If you think that festive lighting should be relegated to the 6-or-so weeks between the end of November and beginning of January, we understand: the term “festive lighting” is one that most people tend to associate with Christmas and the winter holidays, which may include Thanksgiving in the US and the New Year’s celebrations worldwide.
The thing is that the 2-3 months before December and the 2-3 months after December are full of fun festivities and activities that could be enhanced by light. Shopping centers invest significant time, effort and budget in their festive lighting, so why not make that investment work a little harder and use the same festive displays with minor tweaks to create atmosphere for a solid six months of the year.
How might this work?
The short answer is this: by taking a modular approach to festive lighting. Christmas and the holidays need to be the main event, but if you plan your festive lighting far enough in advance, you can drip-feed experiences from September to March, and give people even more reasons to visit your shopping center.
September: Celebrate the start of autumn
In the northern hemisphere, September signals the end of summer, the start of autumn, and also the start of the new school and university year. For many, it’s a time of endings and beginnings, and it’s a great opportunity to welcome people back into your retail space after the summer holidays.
How to celebrate with light: combine warm white light with seasonal design elements and autumnal marketing campaigns to help shoppers get used to the shortening days, lengthening nights, and the warm welcome available in your center.
October: Create a scary or silly Halloween treat
In the USA, Halloween is the 2nd largest commercial holiday in the country, and love it or hate it, it’s now a popular holiday with children and young adults across the globe. Trick-or-treaters are no longer uncommon in Germany and Austria, and as far back as 2015, the Associated Press reported that some 20 million Japanese would observe Halloween, and create between 170 and 250 million US dollars in economic impact.
The bottom line: Halloween is a big business and if you’re not part of the celebrations, you may well be missing out.
How to celebrate with light: remove the autumnal touches, add photo points and thematic light motifs (that you can use in future months) and decorate with spook or scary elements.
November: Think about Thanksgiving, harvest time, or fashion
Once Halloween is over, remove the scary effects and tailor the atmosphere of your center to your audience. In North America, harvest themes and Thanksgiving take pride of place, so use existing light motifs from October and couple them with spaces where people can gather, share time and share memories.
Elsewhere in the world, people are getting ready for the Christmas party season, so shine a light on fun fashion.
How to celebrate with light: you’re moving towards the Christmas season, so combine harvest touches with fashion elements and lots of seasonal sparkle to get people in the mood – all before you start playing “Last Christmas” on your center’s speakers!
December: Get festive!
This is when it’s time to roll out your holiday extravaganza!
How to celebrate with light: all the atmosphere lighting in your center is also part of your holiday lighting – because it’s modular – so this is when magical concepts appear. Light art and light sculptures, beautiful Christmas trees, fun photo points, traditional scenes or innovative & interactive experiences. All tailored to your space, your audience and your campaign.
January: Celebrate Chinese New Year. Or focus on fashion.
Depending on where you live, January is a great time to shine a light on Chinese New Year (celebrated by roughly one quarter of the world’s population) or have fun with a fashion theme to tie in with the fashion weeks that take place across the globe at the end of January and early February.
How to celebrate with light: remove Christmas motifs and elements, and cut right back to a simple, atmospheric lighting experience. Add lanterns and dragons to celebrate Chinese New Year, or reuse fashion motifs from November to brighten up what some say is the most depressing month of the year.
February: Create a heart-warming space
Continue celebrating Chinese New Year (it lasts for around 20-25 days), or turn your attention to Valentine’s Day.
How to celebrate with light: add heart motifs to your existing festive lighting, and consider bringing in a stand-out light sculpture with built-in interactivity that encourages people to share a quick kiss or a hug. Couple that with a social media or giveaway campaign and you’ll be in great shape!
March: The start of spring
Finally, the end of winter is in sight, and you can see that people are ready for their summer holidays! This is a great time to bring your festive lighting to a bright, beautiful end, coupling simple lights with fresh flowers, Easter photo points and motifs and perhaps even a light-filled Spring market!
How to celebrate with light: keep your warm white atmosphere lighting and enhance their effect with fresh and natural elements. Use the light to enhance center-focused activities and events: summer fashion shows, food markets, organic plant sales. See your shoppers literally “blossom”!
April might be the time to pack away your festive lighting for until after the summer holidays. OR: it might be an opportunity to combine your festive motifs from the last 6 months and create a one-of-a-kind light trail… But that’s another story for another time – ask us if you’re curious.
Hopefully this gives you a feel for just how versatile festive lighting can be, and how one investment can keep on delivering results for as long as six months.
Excited? Ready to explore the possibilities?
So are we! Get in touch with us to see what might work for your community and your space. Better be quick, though: September is only eight short months away…