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Supply Chain Shortages Are Dimming Christmas Displays

“The hobby, it’s just exploding at a rate that we’ve never seen,” said Rich Bianco, vice president of Transworld Trade Shows, which puts on a yearly convention for Christmas products. “Homes are putting on shows and dropping, like, $10,000 a year on their house.”

Extreme decorators — those who invest more than $10,000 in their displays over several years — are not feeling the supply chain pinch as acutely as beginners, Mr. Bianco said. But because many extreme decorators try to outdo their neighbors — and themselves — every year, the effects of the shortage are still being widely felt.

Dana Soltesz, 47, was struggling to find lights that look like flames for her “ice and fire” light show at her home in Delmont, Pa. She and about 60 of her neighbors were competing this month for a best light show title.

Half of Ms. Soltesz’s house is drizzled in blue and white string lights, the other half in red and white. Finding the red lights “has been like a scavenger hunt,” she said, adding that she had to visit 10 stores before she found enough.

Her neighbors were also having a difficult time. One resorted to making large ornaments out of hula hoops, she said; another used old disco balls. (The winner of the contest managed to find an inflatable Santa riding on a dinosaur.)

Cynthia Branch, 46, of Knoxville, Tenn., was still waiting on a colorful sign that says “joy.”

She placed the order in July at Christmas Expo, a three-day holiday decorating convention that drew about 1,500 attendees to Las Vegas, and was still waiting for it this week.

“We kept saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on with our delivery?’” said Ms. Branch, a veterinary technician who has been decorating her house for Christmas for seven years.

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