A traditional Christmas shopping story with a Covid twist

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A traditional Christmas shopping story with a Covid twist

Customers shop for Christmas decorations at an Emart branch in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Dec. 14. [NEWS1]

Customers shop for Christmas decorations at an Emart branch in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Dec. 14. [NEWS1]

It’s starting to look a lot like a Covid Christmas as retailers report a boom in the sale of holiday home decorations.
People are so desperate to celebrate, they are buying up a storm and decking the halls of their work-from-home homes and their Level-2.5-ish isolation, at least that’s the argument.
According to online interior platform Today Home, demand for Christmas home decorations has been high since November, and sales of these items since Nov. 1 spiked 240 percent compared to same period a year earlier.
Christmas trees are particularly popular.
Sales of Christmas trees at Gmarket during the Dec. 4 to Dec. 10 period jumped 77 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
The trend is led not only by households with kids but also many people who are in their 20s and 30s and living alone.
“I used to enjoy the Christmas season every end of the year at nice restaurants or cafes with my friends,” Kim Mi-ji, an office worker who is in her 30s, said. “But as I can’t go out this winter, I purchased a small tree to decorate my home instead.”  
Hong Jin-hee, a mother with two kids, recently purchased many Christmas decorations.
“Our family had been feeling blue as we’ve been going through the pandemic for nearly a year,” Hong said. “To give a change to the mood of our home, I decorated it with some Christmas-spirited decorations, and I think it’s very helpful.”
Innovation abounds.
Unlike in the past, when people traditionally bought evergreen trees for Christmas trees, people now enjoy making a Christmas tree on the wall. It doesn’t require a large space or a lot of money — people can simply decorate with some branches, lights and ornaments.
“Popular wall Christmas tree products currently have some 1,000 to 1,700 reviews from customers. The large number of reviews reflects the popularity of the product,” said a spokesperson for Today Home.
Christmas props are also gaining popularity.
For some people who can’t buy big Christmas trees or wall trees, they are trying to create the Christmas mood with some props, such as candlesticks, candle holders and lights.
“This year, demand for Christmas-themed lights and props is higher than in past years as they require less space than real trees,” said Kim Chan-su, head of Gmarket’s living product team. “Especially, the sales of candlesticks and candle holders this year increased more than 6.5 times on year.”
BY YOON KYUNG-HEE   [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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