By Christine Bockelman
NEW YORK-- It may seem early for Christmas tree skirts and other holiday textiles, but according to the National Retail Federation's 2007 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch US, 40.3 percent of shoppers began their holiday shopping before Halloween this year.
The survey had good news for the home textiles industry, too. Not only did it find consumers' plan to increase their spending on decorations, from $46.49 last year to $49.76 this year, but 22 percent of survey respondents indicated they'd like to receive home furnishings as a gift.
Retailers seem to be taking full advantage of the statistics, and are already showcasing holiday throws, bedding and more in their catalogs and on their e-commerce Web sites.
West Elm's holiday 2007 catalog offers decorative pillows with beaded snowflakes, $24, and a velvet tree pillow cover, $16. Throughout the catalog, red bedding, curtains and floor coverings abound; a beet-colored, poly-fill corduroy comforter is $99.99 on sale in queen size. A selection of throws on the back page come in shades of blue, red, cream and pewter. A small selection of Christmas stockings and tree skirts are scattered throughout the book.
Pottery Barn's take on holiday is more heavy-handed. The November catalog cover features a stack of red-and-green decorative pillows tied with ribbon. The first page of the catalog shows the red-and-green Multistripe duvet, $129 for a full/queen, and pillow shams and 200-thread count Polka Dot sheet set. The Swedish House duvet, $99 for a full/queen, and shams are also holiday-colored.
Table linens also get a lot of play in the Pottery Barn catalog, with red linen napkins and placemats, $99 for a set of 12 each, and a whimsical reindeer-themed collection, which has coordinating dinnerware, getting a full page of space. Textiles-related gift items, such as robes, dog beds and monogrammed cosmetic bags-all in red, of course-are sprinkled throughout. In the middle of the book are multiple pages of personalized stockings and tree skirts.
Crate & Barrel's holiday book offers more in the way of pinecones and brown tones, with the December holidays not coming into play until almost two dozen pages in. Sequin- and bead-covered decorative pillows, $59.95 each, and red velvet quilts, $219 for a queen, and a smattering of red placemats are the primary offerings for textiles.
Sister store CB2's edgier seasonal catalog focuses more on blue and white than the traditional green and red, and doesn't offer any holiday-themed textiles.
Online, Domestications.com has a section called Seasonal Living, which features everything from table linens to bagged bedding. A comforter set covered in ornaments, which includes a bed skirt, standard shams and a sheet set is priced at $59.99 for any size. Coordinating window coverings and decorative pillows are also available. A Holly Plaid set, which includes the same components, is $29.99 for any size. For the table, Domestications.com is offering formal linens, including cutwork, from $19.99, and Damask, from $9.99.