6 ways to outsource the stress of the holidays — including light installation and gift-wrapping

6 ways to outsource the stress of the holidays — including light installation and gift-wrapping
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As magical as the holiday season is, it’s also stressful — trying to navigate oven-timing logistics, wrapping gifts while the people who’ll get those gifts are in the house, attempting to get creative with the decor (it never comes out the way you imagined).

If you have the cash, outsourcing during the holidays could be the best present to gift yourself. It’s a costly, bougie thing to do, but if spending the money is less stressful than spending time to get your holiday-related tasks done, maybe this is for you.

I asked Heidi from Santa’s Little Helper what she would say to someone who feels guilty about hiring some holiday help. She said, “The holidays are for you to enjoy time with your family, allow yourself that time and for someone else to create the atmosphere for you to spend that time in.”

So whether you don’t want to lift a single finger this holiday season or just want someone to put up your Christmas lights, here are 6 ways to let the pros handle your Christmas stress.

location daniel stowe christmas lights in charlotte

Daniel Stowe

(1) Have someone else put your holiday lights up (“Deck the Halls” style).

Santa’s Little Helper and The Christmas Team both do custom holiday light and decor displays around the city for private homes and commercial properties (think car dealerships, restaurants).

Santa’s Little Helper: Jon Everson, a Captain with Charlotte Fire Department, started the company 11 years ago as a way for firemen to make some extra money during the holidays.

The process starts with a consultation, then they create a custom look for you, install the lights, take them down, and store them back at their facility. Note: They only install lights provided by their company.

The average cost is $2,000 and up, depending upon what you have done and how much lighting is needed. Details.

The Christmas Team: Similar to Santa’s Little Helper, The Christmas Team does residential and commercial lighting — except they actually send people in elf costumes to do the work.

According to their website, they typically work with people who live in half a million dollar homes (or higher), pro athletes, CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies, and Chick-fil-A and other big-time brands.

Their residential service begins at $999 for a 2,000-square-foot home with straight rooflines. The full package includes a consultation, custom design, set-up and take-down of lights, and storage. Details.

(2) While you’re at it, hire someone to do the interior decorating, too.

Jenny Goodale, owner of Gathered Events & Design, offers a few holiday-specific services, including Christmas tree and home design (more on tablescapes and party planning that further down the list).

She can work with the decorations you already have, or shop for the appropriate decor based on the look you’d like to curate. Her rate is generally $25-$50 an hour for these types of services.

(3) Let a pro to handle your Christmas shopping and gift wrapping. And don’t step foot in a post office.

Several people told me Coko Concierge is their go-to for outsourcing. The company regularly does day-to-day errand running, but in terms of holiday-specific services, they’ll do your Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, and they’ll mail your Christmas cards and ship packages.

Regular rates are $40 per hour a la cart, 10 hours for $375, or 20 hours for $700 (warning: holiday rates could differ).

roots holiday meal outsourcing

Roots holiday spread, photo courtesy of Roots

(4) Hosting Christmas dinner? Don’t worry about cooking it.

You can order a full Christmas feast, or just a few things so you don’t have to play Tetris trying to fit everything in one oven. Reid’s and Roots Catering both have full Christmas menus with brunch/breakfast items, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, sides, and dessert options.

Roots: They’ve got platters, appetizers, dessert, breakfast, lunch, and several dinner options. Here are some highlights (full menu here).

  • Christmas breakfast: Rosemary Brown Butter Biscuits, Sliced Ham with Clementine and Clove Glaze, Crispy Bacon, Tuscan Frittata with Roasted Tomato and Ricotta, Spiced Pecan French Toast, and Creamy Yogurt Parfaits, $14 per person and includes setup and delivery.
  • Holiday lunch: Hearty Green Salad, House Baked Bread, two proteins, two sides, $18 per person and includes setup and delivery.
  • Christmas dinner served family style includes the following options: A Wild Game Inspired Menu for $125 per person, a Celebrating Local Menu for $78 per person, Locally Inspired Menu $70 per person, and an Indulgent Menu $80 per person.
  • Christmas dinner serve buffet style is $18 per person and includes salad, bread, two proteins, and two sides.
  • Dessert: They have eight options including Pecan Pie Bars with spiced caramel, Peppermint Chocolate Push Pops, and Dessert Tacos with ginger bread cheesecake and whiskey caramel, priced $32-$49.

Reid’s: The order deadline is Friday, December 20, and you can pick up on December 23 and 24. You can see the full menu here, but below are some highlights.

  • Beef Tenderloin Platter with sliced beef tenderloin, 24 rolls, horseradish sauce, and caramelized onions ($225)
  • Spiral Sliced Honey Ham ($54.99)
  • Free Range Turkey ($3.99 per pound)
  • Sides serve 4-6 people and are priced under $20. Favorites include Sweet Potato Souffle (cream, brown sugar, and cinnamon, pecan crumble, and marshmallow) for $16.99 and Mini Twice Baked Potatoes (bite-sized twice baked potatoes with cheddar cheese and bacon) for $19.99.
  • Hors d’oeuvres highlights: Pimento Stuffed Mushrooms for $21 a dozen, Mini Crab Cakes $32 a dozen, and Mini County Ham Biscuits $24 a dozen.
Confetti Castle holiday balloons

Courtesy of Confetti Castle

(5) Pick a party planner and let them create an Instagrammable tablescape or photo wall.

Having a party always sounds like fun, until you realize how much work goes into throwing a beautiful, fun event. So go ahead and hire a pro.

Charlotte Fête: Chelsey Sanderson runs Charlotte Fête, which specializes in event planning year-round. For the holidays, she can do anything from designing the perfect tablescape for your dinner party to playing Holiday Host (busing food, clearing trash, serving drinks, setting up, and breaking down).

Holiday Tablescape Designs begin at $250 and varies depending on the scale and your specific needs. Holiday Hostessing services begin at $50 an hour with a 4-hour minimum.

Confetti Castle: You probably already know Tiffany Donovan of Confetti Castle for her giant balloon garlands, which make any holiday party all the more festive.

“We offer party decor from balloon installations to rental items, from colorful out-of-the-box Christmas trees to photo backdrops,” she said.

A holiday party with a custom balloon garland for a photo opp and a tablescape rental starts at $300, but if you just want a pop of color, 80-foot garlands start at $100 (Tiffany says they last indoors for weeks).

Gathered Events: Jenny offers custom party design packages, ranging from designing the perfect place settings for your dinner party to full-service day-of party coordination. Her rate is generally $25-$50 an hour for these types of services.

(6) And when it’s all over, hire professional organizers to take it down and pack it up.

Queen City Organizing, run by Lisa Dowdy, has three holiday packages:

  • Holiday Playroom Prep – They’ll clean our your kids’ current toy room to make space for the new stuff
  • Holiday Decor Pack & Store – They’ll take down your decorations, organize them, and put them away for next year
  • Destress For Your Guest – If you’ve got a junk drawer (or more honestly a junk closet), they’ll organize it so your guests don’t discover your hoarding secret

The 30-minute consultation is free, and services start at $60 per hour. (Pro tip: Lisa says she’ll give you 10 percent off if you mention Charlotte Agenda).

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