Tis the season...to start decorating for Christmas! That’s for your customers though, because you’re more worried about importing Christmas decorations properly in order to sell them to those celebrating the holidays. However, since many of the decorations come from overseas, it’s not as cut and dry as if they were produced in the U.S. So defining what importing entails and how to go about it can go a long way toward making sure the experience is a successful one.
While Christmas decorations aren’t as heavily regulated as some other goods,you’ll still have some regulations to be in compliance with. To import Christmas decorations to the U.S. you’ll need to comply with CBP and CPSC requirements. For this reason, many importers choose to work with a Licensed Customs Broker to assist with their imports.
Our comprehensive guide below provides you with all of the information you need to know to successfully import Christmas decorations to the U.S.
Christmas decorations are popular items once Halloween passes and people get in the holiday spirit. Suffice to say, there also exists a huge market for them and people are always looking for ways to express their affection for the season by buying the latest innovations in Christmas decorations.
Like many other manufactured goods in the world, an overwhelming majority of Christmas decorations are produced in China, particularly in the city of Yiwu. There are hundreds upon hundreds of factories that make all kinds of decorations, some of which are lights, tinsel, ornaments and even the glittering star that serves as a tree-topper are all produced by the prominent Asian nation of over a billion people.
In fact, it’s helpful to know to start your search in China since you might be able to buy directly from factories or use an intermediary such as Alibaba to purchase wholesale or even engage in dropshipping. While you can begin your search at any time, the process for importing all of these Christmas decorations from China truly starts months before the beginning of the onset of the holiday season.
To really get a leg up on the competition, the importation of these goods should start as early as July. This way, you can have them stateside and stored in a convenient location so when stores kick off with their orders, you can fill them lightning fast and don’t have to worry about the weeks-long journey for the Christmas decorations to get here when your window to capitalize is either closing or has shut completely.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) inspects all Christmas decorations that are set to be imported into the United States
Christmas lights are an obvious focus since they deal with electricity, which can be dangerous due to shock in this regard and also electrical fires. As long as you fall under one of the following 3 categories, you can actually expect to be able to skip inspection:
Anything with lights or electrical components can be considered hazardous. Likewise with the materials used to make ornaments — non-toxic glue, plastic or metals must be used in order to pass muster with the CPSC.
While making sure you’re purchasing safe Christmas decorations is key, the most time-consuming and important aspect of getting the items into the U.S. is being able to successfully clear the borders manned by the CBP. This is a pretty formulaic process, and the best thing you can do is closely and diligently follow each step in order to ensure you will clear customs.
The first thing you must do before your Christmas decorations shipment is even loaded onto a shipping container is file all the necessary paperwork. You’ll be responsible for a load of paperwork, which includes submitting the Importer Security Filing (ISF) if your goods are being shipped via ocean. This must be filed to and approved by the CBP before preparation for shipment. This is a great time to bring up that a licensed customs broker can easily assist you with the filling out and filing of the paperwork. The reason it could be a good call to go with a customs broker is because of their experience in completing this task and the fact that if any information is incorrect or missing, your shipment can be delayed or even rejected.
You will also need to purchase a customs bond and have that ready to go before the importation process. A customs bond is bought to ensure that the importer buys to ensure the CBP is able to collect all duties and taxes due to them. You can purchase a single-use customs bond but if you plan on importing multiple times, a continuous bond is likely your best bet.
Once the Christmas decorations are in a shipping container aboard an ocean vessel, it might take several weeks for the boat to reach U.S. shores. Once it does, the containers will be opened and your goods will be inspected by the CBP. Whether you are there yourself to claim your merchandise or you have authorized someone — like a customs broker — to be there on your behalf, the CBP will release your products and expects them to be moved away from the port or border crossing.
Now that you know much more about importing Christmas decorations, there’s still a final step to take to make sure you’re getting the best help — give a call to USA Customs Clearance powered by AFC International. We have vast experience and also the knowledge to help your holiday imports process very smoothly.
First and foremost, USA Customs Clearance can be your licensed customs broker to facilitate a seamless importation of your valuable Christmas decorations. We can fill out the paperwork for you, file it all and even be at the port of entry to clear your items with the CBP. With USA Customs Clearance at your side, it should be a breeze.
USA Customs Clearance also offers 1-on-1 import consulting sessions. Our Licensed Customs Brokers provide personalized information for your specific importing situation and answer all of your questions. We also offer continuous customs bonds starting at just $245. If you’re a first-time importer, our experts can help you complete the bond application and get you importing as soon as possible.
We look forward to helping you achieve importing success!