Christmas Planning Starts Earlier Than You Think

In this article, our General Manager, Kieren Colville, discusses the importance and benefits of planning early when it comes to bespoke Christmas decorations and activations for shopping centres.

With Christmas being a significant marketing spend for shopping centres, and purchased decorations representing an important capital spend, we recommend planning for new displays early. For major displays and bespoke designs, especially across a portfolio of assets, planning a year in advance and booking before April provides key benefits in terms of design, delivery, and budget optimisation.

Custom designed displays, decorations and activations that are specifically designed for your customers and asset, deserve the time to get your concept development through to final delivery.

The perfect time for an initial contact with Christmas suppliers is in November or December of the year before you want to roll out the new decorations or displays. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive when you are in the midst of your current Christmas campaigns, however this is a great time to put together the design brief for your next Christmas project.

November and December are also the perfect months to visit sites and explore what is out there. Social media is full of inspirational content that can provide ideas about styles, colours, finishes and types of decorative and interactive features.

Time spent evaluating and researching current trends will allow for the development of a comprehensive design brief, ensuring the delivery of a product that will delight your customers. At Dec the Malls, our teams are more than happy to offer advice on key inclusions to optimise budget requirements and make the process of design and production through to final delivery seamless.

By January, most suppliers are already designing for the following Christmas. International trade shows provide additional inspiration and fresh concepts that can be incorporated into the proposals we’re creating for centres. Off the back of the trade shows, we’re also able to offer early bird pricing on new feature displays and bespoke decoration suites that are booked before mid-March.

When seeking multiple quotes or going through a tender process, we recommend holding a mandatory briefing session for the invited suppliers in January or February. This allows all suppliers to get the same essential information and enables an easy comparison of proposals.

In our experience, having design and budget approval completed by the end of March is ideal, especially if there are components being sourced from Europe. This is where shipping times become an important consideration. We generally close orders by June so that products are fully packed, assembled, with final safety checks performed locally, in readiness for delivery by the end of September.

When approvals extend beyond those closing dates, there becomes a decreasing scope to customise displays and have them delivered in time for Christmas. From this point, designs become increasingly reliant on locally held warehouse stock.

When it comes to Christmas planning, the earlier, the better. Magical, bespoke decorations, feature displays and immersive activations take time to design, produce and deliver. Starting the process at least a year in advance means centres will be able to delight their customers and retailers with stunning displays.

For a consultation, please contact Dec the Malls on +61 8 6465 3040 or

(Article first published on Shopping Centre News, 14 March  –