The Future is Fresh

Happy 2016 everyone! Now, I realize that it is almost March but it took me until now to stop writing “2015” every time I had to put a date on something! So technically, that must mean 2016 is still relatively fresh and new and so is this post.  I was very excited to read so many articles lately stating several things that I already know to be true, especially when it comes to Christmas/winter greenery.  So, without further adieu, here are ten reasons why “The Future is Fresh.”

Reason #1: Nature is “In”

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Nature gives us some of the best decorations around and these items have recently become even more embraced as simple, chic, trendy, and timeless. A recent article by Ian Baldwin in Greenhouse Grower magazine that highlighted the 2015 selling season at garden retailers stated, “Feedback from our networks and clients was of strong and consistent traffic across all regions, demographics and store sizes. Fresh was “in” everywhere — fresh cut trees, greens, roping, and wreaths, the bigger the better, and the more unique the better in all categories. Customized wreath-making stations were selling them as quickly as they could be made. Where buyers could find them, re-orders sold out on cut greens, wreaths and outdoor “porch pots.” You certainly can’t argue with sales statistics and  you can read more of that article HERE.

Reason #2: It Helps to Keep it Real

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In some later points, I will delve into more detail about the positive aspects of fresh greenery. Right now, I want to focus on some of the downsides of artificial. For starters, did you know that in the 1930’s, the Addis Brush Company created the first artificial-brush style Christmas trees? What is so special about this? They used the same machinery that made their main product…..toilet brushes! So, if you plan on decorating an artificial tree this coming season…..you can reflect on its origins as an over-sized green toilet brush. Besides its bathroom beginnings, there are many other hazards (such as lead) when it comes to these artificial decorations. You can read more about those hazards and even see some visuals right HERE.

Reason #3: It Promotes “Welltality”

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The horticulture industry is intrinsically tied to health and wellness. There is a surge in interest for individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle and plants are definitely a big part of that. The 2016 Garden Trends Report goes into more details about this but the basics are a link between nature and plants and healthy humans. Being in nature actually reduces stress…studies have proven this fact.

If the mental image of a toilet brush Christmas tree wasn’t convincing enough, this different article goes into plenty of detail as to the health benefits of choosing fresh natural Christmas trees. For those interested in healthy edibles, this article goes into details about edible evergreens, pine needle tea, Douglas Fir smoothies, and more. My own disclaimer…..I am NOT promoting that you indulge in eating or drinking evergreens and/or their derivatives. At least not without consulting a medical professional first. My point is this…..fresh = healthy (and it also doesn’t hurt that it is on trend).

Reason #4: There is a Shift from “Doing” to “Making”

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Ever heard of a “Yuccie”? Wikipedia says, “Yuccie, an acronym for “young urban creatives”, refers to a self-aware young adult who holds dearly to one’s creative autonomy, but at the same time being savvy about prestige and materialistic success.” They are the “cultural offspring of “yuppies” and “hipsters”.

So what does that really mean? These are individuals that want to get their hands dirty in nature making things…not just to make them, but to engage with experiences. Things like growing hops to brew their own beer, and use vegetables to create natural dye. The cost for these “making” experiences are immaterial to them as long as they get the end result they are after. Decorating with fresh evergreens in ways that set them apart from others….where they can get their hands in it and the end result is social media worthy (aka today’s status symbol measuring stick) definitely holds appeal for the growing trend of Yuccies.

Reason #5: The Destination is Outside

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Buzzwords such as “outdoor living” and “garden-tainment” showcase that the outdoors are an extension of the indoor living space. Home designers create “flow” that connects the rooms inside to the “rooms” outside seamlessly. The 2016 Garden Trends Report states that this year, the outdoors is coming across strong as a destination.

When the weather turns colder in some climates, and you can’t frequent those outdoor living spaces as much, the movement of bringing elements of the great outdoors back inside helps to bridge that gap. That is where fresh greenery, pine cones, birch logs, winterberry, branches, and more come into play. It invokes a sense of being outside while being inside and it plays to all the senses.

Reason #6: It has Sustainable Functions

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Everyone knows that Eco-Friendly is a big deal these days. Did you know that fresh Christmas and winter decorations are twice as Eco-Friendly?  What I mean is on the front end, harvesting methods are good for the environment. Trees are not cut down for the decorations, it’s more like the trees get a haircut which keeps them healthy and promotes growth. Those trimmings are then used for making swags, wreaths, and other decorations. Some individuals are even willing to pay more for things that they know have sustainable origins as this article states. To them, it is worth the extra it costs them, because it is important to them.

When the consumer is finished with their fresh evergreen decorations, there are all sorts of uses for them that benefit the environment rather than pile up in a landfill for decades (or centuries). This article provides ideas for recycling evergreen tree needles, and this article tells you how to recycle your fresh evergreen tree in your garden. Those that love to help the wildlife will enjoy suggestions given in this article.  If you have a garden or landscape beds, this article explains how evergreen needles are good for your garden and this article shares why pine cones make good mulch. Finally, for more Eco-Friendly holiday ideas, check out this article.

 

Reason #7: The Shift is Becoming Seasonal

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No, I don’t mean the great debate of whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, I mean the trend is shifting towards decorations that can be put out in November and stay out through the winter months too. This article, from the Zillow blog, talks about this topic and it is one that is not just for those selling their homes. It’s for everyone and it spells out that, “The first place you should go [when decorating] is outside.” Incorporating fresh greenery is integral in decorating for a season instead of a holiday.

Consumers today are being targeted about Christmas in September, according to this USA Today article. That marketing combined with the faster-paced , time-crunched world that we all live in sets the stage for finding ways to decorate earlier and enjoy it longer. Since the world around us is a whirlwind of busy, it’s also calming to have simple, natural elements decorating our homes. I love the ideas given in this article by professional home stagers.

Reason #8: The Holidays are Nostalgic

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As I look at this photo, I see several ornaments that I recall being on the Christmas tree at my grandparents’ house. Seeing these invoke feelings of nostalgia for me.  Nostalgia is defined as, “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” This article has a great question and answer about the science of nostalgia and it especially discusses its ties to the holidays.

Reason #9: It has Sensory Appeal

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Reason #8 lends itself nicely with Reason #9. Fresh evergreens appeal to all the senses, not just one or two. The more senses things appeal to, the stronger those feelings of nostalgia can be. For myself, having spent over half my life around “Christmas Greens”, I can actually tell the difference between some of the greens just by the way they smell. Not to mention, I can’t help but smell those candles that are supposed to smell like pine, and scoff because they are NOT. EVEN. CLOSE. to the real deal.

I discovered two great articles, this one and this one that have some great ways to use and capture the natural scent of fresh evergreens. I’m sure you can come up with a wide variety of ways to use these ideas. If marketing is one of them, I suggest reading this to learn more about the science behind the senses.

Reason #10: Because Social Popularity Says So

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We are a world driven by social media. Tweets, posts, likes, and more, we are always connected and always sharing with most of it being very visual. If you Google “Christmas Home Tours”, countless images will pop up with most every single one showing some form of fresh greenery and other natural elements being used as a decoration. Fresh and natural items are just visually more appealing than there faux counterparts, plain and simple.

 

And….plain and simple is where it is at these days….and where it is going. The Future is Fresh…..embrace it.

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