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American Made Christmas Lights?

American Made Christmas Lights?

If you are reading this article you may be one of the many people we talk to each year who are in search of a Christmas light set that is made in the United States. This article is not the secret key to finding American made Christmas lights and YES our Christmas lights are made in China but it does explore the history of the Christmas light manufacturing industry in the United States as well as some of the issues and concerns consumers have about Chinese made products.

Are Any Christmas Lights Made in the United States

Since I know that much of my audience has only read this far in the hopes of finding a source for American made Christmas lights I will address that issue first. I have been responsible for purchasing Christmas lighting for HolidayLEDs.com for four years now and have learned a lot about the holiday lighting industry. In preparation to write this article I spoke to representatives of the largest Christmas lighting companies in the U.S. The individuals I spoke with have over 60 years combined experience in the Christmas lighting industry. If anyone in the world would know of a source for American made Christmas lights these two people would and to their knowledge there is no U.S. manufacture of Christmas lights. However, I didn't stop there. I conducted my own search for an American made holiday light set. Using several different search terms I scoured the internet for anyone who sold Christmas lights made in America. I found none. (Actually, I found one blog post which had a link to a company that allegedly sold American made Christmas lights. The company is called The Lights Before Christmas and the link to their site provided by the blog post is broken.)

I also found that Yahoo Answers doesn't even know where to find U.S. made Christmas lights. Neither do the variety of directory sites dedicated to businesses that sell American made products.

The industry experts don't know of anyone who makes Christmas lights in the United States and neither does Google or Yahoo! so I feel comfortable saying that there are no U.S. manufacturers of Christmas lights.

Why Aren't Christmas Lights Made in America?

There are a number of reasons that Christmas lights are not currently manufactured in the United States but before we examine the current manufacturing environment for holiday lighting it is important to have some historical prospective.

Christmas lights were invented in the United States in the 1920's and were manufactured here by several companies including General Electric. In fact, until the early 1960's an American company was the largest manufacturer of Christmas lights in the world. The NOMA company prospered making Christmas lights in the U.S. until it lost most of its business to foreign competitors who were able to manufacture the light sets for less money. Because the manufacture of Christmas lights involves many process that cannot be automated, companies located in countries where manual labor was cheap began to dominate the market. The American consumer wants more for less--it's really that simple. In order to give the American consumer the value they have come to demand, manufacturer's of Christmas lights and other products were forced to look abroad for cheaper sources of labor.

Currently, the majority of Christmas lights are made in China because that country has a large pool of relatively cheap labor and large supplies of the raw materials needed to manufacture Christmas lights such as copper. However, this will likely change in the next decade or so as China's economic success has pushed wages up and there is no longer such a large excess supply of labor.

My industry experts estimated that the cost to manufacture the light sets sold by HolidayLEDs.com would more than triple if it were made in the United States. This would likely price any American made LED Christmas lights out of the market.

What's Wrong with Chinese Made Christmas Lights?

Consumer objections to Chinese made products including Christmas lights are varied and range from valid concerns over work conditions and child labor to wholly unsubstantiated concerns about Christian slave labor. Others object to purchasing foreign made goods because they believe it causes the loss of American jobs. A third common concern relates to the safety of Chinese made products.

Child Labor Concerns

Informed consumers should be concerned about the working conditions and labor practices of the companies they buy products from. Child labor abuse is a serious problem and should not be tolerated by anyone. However, most reputable American companies who import products from China conduct regular audits of their suppliers to ensure that the facilities that manufacture their products comply with strict regulations. One the of the requirements is that the foreign factories comply with western child labor laws. The manufacturer of our products does not use child labor.

Loss of American Jobs

Since the early days in America we have used foreign labor to do jobs that Americans did not want to do or were unwilling to do. The earliest and probably most common example of this was the use of Chinese immigrant labor to build the first transcontinental railroad. As the American economy developed and grew and we entered the industrial revolution much of the manufacturing was done in the United States. However, as our economy matured, new technologies were developed, and our labor forces became more sophisticated it became necessary to move production of products that required unskilled labor abroad in order to remain competitive.

However, although much of the unskilled labor involved in the production of the products we consumed moved abroad, our economy grew in new areas including technology and software development, e-commerce, and information technology. All of the major corporations of the internet age such as Google, Amazon.com, and Microsoft and are American companies.

The efforts of American companies, workers and consumers should not be wasted trying to find ways to force American companies to manufacture products that require unskilled labor in the U.S. This is not a reasonable or obtainable goal. Instead, our efforts should be focused on developing and expanding businesses and jobs in the U.S. which cannot be done abroad.

Safety of Chinese Made Products

The relative safety of Chinese or other foreign made products has become an increasing concern as several Chinese made products have been found to contain hazardous or toxic chemicals. This is also a very legitimate concern especially for products such as children's toys or pet items. In order to ensure that the products you buy are safe you should be sure that the product complies with any applicable U.S. standards body requirements. For example, Underwriters Laboratory is the primary safety standards body in the U.S. for the certification of consumer electronics. All of our LED Christmas lights are UL approved.

Closing Thoughts

We strongly believe in supporting the American economy and try to purchase American made products whenever possible. However, in many cases American made products simply aren't available. Producing Christmas lights in the United States is not feasible now and probably will not be in the future so we are focused on helping the Michigan and U.S. economies by growing our business and hiring new employees.

Comments

Xmas lights

As much as I would prefer American made Xmas lights, I could not afford to pay triple the cost. If that were the case, there would be a lot less holiday decorating. I purchased battery operated mini lights a number of times, and most of them didn't work. They were poorly constructed and the battery/conductors didn't even match properly, so it was no wonder that some of them didn't work. I can't even imagine how much of this junk ends up in dump sites all over the U.S. I have to admit that there have been some Chinese products that are made to specifications and function as they were intended to. I haven't had any problems with electric LED Xmas lights this year, so that's a plus. I do like the battery operated ones for a few of indoor decorations such as wreathes. Too many cords look ugly.

JUST DO IT

All you guys is talking, just do it if you think this is not the way it should be,
I think the importers of Christmas lights is doing the way they think they should do, the market itself decides where it goes

USA Christmas lights

When making a purchase I make it a point to seek out products made in the USA. Yes, it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to locate certain products made in the USA. I am willing to pay a "premium" for products made in the USA. Purchasing American made Christmas lights can still be done. I recently purchased two sets of used GE C7 Christmas tree lights "Made entirely in the USA"printed on each box. The boxes were from the 1980's, and operate like new. I paid $25 total from ebay, worth every penny. I also purchased several replacement GE bulbs made in the USA, again found on ebay.

MADE IN USA PRODUCTS

THANK YOU FOR THE DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW. WELL STATED.

USA made Christmas lights

When making a purchase I make it a point to seek out products made in the USA. Yes, it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to locate certain products made in the USA. I am willing to pay a "premium" for products made in the USA. Purchasing American made Christmas lights can still be done. I recently purchased two sets of used GE C7 Christmas tree lights "Made entirely in the USA"printed on each box. The boxes were from the 1980's, and operate like new. I paid $25 total from ebay, worth every penny. I also purchased several replacement GE bulbs made in the USA, again found on ebay.

1: I would pay triple for

1: I would pay triple for lights made in the USA. It would save me money and get me superior quality.

2: Federal Bureaucrat approved doesn't mean diddly squat. They only inspect 1 in God knows how many shipments, the one they are told to by the people who are paying them off.

3. The way Chinese manufacturing works is that they set up a "showcase" factory for inspectors, then ship products from secret factories that do not meet inspection standards.

4. The concern with safety is not just UV radiation. what about poisonous gasses released by the plastics? Also, see number 2 above.

5. China artificially suppresses its currency to steal from all its slaves, christian or not. Then uses the money to support its puppets in our government and industry.

6. All this is not coincidence. It is deliberate economic warfare designed to make us slaves to the Chinese leaders. This is the principle their entire culture and history is based on.

7. The real reason American CEOs don't manufacture in the USA, is that they would rather use slave labor and pollutes someone else's home so they can live high on the hog on someone else's back. just so long as its somewhere they don't have to look at it.

China

Lights from China are worth every cent. NOT! I paid $1.88 each for several 200 light strings. I couldn't keep up with changing the bulbs. My dad still uses the lights from when I was a kid and I'll be 52 this Christmas day. Until I find North American made lights there will be none at my house.

I feel like a broken record

I feel like a broken record here and I'm really surprised at how much attention this article has received, but not all Christmas lights that are made in China are bad quality. We've certainly run into some bad products that came from China but all of our lights are made in China and with a few exceptions they are very good quality. it does not surprise me that the light sets you purchase for $1.88 each were poor quality. Quite frankly I'm not sure what you expected to get for that price. Quality products are available but they cost a bit more. You really can't complain about getting poor quality lights that you paid less than $2 for.

Does Made in America mean anything?

I ask this question because I love in Southern California. We have a HUGE influx of Asian immigrants. I see hundreds of garment manufacturers here, all are Chinese or Asian and they are all working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week making shoes, pants, shirts, etc. Just visit El Monte or South El Monte, CA and you will understand. If you are buying "Made in America" for the reason of supporting American businesses, I believe you are fooling yourself. Its just chinese people that have arrived in America making these products and slapping a Made in America tag on everything.

Well, we are all immigrants.

Well, we are all immigrants. I'm not really sure why it matters what the nationality is of the people who make the products we use whether they are physically located in the United States or some other country.

StarsandBarsMade.com--found a few possibilities

I am coming into the conversation over a year after this article was published but I have found a few sites that say the lights they offer are U.S. made. I hope this is helpful!

http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Seasonal-Decor/Christmas,Made-In-USA,Lights,/occasion,other,type,/2012/subcat.html

http://www.lightinguniverse.com/made-in-usa-christmas-lights_2717_oa21000049.html

http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Seasonal-Decor/Christmas,Made-In-USA,Lights,/occasion,other,type,/2012/subcat.html

Thanks a lot for those links.

Thanks a lot for those links. I am going to investigate the products offered at OverStock.com. With respect to the products at LightingUniverse.com, I am fairly certain that those are claimed to be "Made in America" because the metal frames for the decorations are fabricated in America and they are assembled with the lights in the U.S. I doubt that the lights themselves are made in U.S.A. This is another problem with the "American Made" label. It is very common for companies to purchase components for a product in China, import them, do some light assembly and then proclaim the product to be made in America. I know a lighting company that sells commercial light fixtures that are "Made in America". In fact, the company purchases and imports all the parts for the products from China. When they arrive they put them together with a few screws and VIOLA! "Made in America." I'll see what I can find out about the lights advertised as American made at Overstock.com and post what I find here. Thanks again for sharing this.

are these valid "Made in USA" products?

I was wondering if you checked into the products on overstock.com. Thanks!

I did look into it but I have

I did look into it but I have not yet been able to confirm that they are American made. As soon as I find out I will post the results of my research here.

Why I hate Chinese products, they don't care if it works

The main reason not to buy Chinese lights, they don't care if it works. The retailer who sells it care but not the manufacturer. Why buy something if it doesn't work. Unfortunately consumers are buying based upon price and wasting their money with Chinese products. Everytime I buy made in China, the product doesn't do what its supposed to, i.e. bolts the strip, tools that break, electrical and plumbing parts that don't fit, etc.
It does not matter what it costs if it don't work. Burn your money to stay warm, because in the end thats more than you'll get with Chinese products. Landfill are happy with them, more tonnage of junk!
If your company sells Chiness

Why I hate Chinese products, they don't care if it works

Amen to that! I feel the same way!!!!!

Why I hate Chinese products, they don't care if it works

Amen to that! I feel the same way!!!!!

CHinese made christmas lights

I have been to the store three times now as the lights in the box half lite up. Twice I went back for the same reason. I talked to three other ladies in line returning their lights for the same reason. "Got to the last string and guess what it would not light up".

I would definitely pay more for a good product that lasted. We need to bring this industry back to the United States.

Where did you purchase these

Where did you purchase these lights? How much did you pay for them? What would you pay for a quality American made set that is comparable?

Spot on diagnosis

You are absolutely, emphatically, most certainly, and indubitably 100% correct. I get angry enough to bite the heads off of steel nails (and probably could if they're made in China!) at the clap-trap assemblage and shoddy quality of all these Chinese made goods! No wonder they're cheaper ... they are crap!

Anything from plywood with voids and even steel blades sandwiched in the middle to drywall with sulphur that corrodes metals and wiring in your house as well as your lungs and even to melamine in your pet food.

The problem is, I don't even have the choice to buy American made for most goods. If someone would make Christmas lights here, I would buy them at 10 times the price because they would last and not try to kill me and my pets!

Christmas lights do good to last one season anymore. I've had quite a few to be bad right out of the box. They are landfill stuffers.

Not all products that are

Not all products that are made in China are poor quality. No one would argue with you that there is a ton of junk that comes out of China. Most everything we purchase is made in China and not all of it is junk. By and large the lights we sell (which are made in China) are good quality. We are always trying to make them better and maybe we could make a better set if it was made in the U.S. You are absolutely right about consumers buying based on price--that's all most people care about. Everyone wants the cheapest possible thing but complain when it only last for a week. This is all driven by the market. If American consumers were willing to pay enough for a quality product that would still allow companies to make a profit then companies would offer a quality (and American made product) but that's not what the majority of American consumers want. So, that leaves companies like ours trying to offer the best products we can and still stay competitive. We could manufacture lights in the U.S. but we would be out of business the following year. I think that one thing that is often forgotten when talking about Chinese goods is that manufacturing is not the only part of the economy. We started a successful business in a city and state that has one of the worst economies in the U.S. and have provided jobs and other benefits to our local economy as a result and we did this by selling something that is not manufactured in the U.S.

Yet a fourth reason

Why should we buy Christmas lights from a country ruled by a godless regime that persecutes Christians, not to mention denies basic human rights? I for one avoid as much as possible any purchase of Chinese-made goods, and will find alternatives for Christmas lighting.
Mark
New Market Md

That is the most valid and

That is the most valid and reasonable grounds I have seen yet out of all of the comments for not wanting to purchase a Chinese made product.

yet a fourth reason

Amen brother I could not have said it better myself Mike

Toxic and Hazardous

I do not trust anyone anymore when it comes to the subject of Chinese made goods. I have bought Chinese manufactured electrical goods with the Underwriters Laboratory label, only to find that the plastic used was so toxic I couldn't be in the same room. As for the American public demanding more for less, they were brainwashed with unending commercials until they no longer understand the meaning of quality. I too will pay three times as much for quality items made in the USA! What I will not do is buy anything else from China. Take the retail cost out of the equation and it's just too expensive overall.

Amen!

I agree whole heartedly with your opinion of Chinese goods. I bought some and after I strung the lights, I read the lead exposure warning. They are not to be trusted, period!!!!

Lead issue

The lead warnings are on products that are made in the U.S.A. as well. All PVC coated wire contains a very, very small amount of lead. It is totally harmless unless you eat the wire. The FDA does not think it is a safety issue but the State of California requires all products that contain even a harmless amount of lead to disclose it. Lead is not necessarily bad and it is in a lot of products we use on a daily basis. Lead is only bad if it is in large quantities or if it is used in a manner in which it is likely to enter the human body. This is not the case with the amount of lead that is contained in PVC wire.

Good point

This is a very good point. I think in a lot of cases UL is just a racket. They just charge a huge fee to get their sticker on your product. The other issue with the "Made in America" label is that the rules for what allows a manufacturer to label their product "Made in America" are too loose and not well enforced. For example, many manufacturers will purchase all of the components for a product in China, have it shipped to the U.S., install a few screws and call it "Made in America." This gives them a false competitive advantage by allowing them to sell a cheap Chinese made product at a price that would not be possible if it was actually made in the U.S.A. I am really happy that this post has generated so much interest and HolidayLEDs.com respects the decisions of consumers to only purchase products which are made in America. Each year we try to source lights which are made in the United States. To date we have had no luck and as far as we know there are currently 0 Christmas lights made in the U.S. Although most of our products are made in China, we are a small privately held company based in Michigan and the purchases of our customers and the success of our business have allowed us to contribute to a local Michigan economy that is one of the worst in the nation.

American made Christmas lights

Can you stand one more rant against China? After all we did to help them in World War 2, they murdered our boys in Korea and continue to support the (#@$&) North Koreans. China is foremost a Communist country with no democracy, a dismal record on human rights, and imprisons people like Nobel prize winner Liu for what they think! I for one will happily forgo any purchases of new holiday lights because I have no desire to send my money to China. And as for the rest of my holiday shopping, if the label says “Made in China” it does not go into my shopping cart

Lights Made in USA

I have simply refused to purchase anything not Made in USA, especially during the Christmas season. If more Americans actually paid attention to this, manufacturing would come back to the USA. Eventually we'll have no choice because no one will want our paper money anymore, since there is nothing to back it up. I even check common items like tape, toothpaste, and food. I stopped buying Crest and Colgate because they were made in Mexico, and started buying Aquafresh and Pepsodent (BOTH OF WHICH ARE LESS EXPENSIVE, by the way) which are Made in USA.

I would indeed pay 3 times the cost for lights Made in USA.
Instead, I have none since I can purchase none.

By the way, in addition to the concerns you listed (child labor, toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, other heavy metals, etc.), you can this to the list:

National Security.
China is the world's largest communist dictatorship, and no friend of the USA.
Everything we buy supports that dictatorship, just as foreign oil supports terrorism.

Also, if we required other countries to meet the same environmental standards that we have here, their production costs would skyrocket. It isn't just labor. China is the most polluted place on the planet, and getting worse. And their pollution is now a global problem, it certainly doesn't remain contained in China.

Kowtowing is next

It's getting to where nothing is made in the USA. China, Islamic countries, Vietnam ... all avowed enemies of ours, are our sources of every day necessities. I was given a jersey made in Swaziland... How much energy did it require to move that rag from southern Africa to Houston!?
Some day soon, it will cost more than just money to buy imported junk. How easy would it not be to hold a "dependent" hostage to the goods it needs? How long before money is not enough, but we are asked to kowtow (not coincidentally a Chinese word) to the manufacturing nations? What position are we getting into that we cannot outfit our military without the help of our enemies?
I have practically stopped shopping and am going blind from reading ever smaller labels. Americans, wake up! Buy USA only ... even if you have to go without. Wish I had the money to start an American Christmas Lights Co. I bet you that with the right (the obvious) marketing, I'd be rich in no time.

Lights Made in USA

I too would pay triple. As it stands now, we all pay much more than the sticker price for Chinese products. The real cost of those products include unemployment benefits, hospital bills, lost productivity due to illness and death, national security expenses (overt and covert), and a loss of political economic leverage related to China owning our ass. The problem that fosters this self- destructive behavior is that a disproportionate amount of the real cost of Chinese Christmas lights is borne by people other than those purchasing them, and the incentives posed by near-exponential mark-ups by "American" importers.

UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS???

I appreciate your article but I take issue with your remark concerning 'unsubstantiated claims about Christian slave labor.'
The substantiated sources are available for those who care and want to know. Voice of the Martyrs has been an organization with impeccable integrity for many years and they have people on the ground in China working to help get Christian prisoners released and taking care of the prisoners families. They are imprisoned simply because they do not belong to the government approved, compromised church system in China. And yes, they are forced into slave labor, and often brutally tortured. Go to youtube and watch the VOM video Sarah's Trail of Blood. In it, she describes her punishment and being forced to work in a prison 'making CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS. I personally know people who work with Voice of the Martyrs both here and in other lands and I know that when they report something, it has been substantiated.

It would be great if you post

It would be great if you post some links to some of those resources here. I would like to know more about it and I'm sure everyone else following the comments on this article would as well.

LED Christmas Lights not made in China?

Personally I've been looking for LED christmas lights not made in China. I understand the process of manufacturing is labor intensive, but that is only a small part of the full process. I see no reason why copper-wire, leds, and other components cannot be made by automated process in America then assembled in Mexico or Central America where labor intensive activity is required. Then at least it would be partly made in America. Make it in China and it is completely made in China, which, unlike manufacture in Mexico, is of absolutely no benefit to America.

Made in China

"We strongly believe in supporting the American economy and try to purchase American made products whenever possible. However, in many cases American made products simply aren't available. Producing Christmas lights in the United States is not feasible now and probably will not be in the future so we are focused on helping the Michigan and U.S. economies by growing our business and hiring new employees."

If you don't believe in moving production to the United States, what do you think that we can do. If Christmas lights can't be made here, what can? If you marketed USA made Christmas lights properly, people may purchase them even for 3x the price.

If this is not the cae, then we need to be advocating for protective tariffs on these and many other manufactured goods.

Besides, even though labor costs are 3x as much, that doesn't mean that the product will cost that much more when it reaches the shelves of a greedy retailer. When Nikes began producing their trash shoes in Indonesia, did the price drop from $89.99 per shoe? NO. The price did not change, but someone profited. The question is who?

Over the last 3 decades, we have experienced the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the Uber Rich in terms of real and paper profits.

I, for one, am sick of all of this rot.

here is an article about Christian pastors in China

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/swank/071223

I first learned about it a few years ago through www.lightsofchristmas.org which is no longer running. This article is the only thing I could find at the moment. I don't know anything about RenewAmerica.com but at first glance seems to be a "Christian America" site, which I would not agree with, but that is besides the point.