Do your holiday decorating skills resemble those of Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Does your tree look like Charlie Brown’s? Or maybe you deck the halls beautifully—on December 23.
Safety? Convenience? Whatever the reason, this year, let a professional do the decorating and free yourself to enjoy more of the holiday season. For a price, interior designers and landscape professionals can liven up any interior and exterior—and more importantly, take it all down after the last present has been opened.
“Consider working with an interior designer and a florist you love to put together a theme with live plants, cut flowers, and ideally, fresh garland as the base for putting together a beautiful, festive space,” says Sarah Barnard, a Los Angeles–based interior designer and owner of Sarah Barnard Design. “Once you have that foundation, then it becomes a thematic approach—what type of parties will be thrown or religious beliefs will be recognized?”
Christmas trees have become so ubiquitous with the season that they transcend Christian religious tradition.
“I have a number of clients who are celebrating Jewish holidays but will also like to have a Christmas tree,” Barnard says.
The Price on Peace of Mind
Barnard’s west-coast decorating for larger, public rooms, not including a tree, starts at $2,500 and up. Smaller rooms like a bathroom or bedroom, which may need just a single fresh arrangement, may be $200. The cost to decorate a tree—including ornaments, if those need to be purchased—can run from $3,000 to $7,500, depending on the size of the tree and the design, she says.
“Even a simple tree, with a variety of colors of glass bulbs, something lovely, but simple and elegant, for a tree that is 12 or 15 feet tall, we’ll end up needing 1,200–1,300 ornaments,” she says. “But if you hire an interior designer to do a tree for you, you probably don’t want just glass bulbs, you want something show-stopping.”
Sara Jenkins-Sutton, vice president and co-owner of Topiarius, a Chicago landscape firm, said they can hang lights, add garland and wreaths, and fill containers, depending on what the client wants. She said that when using a designer it makes sense to have them decorate multiple items once a design crew is on site. So, plan ahead and communicate clearly with your designer.
To fill a container or to hang a 25-foot garland with lights along a railing runs about $400 to $600, depending on the type, while lighting a 10-foot tree outside is about $1,000, she said.
Inside the home, Topiarius charges roughly $1,000 for a high-quality, six-foot Christmas tree, plus garland. That includes the “white glove service” of tree purchase, securing the freight elevator (for high-rise condo dwellers), setting the tree up, and cleaning up afterward.
Designers said the trend started with retired folks who wanted to keep up tradition but reduce their risk of an accident; some had downsized their own decorations and liked the idea of “renting” the look sans the storage and mess.
For some families, the headache of seasonal decorating is a badge of honor—as much fun as the final result. But if you consider a hassle-free holiday season the best present you can imagine, the growing business of seasonal-decorator-for-hire could be just what you need. Then you can just sit back with your favorite hot beverage and enjoy the view.
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