From Mushroom Mania to Self-Care: Top Trends Spotted at NY Now Winter Gift and Home Show

play-date-logoFebruary 13, 2023 | As The Toy Association continues to monitor trends in parallel industries and their potential impact on the toy space, its trends team was on-site last week at NY Now’s winter show to look at the latest trends shaping the gift and home industries and how they may influence the toy space.

Here’s a breakdown of a few trends to watch:

Mushrooms Go Mainstream
Perhaps an offshoot of “cottagecore” and whimsical, fantasy-focused trends that continue to resonate with consumers, mushrooms were a highly visible theme at NY Now. In the home space, mushrooms are playing into the maximalism style trend and serving as inspiration for everything from funky accent pillows to lamps, tablescapes, ornaments, and more. In the toy aisle this year, keep an eye out for shroom motifs and themes (sometimes paired with gnomes) across games, puzzles, plush, and more.

IRL Trends
NY Now included the Bulletin Pavilion for the first time. The new, dedicated space featured curated brands from, a premium commerce community highlighting new and emerging brands.

Encouraging buyers and trend hunters to embrace digital commercy, a QR code at the entry of the pavilion directed guests to discover more online. As trends on social media and other digital platforms continue to evolve into real-life trends, digital will serve an even more important role for brand and product discovery. (Bulletin was acquired by show organizers, Emerald Holding, last year.)

Gifts that Give Back
The Toy Association called out “products with a purpose,” i.e. those that support causes ranging from sustainability to social justice as a trend to watch in 2022. And based on the products seen at NY Now, it’s a trend that continues to have an impact across all industries. Booths that displayed naturally dyed apparel using florals (Laila); fair trade felt puppets, bird houses, and home décor (dZi Handmade); and earth-friendly puzzles that support the featured artists (Art & Fable Puzzles), among others, emphasized company commitments to causes that matter and a consumer demand for them. In the toy space, be on the lookout for more products and partnerships that lower carbon footprints and match consumers’ values.

Self-Care & Comfort
NY Now had an entire section dedicated to beauty and wellness, but an emphasis on soothing the soul was found in products well outside the beauty space at the show. Some that took a playful approach to self-care included Pinch Me’s Therapy Dough (which also supports the Wounded Warrior Project with every purchase), Noelle Van’s Teen Daybook bulletin journals, and Mood Food’s sensory fidget bottles and Pep Talk positive affirmation mirror clings. Cheeky plush characters from Punchkins and Hugimals’ weighed stuffed animals also reflected the trend. For toys and games, expect this to translate to a shift back to classic play patterns that provide equal doses of comfort and fun.

As The Toy Association continues to track the evolution of these and other trends influencing the toy and play space, be sure to mark your calendars for The Toy Association’s annual “Toy Trends Briefing,” taking place March 8 at The Play Date, the exclusive Q1 media-only event presented by The Toy Association and Adventure Media & Events in New York City. A longer-form digital version of the presentation featuring additional toy examples will be released following the live presentation on The Toy Association’s YouTube channel.

Additional trends insights are available at