Photo courtesy of The Christmas Decorator

Decorating your house for the holidays is a tradition for many. But installing holiday lights and decorations can cost you a lot of time and money – and even carry the risk of serious injury.

There are a growing number of companies you can hire to make your indoor and outdoor holiday decorations a reality and more people appear to be using them. The biggest shopping event of the year is just around the corner, and NRF estimates consumers will spend an average of $967 per person this holiday season. 

Maybe you don’t have the time or artistic ability to bring your outdoor holiday decorations theme to life this year.

Susan Kneafsey, of Hancock Park in Los Angeles, always decorated for Christmas herself with the help of her three sons. But a couple years ago, she had to throw a holiday party for her husband’s law firm one week after hosting Thanksgiving. 

She simply couldn’t do it all by herself. So she hired a holiday decorator to select, install and light her Christmas tree.

“It was a game changer,” she said. “I wasn't exhausted from spending hours putting lights on the tree and had plenty of energy to focus on other details and enjoy the party."

Clay Storseth, The Christmas Decorator, has provided full-service holiday decorating for over 20 years, adorning interiors and exteriors of homes as large as 20,000-square-feet, including some that might require up to seven Christmas trees.

Now that Halloween decorating has become almost as popular as Christmas and Hanukkah, Storseth starts jobs in mid-September and works non-stop through mid-February, as he also dismantles decorations, packs them up and stores them either in your garage or an offsite storage unit.

Since The Christmas Decorator has become part of many families’ holiday decorating traditions, nearly all his clients are repeat customers. Each year he suggests ways to enhance or re-imagine his clients’ holiday visions, either purchasing real trees from Mr. Greentrees in Beverly Hills, which sells fresh, premium trees from Oregon and Washington, or buying quality artificial trees.

His Halloween houses feature ghosts that cry and moan, spooky graveyards and ghoulish touches to delight – and terrify – trick-or-treaters. Storseth shops all over the country for one-of-a-kind embellishments.

“The children return from school that day and are delighted by the sudden transformation,” Storseth explains.

If this sounds like the solution you’ve been dreaming of, here are six things to consider:

  1. Make sure whomever you hire to come into your home is fully bonded and insured for their employees and your belongings.
  2. Ask for referrals and look at photos of their work on their website. This is a luxury service – make sure it will be as magical as you expect.
  3. Find specialists online or ask an interior decorator or your florist for a referral. You can even call your local tree lot – they may provide lighting and decorating services or know someone who does.
  4. First-year costs may be high if your holiday decorator purchases many new items, but most can be reused so your costs will decline in subsequent holiday seasons.
  5. Worried that hiring a holiday decorator will remove your family’s personal touch? Ask to what extent you and your kids can be involved in the process, even if it’s decorating the tree with ornaments that have been purchased for you.
  6. Plan ahead. Holiday decorators are in high demand and everyone wants their décor set up at the same time. Book someone well in advance if you expect to have your house turned into a Hanukkah wonderland soon after Thanksgiving. If you realize you need help late in the season, be flexible with your dates.

Melanie Boettcher, an interior decorator who had a holiday decoration business for many years, had the same experience as Storseth with repeat customers – they adored her work and couldn’t go back to doing it themselves.

Although she no longer runs the business, she decorates for one family who begged her to continue. They told her, “We love to come home and have it be Christmas.”

“The whole family waits so they can go inside together,” Boettcher said. “The children run around looking for new details saying, ‘Look what she did here!’ That is their Christmas tradition.”