It’s not even Halloween yet, and Christmas displays are already up at most local malls. This year, stores aren’t hoping that quirky holiday fads will entice shoppers to spend, like upside-down Christmas trees, or cartoon character ornaments. This year, it’s all about nostalgia and tradition. According to MSNBC, that means plenty of old-fashioned gingerbread houses, peppermint-frosted cookies, and traditional red, green and gold ornaments. Why? Nostalgia is safe and comforting. Dr. Kit Yarrow is a professor of consumer psychology at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She says reminiscing about the “good old days” puts people in a better mood, something that’s especially helpful during tough economic times. Stores are desperately hoping that nostalgia will boost sales. For most stores, the holidays account for 40% of annual sales, and with so many stores on the edge of bankruptcy, this year could be a make-or-break shopping season. Here’s how some stores are handling the trend:

  • First, the Home Shopping Network ditched their peacock-themed Christmas, put old-fashioned tartan plaid on everything from ornaments to wrapping paper, and decorated stockings with classic designs, like angels, snowmen and Santas.
  • Also, Hallmark eliminated greeting cards that focus on gift-giving, and created cards that promote getting together with family and friends.
  • In line with the nostalgia theme, 1-800-Flowers eliminated pricey gift baskets filled with exotic teas and wine. They’re now focusing on less-expensive, traditional edibles, like roasted nuts and peppermint crunch cookies.
  • Big box stores like Costco are selling fewer giant outdoor displays, like blow-up lawn decorations, in favor of smaller interior decorations, like nativity scenes.
  • In years past, Home Depot experimented with trendy Christmas colors, like brown and purple, but they’ve gone back to traditional red, green and gold. You won’t find a single upside-down Christmas tree at Home Depot this year.

As Dr. Yarrow says, "When the world feels upside down, you don't want your tree to be.”