Coronavirus driving outdoor holiday decoration craze

Splurging on outdoor decorations is the new way to display holiday spirit against new restrictions on social gatherings and traditional rituals with family and friends

The coronavirus pandemic a turbulent election and economic devastation seem to be driving more people to deck the halls earlier this year, even though the holiday spirit might look reimagined.

For the holiday decorating company Christmas Decor, inquiries for light and display installations began rolling in around April, a phenomenon that the company hasn’t seen since its inception.

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“People are looking for something to feel hopeful about and they want to feel good,” Christmas Decor President Brandon Stephens told FOX Business. “People have been cooped up in their homes, and they're just they're looking to make it a little bit more festive -- a little bit more tolerable.”

The company’s franchises have seen business up 15% to 20% compared with last year, with crews running at full steam to meet the demand of “frantic lighting” trends.

Christmas Decor’s professional lighting and display services cater to the resolve of what many are turning to amid the pandemic- adding a little light to a dark year. According to Stephens, holiday light presentations are a luxury that many people can afford this year after cancelled vacation plans or conventional activities like going to the movies or dining out.

“It’s evident that many people haven’t had a great year and want to at least finish the year strong with a little bit of happiness,” Stephens said.

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And this year, splurging on outdoor decorations is the new way to display holiday spirit against new restrictions on social gatherings and traditional rituals with family and friends.

Oriental Trading, the nation’s largest party supply and holiday decoration retailer and wholesaler, has made a business out of personalized yard signs alone this year, according to CEO Steve Mendlik. Custom letter designs grew in popularity for those looking to spruce up their front lawns alongside virtual graduations and social distanced birthday parties. It came as no surprise that the holiday season would further drive the demand.

Oriental Trading screenshot/ FOX Business (FOX Business)

“Our customers are finding that they’re not able to do some of the large events or traditional things that they traditionally do around the holidays,” Mendlik said. “As a result, they are substituting things that they have a little bit more control over like decorating their own house  and their own yard and creating special environments for themselves.”

While the company, owned by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, has seen traffic in its outdoor decor category surge 91% over the past few months, its faith-based categories have slumped as churches and schools scale back on large holiday events such as nativity pageants.

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In addition to personalized letter signs, reindeer parking LED signs, light up candy canes, among others are trending well on its e-commerce website.

Oriental Trading screenshot/ FOX Business (FOX Business)

And with more people spending time indoors, old school holiday activities making a comeback, with gingerbread house kits and other craft-based activities up. The company has also introduced pre-made holiday goody bags to spread cheer without contact and to ensure safety.

“There are a lot of things that are on the list of what people can’t do this year,” Mendlik said. “People are looking to spread the spirit in other ways, and I think that kind of traditional flavor is coming through the holidays.”

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