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This Christmas Decor Owner Has Been Bringing Holiday Cheer to Jacksonville for Over Two Decades

James Murphy purchased a Christmas Decor franchise more than 23 years ago.

By Victoria CampisiStaff Writer
SPONSOREDUpdated 10:10AM 09/25/23

More than 23 years ago, James Murphy was looking for a supplementary business to his own landscaping company. He wanted something that would keep his employees busy during the cooler winter months. That’s when he found Christmas Decor*, the premium holiday decorating service franchise with over 300 units open nationwide. 

Since purchasing the franchise, the business has become more than just something to keep his workers busy. Christmas Decor has continued to bring holiday cheer to the people of Jacksonville by lighting up homes and businesses all around the community. 

1851 spoke to Murphy about his franchising journey with Christmas Decor. 

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Murphy: We have been a Christmas Decor dealer for 23 years now. When we first started, I was still the owner of a large commercial landscaping company, which I have since sold. I saw Christmas decor advertised in one of my landscaping trade magazines, and I thought this would be a great way to keep my irrigation technicians busy during the winter months. Eventually, it became more than something just to keep my guys busy. It became a revenue generator. 

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Murphy: I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to be told what to do. I started my other businesses from the ground up. But my perception was incorrect. With Decor, it feels more like a partnership. If you work within the system, they will work for you. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Murphy: This industry is a relatively new market, so Christmas Decor really stood out to me at the time. 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Murphy: We are striving for perfection in every aspect of our holiday lighting business. Every day, when those trucks go out and those guys show up at a client's home or business, they are doing one thing: they are striving for perfection. 

We are in a succession plan right now. I'm 60, and I sold this franchise. Four years ago, when I sold the landscaping company, I sold the franchise. But when the buyout was done with the landscaping company and I was getting ready to retire, I didn't want to really retire. I bought the lights back from the people I sold them to. My son just graduated from the University of South Florida. He has worked seasonally with us here and there, and he has shown an interest in taking the business over so we will be in a succession plan the next three to five years. 

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Murphy: I give God all the glory for all of it.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Murphy: Do your due diligence and examine their claims. Decide if it’s a good fit and if you are willing to be teachable. 

About Christmas Decor 

Founded in 1986 by Blake Smith, Christmas Decor has become the leading holiday decorating brand in the U.S. and Canada. Originally created as an off-season supplement to the landscaping business, the Texas-based franchise now brings holiday cheer to over 300 communities across North America, ultimately creating jobs for 3,000-plus seasonal workers that might otherwise be unemployed. Backed by a strong business model and double-digit revenue increase year-over-year for the last 11 years, Christmas Decor is looking to grow in markets across the U.S. and Canada. For more information on Christmas Decor, please visit

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.