Pointy Hats and Wooden Crates: The Year-Round Resurgence of Gnome Mania
In the midst of St. Petersburg’s Shopapalooza, an event attracting eager customers, one vendor, Gnome Sweet Gnome, stole the show. The $45 handmade gnomes were a hot commodity, swiftly outpacing the traditional elf on the shelf in popularity.
The assortment of gnomes was diverse, ranging from Santa Claus and Hanukkah gnomes to unexpected characters like Guy Fieri gnomes. Ellen Noble, the owner of Gnome Sweet Gnome, and her husband, Tim, carefully packaged each purchase in clear plastic bags filled with green confetti paper, accompanied by a wooden crate to provide the gnome with a garden-like setting.
Noble initially began her gnome business in Miami three years ago, aiming to spread joy during the Christmas season. However, as the popularity of gnomes surged, her offerings expanded to include gnomes for various holidays and occasions. Custom designs became a staple, featuring coffee-lover gnomes and Disney-themed gnomes.
The fascination with gnomes is not limited to Gnome Sweet Gnome. Across the United States, major retailers such as Target, Five Below, Dollar Tree, and HomeGoods are capitalizing on the trend, offering gnome-related products from figurines to wrapping paper.
The surge in gnome popularity can be traced back to the 1800s in Germany when lawn gnomes became popular as garden ornaments. In recent years, the whimsical creatures have experienced a resurgence in popular culture, with movies like “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Gnomeo & Juliet” contributing to their renewed appeal.
The pandemic further fueled the gnome trend, coinciding with the rise of “cottagecore” and the broader interest in fairytale elements. This led to the emergence of “gnomecore,” a sub-aesthetic celebrating these mythical creatures.
Gnomes are now more than just Christmas decorations; they have become a year-round phenomenon. The Google Trends data indicates a significant increase in searches for gnome products since 2019, with gnomes maintaining relevance even during non-holiday seasons.
According to Carol Osborne, a marketing and advertising expert at the University of South Florida, the current climate, where people seek happiness and coziness, has contributed to the popularity of gnomes. Brands are quick to catch on, promoting gnomes as essential items in the realm of holiday decorations alongside wreaths and lights.
With their endearing features and adaptability, gnomes have become a versatile and beloved symbol, representing everything from spring butterflies to fall scarecrows. As gnomes continue to capture the public’s imagination, their simple charm transcends seasons, making them a timeless and cherished addition to homes nationwide.