Supply Chain Shortages Are Dimming Christmas Displays


Anyone who drives by her house is not likely to notice. She has thousands of pixels — individual lights that can change color on their own, allowing for more elaborate shows.

Her display, which she begins planning in March, has an animal theme this year, with an illuminated giraffe, flamingo, lion, owl and donkey. There is also a 40-pound glowing snowflake on her roof. On the lawn, a 10-foot “mega tree” composed of pixel lights stands next to a seven-foot tree that flickers and flashes to the beat of songs like “Let It Go,” from the Disney film “Frozen,” during a 30-minute show.

“Even though it’s a lot of work, it’s worth it, just making people smile,” Ms. Branch said.

Many vendors have been struggling to help decorators achieve that aura.

Christina Gilbert, the co-owner of Gilbert Engineering USA, a holiday prop design business in Florence, Ariz., said she had received dozens of angry emails and voice mail and Facebook messages from desperate customers who had been waiting longer than usual for plastic snowflakes and pixel-dotted wreaths.

“People are under the gun to get their shows up and running, right? And it is stressful,” she said. “We’re not Amazon,” she added. “We’re a family small business that is a part of the lighting community.”

Jeff Haberman, who teaches classes at decorating conventions, said “almost nobody has cables right now.” Enclosures — weatherproof boxes that protect controllers for lights — are selling on eBay for $45, triple the usual price, he said.

Josh Trees, the owner of, a business that hangs lights in houses and operates in 86 locations across the country, said “supply chain issues definitely affected us because the demand was bigger than any other year that I’ve seen.”



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