The Christmas World Trade Fair that takes place every year in January in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, sees itself as the trend indicator for all things Christmas.

Yet if there is one trend, then at best it is this one: there is no distinct trend. There are many developments, many influences, and some preferences and in the end, every retailer has to decide for himself what is best for him in the next season.

Many colors are in fashion

What is confusing for instance is the question of which colors will be "in" for the next Christmas or the Christmas after next. Purple was recently trendy, but now more pastel shades are supposed to be in fashion. Then again: gold, silver or red almost always work, even though they are no longer quite as dominant as they were decades ago. In an interview on this focal topic, trend scout Claudia Herke describes even four styles and color schemes that you should keep an eye on. Her descriptions are dazzling. Claudia Herke talks about "Soft Cloud" or "Cool Vibrancy", which she and her partners visualized at the Christmas world trade show on behalf of the trade fair at the "Trendschau" (trend show) and the "Trendbuch" (trend book).

Christmas store window: Textilhaus (fashion boutique) Heermann in Wertle, Emsland district in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Many exhibitors who offered visitors their trend brochures, also created color schemes with sparkling names. The Christmas Trend Group, an association of manufacturers of different products, presented five theme ideas in 2012. The spectrum ranges from "Alpenglück"(loosely translated as the Happiness of the Alps) all the way to the emotional and dazzling "Future the Past" and the ice-blue "Mer de Glace". In the previous year it was called "Frozen Nature".

Christmas trees, ornaments and a lot more

Alex Reeger does not believe in all this. He was an exhibitor at EuroShop as well as the Christmasworld trade show; at the latter, his Austrian partner MK Illumination joined him. Reeger produces artificial Christmas trees for shopping centers, department stores, boutiques or city marketing. He additionally purchases lighting, ornaments, snow decorations and ribbons. "People ask us about current color trends and then usually choose something more conservative to play it safe", says Reeger. Yet he also notices one trend: the Americanization with more and more Christmas lights and opulent Christmas tree decorations is slowly fading.

Green topics are becoming more and more important for retailers. Reeger also notices this. "Sure, real Christmas trees come from nature", he concedes, "but they are often grown in monocultures." Due to fire prevention, real conifers are not allowed in department stores or shopping centers, but in smaller stores, they can be seen more often. Since Christmas in retail already starts by mid-November, the trees are likely to needle before Christmas in the dry, warm air of the air-conditioned environments.

LEDs for different lighting moods

LEDs are unstoppable when it comes to Christmas lighting. Oftentimes people use warm-white light to set the prevailing mood and cool white stars, ice crystals or snowflakes can set striking design accents. In recent years, the light-emitting diodes have gotten cheaper and cheaper. Modern control technology make changing lighting possible. dodenhof demonstrates this brilliantly. The exit to the shopping center in Posthausen is a glorious sea of the small diode lights, whose change of lights creates the illusion of falling snowflakes. Read in the second interview on this focal topic, how much planning is behind all this and what dodenhof showcases within its shopping center during Christmas.