What Are Some Of The Biggest Holiday Trends In The Event Industry This Season?

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

The 2015 holiday season is just around the corner – and with it, the end of the year. What better time than now to take a look at some of the trends you can expect as Christmas rolls around? After all, as we’ve established before, January more often than not tends to be the busiest time of the year in event management. It’s better to be prepared by knowing what people are looking for.

With that in mind, let’s dive right in. What’s the event industry going to look like as this year’s holiday season rolls around? More importantly, how can you as an event planner turn that to your advantage? 

Food and Drink For All! 

This year, food and drink are bigger than ever before, explains Matt Alderton of the Successful Meetings Blog, quoting Backal Management Group CEO Arthur Backal. Food fairs, craft beer, cocktails, and catering were all huge business during the summer months of 2015. Therefore, there’s no reason to think this trend won’t carry over into winter events, as well.

According to Backal, global cuisine continues to be the biggest draw. “You can create a food hall atmosphere inspired by Eataly and Le District,” he says. “Around the world cuisine continues to be a hit at events.” 

This sentiment is echoed by Christy Lamagna of Plan Your Meetings, who advises that event organizers create environments that “support an “It’s a Small World” theme.”

From the sounds of it, drinks are going to be an even bigger draw than food, however – particularly with nightclubs and bars, where craft beer and rich drinks are all the rage. There’s no reason to expect that this won’t carry over into the larger events industry. Matter of fact, it’s pretty likely that it will.

“Drink trends are ever changing,” writes Whitney Johnston of Book Bottles. “For 2015, drinkers want more body and sales are reflecting just that. Brown whiskey outperformed vodka in sales dollars at the end of last year, and bourbon, rye, and scotch are all enjoying this time in the spotlight by whiskey’s side. Beer is getting creative between the craft beer surge, the cider beer trend, and the re-introduction of beer cocktails. And even punches are making a comeback as liberated mixologists in fancy places are concocting large-format punches that serve a multitude of guests with no limit to servings or ingredients.”

Lights and Colors

Moving away from food and drink, the current climate of the event industry will have an impact on how venues look just as much as it’ll influence what sort of food’s served there. To that end, there are a number of trends related to lighting of which you should be aware moving forward. According to The Venue Logic Blog, they are as follows:

  • Dangling café globe lights are all the rage
  • Backdrops coupled with those café lights put the focus on the band or DJ
  • LED lightning adds colorful layers to twinkle lights; teal quartz or vibrant navy blue are particularly popular hues
  • Programmable LED lights that come on at specific times or are controlled through dimmers help dynamically transition events between different segments of their schedule.

As far as colors are concerned, Venue Logic lists “crimson, juniper berry, and charcoal black mixed with crisp cool white” as the ‘perfect’ colors for your holiday décor.

Decorative Management

It might be tempting to go full Christmas at your upcoming holiday event, but I’d warn against it. According to Backal, decorative trends appear to be leaning more towards neutral winter décor rather than stuff tied to any specific holiday. Also, superheroes are apparently all the rage this year, what with their popularity on the silver screen.

“Comicon themed parties are in,” says Backal. “Everyone loves a superhero.”

Venue Logic more or less supports Backal’s advice (except for the bit about superheroes), explaining that drapery to make a room smaller and candles, seasonal greens, garlands, birch trees, and curly willow/manzanita branches offer a particularly favorable atmosphere to this year’s holiday event attendees.

More Masonry

One more thing before we move on from Venue Logic and Arthur Backal – apparently mason jars and glassware are also pretty huge this year.

“In the past year or so, Mason jars have become the trendiest accessory, tableware, decoration, or container,” Backal explains. “They can be used for food presentation such as layering salads, desserts, or candy displays. They can also be used for flower arrangements or floating candle setups. You can paint them for a mosaic look or layer colored rice for the theme of your event.”

“Instead of using the same champagne flute and glassware, change up all the sizes and colors to give more variety and eye appeal for your holiday event,” he adds. “Put away your clear glasses and bring in a mixture of colorful containers in different sizes. Display glass vases in varying shades of the same color sitting on your window ledge. Use a variety of colors and patterns of napkins and tablecloths and tie it altogether with coordinating centerpieces.”

Festive Global Technology

Last, but not least – and certainly not the least bit surprising – is the fact that technology and travel will play a greater role in this year’s holiday events than ever before. Social media will continue to remain a prominent component of event management moving into 2016, meaning that adding a Tweetwall to your event is the perfect way to encourage social media use. Of course, comfort is still king amidst all the technological marvels.

“Comfort is trending when it comes to creating places for your holiday guests to relax and gather,” says Lamagna. “Use what your venue has and build around it. If there’s a fireplace, reserve it for a Norman Rockwell-style space with wingback chairs and plush pillows in holiday colors.”

Closing Thoughts

Mind you, I’m just laying out all these trends for you as something of a guideline. No one says you need to follow all of them – or really, any of them – to a T. What I would advise is that you implement at least a few of them into your own events, while still retaining whatever it is that makes the experience you offer wholly unique to attendees.