Holiday lights: Sales short out

holiday lightsSanta's reindeer may have a little trouble finding good little boys and girls' homes this Christmas due to a reported nationwide shortage of holiday lights. While the economy slowly rebounds, holiday light displays are selling out at home centers and discount retailers around the country.

Despite low-cost holiday cheer being all the rage this year, consumer willingness to put the Ho-Ho in holiday light displays hasn't faltered, resulting in some décor categories selling faster than the speed of light. However, with lots of stock on their hands after the underwhelming 2008 holiday season, retailers ordered less for 2009. That, coupled with mild November weather, seems to have motivated shoppers to get a jump on designing their holiday lighting schemes and fueling the shortage. Increased interest in energy-saving LED holiday lighting options has likewise helped to clear store shelves, as consumers discover they can enjoy the usual sparkle with a much lower electric bill come January.

The holiday lighting shortage has taken retailers big and small by surprise, and may do the same to you if you've been stalling on the décor front. If last year's holiday lights have lost their twinkle, replacement may not be your only option. Low cost holiday light repairs are possible and may save you the cost and hassle of buying new.

If new holiday lights are your only option, be sure to call ahead to confirm what's still in stock. Most retailers won't be ordering or receiving any more shipments at this point in the season, so the remaining twinkle on store shelves is pretty much the best you're going to get.

However, no matter what level of illumination you find your home in this season, children should rest assured there's still a good chance Santa will find his way – but only if they were very, very good.

Tom Kraeutler delivers tips on saving energyeach week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program. He is also AOL's Home Improvement Editor and author of "My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure."

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