I have been observing trends in Christmas decorations for some time now, and I think I have developed a generalized theory to describe their trends.. There are four phases to the Christmas decoration product lifecycle, and the first three phases typically last one holiday season. They are as follows:
- Bleeding Edge – One or two people in your area have the decoration. These people are almost like the beta testers for the product… More accurately, they are like Patient 0 for the meme.
- Cutting Edge – A handful of people, perhaps 5% of your local population, have discovered this decoration and have purchased it and put it on display. What’s interesting about this phase is that if the product has made it to this phase, it will continue on through the subsequent phases. While a product might die on the vine at the first phase, once it’s “cool” enough for this handful of people to adopt it, it will achieve traction with the rest of the decorating community.
- Fad – A huge percentage of the decorating population has bought several of these decorations.. Things are completely out of hand, and headed for disaster. (i.e. 2004’s “Inflatable Decoration” craze)
- Passé – This is the endgame… The only people who continue using this decoration in their display are those who don’t realize how lame it has become. Sometimes this period is very brief, and only a few people try to perpetuate this decoration (i.e. the christmas lights with complicated, seizure-inducing blink patterns), but this period can also be drawn out and involve a reasonable swath of the population (i.e. “Icicle Lights” in 2004).
Now, applying this theory to the present,
It is important to note that I expect it to be possible, on the rare occasion, that a decoration mired in the “Passé” could circle back around to “Bleeding Edge” if it had become obscure enough and “rediscovered”. In fact, I suspect that the “Animated Light Display” has been around the block before. It is also important to point out that distinguishing between Bleeding and Cutting edge can be difficult at times, so it is possible that both the orbs and animated displays are still in their infancy..