Meet the visionary behind Brooklyn's dazzling light displays, holiday decorations

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Sunday, December 12, 2021
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A workshop in Brooklyn has been a staple in the community for years because of its instrumental role in neighbors' dazzling light displays and holiday decorations.

BENSONHURST, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A workshop in Brooklyn has been a staple in the community for years because of its instrumental role in neighbors' dazzling light displays and holiday decorations.

It's as close to Santa's workshop as it gets.

"Everyone wants their lights done at one time so it's very stressful," said James Bonavita of B & R Christmas Decorators.

Inside a nursery in Bensonhurst is where James Bonavita and his team starts working.

"I take my time and I feel like every house is mine," Bonavita said.

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He specializes in making things pretty. Some of his hard work is seen in Dyker Heights, where it's dripping with all things Christmas.

"I do it because I love Christmas and love to see children's faces smile when they see my lights," Bonavita said.

Nearly three decades ago, James started B & R Christmas Decorators. He now has a devoted crew of 12.

A friend suggested he go help a team who was putting up lights and wasn't doing a good job.

"While I was there a couple people said, 'oh you do lights,' I said yeah, I took those guys and went to their house and that's how I started," Bonavita said.

Getting to this point takes months of plotting and planning.

In August, people, including many are repeat customers, start booking and buying.

Last year, due to the pandemic, his team did some small homes but this year, folks are pulling out all the stops.

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Still like other industries, this operation was hit with supply chain issues.

"I had to go to other vendors, small vendors to get my garland and my wreaths because my shipment didn't come in because of what's going on with ships," Bonavita said.

Just so you have an idea of how intricate it is, each and every bow seen is hand made. And to decorate a medium sized home, it takes roughly six to eight hours.

And now a little secret Bonavita shared that you can do at home.

Why use one string of lights when you can twist two together? The result is breathtaking.

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