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    Hiring Home Decorators for the Holidays

    by Jeanne Roberts

    It’s the holiday season. Not only do you have to work, pack lunches, pick up the kids, ferry them to football practice or gymnastics, make meals, and keep some semblance of order around your home, but now you have to get in the spirit and decorate!

    Some of us love decorating a tree, hanging stockings, and all the other details that go into preparing for Christmas. But a good many of us find the extra work – and the mess – irritating. Especially the tree, which – come December 29 or so – just has to be taken down again.

    It’s a pain, but one that can be partially or completely avoided by hiring a decorator for the holidays!

    You read that right: a decorator. Someone whose job it is to come in and turn your home from frazzled to festive. These holiday (and special occasion) decorating firms will put up your Christmas tree to your exact taste, whether that is traditional, rustic, “skinny”, whimsical, or monochromatic (all white, all red, etc.).  You might even arrange a dried-flower tree, for a price, though it’s unlikely you can get a tumbleweed tree like the one in Chandler, Arizona!

    In addition to providing all the muscle, legwork, and expertise, holiday decorating firms can provide you with the latest trends in the most tasteful presentations. This is particularly valuable if you are one of those individuals whose enthusiasm totally overwhelms your sense of taste, leaving spouses, growing children and relatives politely speechless – and not with envy, either.

    But wait! There’s more. These jolly, full-sized elves will also hang stockings, build a full-sized (though non-working) fireplace, put up your cherished centerpieces and wreaths, and even  hang garlands and swags along your stairway or entryway and main doorways. In fact, if you can imagine it, they can create and install it, leaving absolutely no trace of themselves behind, just like Santa’s real elves.

    Nor is the size of the home a factor. Holiday design firms will carefully and charmingly outfit a one-bedroom condo in the heart of the city, or a five-bedroom, four bath house in the suburbs. It isn’t the size of the real estate, but the size of your ambitions. Designers will also match your existing décor wherever possible: if your living room walls are palest lilac, they may even be able to deliver a plum-colored artificial Christmas tree with matching ornaments and lights! After all, it’s your house.

    For homeowners who wait all year just to decorate the exteriors of their homes – making them  the neighborhood’s biggest “wow factor” – professional decorators can take the risk out of climbing to the peak to string lights, and wading through the snow to set up that glittering, blinking Santa and his reindeer. Moreover, the most reputable firms will use Energy Saving LED lights, to insure your Christmas is “green” as well as gay.

    Oh, and did I mention, these decorators will also provide the reindeer (or sleigh – or even Santa), in case yours have suffered attrition over the years. And they make house calls – typically at least two during the holiday season – to see that all the lights are functioning and the reindeer still flying. Finally, your holiday decorating firm will return at the end of the season to remove any installations, again leaving behind no trace of their magic.

    Is it costly? Not when you consider that the hours you would otherwise spend decorating for the holidays can now be spent doing what you would rather do; celebrating with  your family. That alone is priceless. Most fees range from about $300 (for complete decorating services in more rural areas) to as much as $1,500 for a full-service holiday décor job (inside and out) on a typical three- or four-bedroom, ranch-style house.

    It’s likely too late this year, unless you manage to find a firm where bookings have changed due to pending home/condo/townhouse sales. But you  can start planning this year for next, and getting on the decorating firm’s calendar early means you will get superb service instead of a last-minute rush job.

    For more information on service and pricing, surf the ‘Net under “Christmas decorators”, ask around, or subscribe to Angie’s List. Your local Chamber of Commerce may also be able to offer some recommendations. I found my contractor through my local hardware store! Just be sure your decorator is bonded and insured, in case Santa’s sleigh misses the driveway!

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