Everything You Need To Know About Holiday Yard Inflatables

Inflatable Christmas decorations on a grassy yard with snow in winter. Santa Claus, Christmas tree, and Snowman balloons stand side by side in front of the home.

When it comes to holiday inflatables it was not love at first sight for me – at all. However, slowly but surely those loveable giants have stolen my heart. Yes, they are over the top and a tad ridiculous. But isn’t that the point? No one says “I sure hope I can find a small chic inflatable for my yard this year.”  

No, Inflatable People-that’s what I am going to call us now-we like big, we like bold, we want to spread holiday cheer to everyone around.  We are Inflatable People and we don’t hide our love for the holidays indoors.  We share it with anyone who will listen. We may even post about it on social media  like our good friends the Gym Membership People (come on, you know at least one).  Let’s make this our year my fellow Inflatable People! 

Top Reasons I become an Inflatable Person

  • Happy and whimsical- Have you ever looked at one and felt sad?  It’s physically impossible. 
  • Big bang for your decorating bucks-Inflatables take up a good deal of physical space and most run between $50 and $200. You won’t find anything else in this price range that will make such a big impact.   
  • Easy to use-Set-up and storage are a cinch. Low maintenance and easy to clean too!  
  • Go beyond the porch- inflatables help you go beyond the porch or shrubbery and out into the yard.  
  • Variety of designs- As inflatables gained in popularity, more and more designs became available.  There is something for everyone these days- humorous, traditional, religious, big, small, movie and tv characters, etc. My current favorites can be found…

Inflatable FAQs

How many inflatables can be plugged into one outlet?

A good rule of thumb is one-two inflatables per outlet. (Therefore, 2-4 inflatables per faceplate. Each faceplate generally has two outlets- stacked vertically one on top of the other) Any more and you could overload the circuit. 

Remember to use outdoor extension cords only.  Indoor extension cords are not suited for outdoor weather and can become a safety hazard.  

If you are planning to go full Griswold on your yard this year, having a local electrician come out prior to installing any decor will be helpful.  They can tell you the full ins and outs of your circuit situation and give guidance to keep your home and family safe.  

For a completely detailed breakdown check-out GODBY, Heating, Plumbing and Electrical. However, if in doubt consult/hire a pro to come out and take a look. 

Are inflatables waterproof/snow resistant?

Yes, most inflatables are made from weather resistant nylon or vinyl.  They can withstand rain and snow.  However, if you are anticipating several inches of heavy snow or rain it may be best to move the inflatable indoors or a covered outdoor area to avoid damage.  Do not run your inflatables in heavy rain or snow.  If inflatables become submerged in water the fan motor or lights may be permanently damaged and unsafe for use.  Keep an eye out for severe weather and all will be well! 

Similar rules apply for an extended number of days at sub-freezing temperatures. Keep the display off and allow temperatures to warm a bit before restarting.  

How do I fix a leak in my inflatable?

Small rips and tears can easily be fixed on inflatables. First check to see what type of fabric is used to make your inflatable.  

Nylon can be sewed using a needle and thread. Pro-tip to keep the new thread protected add clear packing tape for extra durability. 

Vinyl can be repaired with heavy duty duct tape. Pro-tip apply one piece of tape on the inside covering as much of the rip as you can.  Then add a second piece of tape on the outside. 

How much electricity does an inflatable use?

In general each inflatable uses about the same amount or a little less than a standard strand of outdoor lights.  The more inflatables and lights you have, the more electricity you will use.  Some very large inflatables, 10 feet or larger, may use a small amount more, but not enough to noticeably increase your electricity bill.  If you want to watch the electricity use and cost, maybe don’t go full Griswold with this part of your outdoor decorations.  

How long can I leave my inflatable up and running?

A general rule of thumb is no more than 6-8 hours in one stretch of time. This will help to preserve the life of your fan and keep your electricity costs low.  Always check the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your specific inflatable model.

Pro-tip use an outdoor timer for less hassle. You set the time for when the display comes on and how long it runs.  Set it and forget it for a stress free holiday display! 

How long do inflatables last?

In general your inflatable should last for several years. Afterall, it spends most of its life not in use. Consider the following:

Inflatable Santa Claus at house balcony.

Quality of the inflatable.  Is the vinyl or nylon thick or thin? Thinner fabrics won’t withstand as many years of use. 

Weather in your location. If your inflatable consistently experiences severe weather and sub-freezing temperatures that could reduce its longevity. The opposite is also true. If you live in a hot and humid climate your inflatable could experience fading or other issues from intense heat. See the manufacturer’s instructions.  

Quality of care. Avoid haphazardly taking down your display and throwing it in a box.  Carefully remove your display, wipe it clean, let it dry completely, roll it up and place in a container with the manufacturer’s instructions and any stakes. Store in a cool and dry location.  It makes sense that if you take care of it, it will last longer.  

How do I replace the light in my inflatable?

This will depend on your specific model.  Check your manufacturer’s instructions or visit their website. 

How do I clean my inflatable?

Inflatables are very easy to clean due to the durable nylon or vinyl fabric.  Most inflatables can be cleaned with a damp cloth or with mild dish soap and water

Always check the manufacturer’s instructions if unsure.  

Pro-tip lay your inflatable down flat for the easiest cleaning experience. 

How do I store my inflatable?

Carefully remove your display and inspect for any damage.

Wipe it clean or use a mild dish soap to remove any dirt etc. 

Let it dry completely.

Carefully roll it up and place it in a container. A plastic container with hard sides is best to protect against out of season damage etc. If you don’t have that use the original packaging or a cardboard box.  Be sure to include the manufacturer’s instructions and any stakes or ties etc.

Store in a cool and dry location. 

When is the best time to buy an inflatable?

It can vary by specific holiday, but here are some options to consider. 

Black Friday.  However, inventory often goes extremely quickly. Some retailers will have Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah on Black Friday. 

Amazon Prime Day, generally held in the summer. Inventory goes quickly here too, but not as quickly as Black Friday. 

Plan Ahead. When in doubt, plan ahead and check post-holiday sales. Start shopping 1-2 months before you want to start decorating.  Watch for sales to begin the week of the holiday you are celebrating and the week following to grab a great deal for next year.  

How to Set-up an Inflatable

Nutcracker outdoor decoration

Are inflatables allowed?

Be sure to check with your homeowners association (HOA) or landlord before installing a holiday inflatable.  Some HOAs restrict the number or location of inflatables and some ban them all together.  Better safe than sorry.  

Read Manufacturer’s Instructions

Your inflatable should have had a paper insert with manufacturer’s instructions and information on your specific inflatable model.  Read this insert before starting. 

Keep the original box as it will make a great storage solution at the end of the holiday season. 

Choose a location

Look for a flat area that is unobstructed by tree branches or shrubs when the display is fully inflated. (That’s an easy way to get a tear). 

Make sure the location is near a power source or have an outdoor extension cord on hand.

If you plan to have more than one inflatable, make sure there is enough space between to account for wind as inflatables can sway a bit in the breeze. 

Prepare the fan

Completely unroll your inflatable so it is lying flat on the ground in the desired location you have chosen. Close all vents and zippers.  

Be sure the fan will have adequate space to pull from and won’t encounter excess debris that could damage the inflatable or fan. 

Secure to the ground

Inflate your display and make any adjustments for final placement.  

Use stakes and tethers (thick rope like material)  that may have come with your inflatable to secure it firmly in the ground. Place the stakes in the ground, secure the tethers to the display and attach to the stake. Keep the tethers taught for maximum stability. This will prevent your inflatable from falling over, or walking across to the neighbors yard after a swift breeze. 

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to properly secure your display. 

Set your timer

Use an outdoor timer to save time and money.  No more having to remember to turn your display on or off.  No more wasted money if you accidentally leave it running all night. Set it and forget it.  Remember a good rule of thumb to keep your inflatable in good working order, is to only run it for 8 hours or less at one time. 

Monitor throughout the season

Inflatables are very low maintenance.  However, it is always a good idea to check-in on the display to make sure everything is in good working order. Make sure the stakes are still firmly in the ground and all tethers are attached.  Look at the fan and clear away any grass or debris that can cause damage.  This is especially important after any severe weather.

Monitoring the display will help to keep it in good shape so you can enjoy it for years to come.  

How to Take Down and Properly Store an Inflatable

  • Look over the piece for any areas that need to be cleaned. Clean any areas you can now with a water and dish towel and add some dish soap if needed for stubborn stains or dirt.  This should be any area you can reach while standing on the ground.  Clean higher out of reach stains after the piece deflates.  
  • Unplug or turn off the inflatable and let the piece completely deflate.  
  • Clean all areas you weren’t able to reach while it was inflated.  
  • Leave the inflatable in a cool dry place for a few hours to be sure it is completely dry.  
  • Gently roll or fold the piece and place it in a storage container.  The original box is a great option if you have it.  It already has a picture and a label! Scroll up for specific storage container recommendations in the FAQ section. 
  • Make sure to include all tethers, stakes and manufacturer instructions in the container.  You can even include your outdoor extension cord and timer.  That is if you only plan to use them with this inflatable. If you plan to use them again before the holiday, consider a separate container and storage area.  
  • Identify a cool dry place to store the inflatable during the off season. A shelf in the garage or attic is a great option. Don’t worry too much if this item isn’t stored in the same place as your indoor holiday decor.  Find a location that is easily accessible for use and storage each year.  

History of Yard Inflatables 

Yard inflatables rose in popularity in the late 2000’s.  Gemmy Industries Corp. in Carrollton, Texas is credited as the original purveyor of these fun decorations. Original models were mostly designs for Christmas,(the first inflable was an 8 foot Santa Claus in 2001).  The company quickly expanded to provide over 1,000 options for almost every major holiday. 

Gemmy introduces and retires new designs each year, making them a unique option for a holiday collection.  Although these will be a bit harder to store than beanie babies or baseball cards.  

Fun fact-Gemmy Industries also created and mass produced the Big Mouth Billy Bass.  Remember that fish mounted to a plaque that would sing and dance?  The more you know my fellow Inflatable People, the more you know! 

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