area, such as new products or seasonal specials.

As you prepare for the holiday season, ordering products, moving items around in the store, pulling together designs/patterns for products and even adding props can make a difference. Also, be sure to refresh your staff when it comes to training, and ensure the holiday spirit permeates your store or shop.

Remember, it’s not just about the sale; it’s also about creating an experience your customers will want to repeat.

Jennifer Foy is the creative director for Unisub and SwitchCase brands at Universal Woods Inc., a manufacturer of blanks for dye sublimation. For more information or to comment on this article, email Jennifer at or visit

Target Practice

Don’t forget about your target market when looking at trendy items. Because not all trends may be right for your store and customer base, evaluate your historical store data, budget and customer input to determine the items that may be best to add during the main selling holiday season.

Grab-and-go items or easy add-ons should be placed near the register in a dish, basket or other small display. These can be small, seasonal items (a holiday keychain, for example), lip balm or magnets, but keep them less than certain price points.

Apply a similar idea to your website. When a customer is getting ready to check out, have a pop-up window or listing of items underneath the purchased item that suggests add-ons. Text on the website or a small sign at a display area in the store may suggest, “If you like that, you may want this to accompany it” or “Customers who liked this item also bought these items.”

You don’t need a huge array of choices, but it’s important to offer a variety of seasonal-themed items and décor accessories.