By: Tara Campbell

Moments matter most: Holiday stock media trends of the season

This holiday season is notably different from years past. Shifts in markets, metaverse births, several political shifts, and psychological awakenings after years spent avoiding each other have shaped our collective experience and how we are viewing festivities this time round.

What’s changed in holiday images?

Traditionally, this time of year is fraught with frivolous spending, big parties, and overconsumption. It’s a joyous celebration, but holidays have also taken on an overbearing presence in recent years with Christmas music and holiday paraphernalia lining store shelves as early as October. This year looks quite different and may symbolize a shift in years to come.

Inflation is the highest it’s been in North America in over 40 years. Supply chain issues continue to disrupt production and wait times for consumer goods. Economic instability, in combination with a looming recession, affects the way we think about money and how we choose to spend our hard-earned cash during the holidays. Combine that with emerging from two years of isolation, and we’re going to have a decidely different perspective on festivities.

In response to this new set of concerns, the overarching theme from trend reports, visual media forecasters, and historical data is a move to spend less and focus on the small moments that fill the season with warmth and comfort.

We live in an experience economy – meaning that we’re no longer willing to settle for superficial ads and content crafted with tired old marketing tactics. And if you talk to Gen Z the traditional ads are dead. We’re not as easily bought by the blind opulence and fast fashion of the past. We want to be romanced. We want to feel something. And we want it to be personal. Moving. Touching. Meaningful. And after 2 years of “going internal” — developing dedicated selfcare practices, normalizing therapists, and self-diagnosing our adult ADHD — the collective call is to get out into the world and live our lives — and feel good doing it, dammit.

So, as we hurdle toward the season of traditional excess, overspending, overeating, stress shopping, and regretful hangovers, we’re reframing how we experience the holidays. In 2022, we are creating new, meaningful “mini moments” and wholesome micro parties to celebrate.

Micro-moments for maximum merriment

What are mini-moments and micro-gatherings, you ask? They’re the little things that we miss when we are too busy worrying about things that don’t actually matter. They’re the product of a call to be present with one another this season.

We are making more of a big deal out of little things that really, in the movie of our lives, are the moments that symbolize happiness. The simple, sweet times that have a tendency to fly under the radar. These are the moments to consider when thinking about how you want to frame your festive visual media and communications this year.

Mini moments can range from making an event of cooking Kwanzaa dinner together, a Christmas tree decorating party, an apple cider tasting, a board game night, baby’s first menorah lighting, baking and burning cookies, any of the special events that surround and get overshadowed by the main occasion. Mini-moments can also be new traditions inbetween the big parties like harvest festivals or outdoor solstice celebrations.

Holiday images of small gatherings make for big feelings

In addition to celebrating smaller moments, we’re also doing things in smaller groups – not because we HAVE to but because we WANT to. This year, we are making efforts to connect and spend quality time with people we like rather than avoiding our feelings with consumption oblivion.

That being said, big glamorous parties are still happening! And there is value in integrating them into Christmas marketing campaigns and holiday roll out strategies. But they are contending more this year with smaller, more intimate gatherings with games and activities at the center. This year, we are seemingly more wholesome, and your holiday projects can reflect both things.

As you may have guessed, we have done some of the work for you and curated a Moments Matter Most collection that captures trending micro gatherings and mini moments. Show your audience how little moments make big memories this holiday season.


Stock media that reflects unplugging and reconnecting

In addition to the changes in size and intention behind our holiday gatherings, this holiday season, we are looking for a respite from the pressures of a fast-paced, digitized world. Notifications, responsibilities, social media vortices — screentime overload is real. Many of us now are intimately familiar with the post-party shameover scroll cave that offers only self-loathing to console/make things worse. After years of limited contact paired with obsessive TikTok consumption (don’t look at me), we are ready to take some time away from our devices and reconnect with analog activities. (But if you are going to scroll TikTok, Stocksy is there to entertain.)

Self-care rituals, crafting, slow hobbies, reimagined traditions, and digital detoxes are the remedy this year. More of us are escaping the whole holiday hubbub with cabin getaways, retreats, and intentional wifi-free time. Think puzzles, board games, naps by the fire, snowy walks in nature, etc. Those of us that have always wanted to knit bad scarves for friends and family are finally finding the time to shine. Take the wholesome meter to the max and showcase imagery of ice skating and hot cocoa. Or, in the southern hemisphere, show a sandman building day at the beach. These are the activities that are gaining favor and momentum this year.

Reflect the move toward digital detoxes and slow respites in your holiday projects and campaigns by showcasing stock media that communicates the absolute relief of leaving it all behind in favor of a good book or a pleasantly competitive game of backgammon.

Explore the holiday digital detox trend with our curated Winter Without Wifi collection.


Holiday moments matter most

This season is a refocus to what matters. Whether the mini gatherings are with biological families, chosen families, small groups of friends, furry friends, or time spent alone taking care of ourselves, this year is about noting and leaning into the micro-moments. Savor the little things and make a big impact this holiday season with stock media that celebrates the moments that matter most.

Explore more curated holiday content