It's the Holiday Season
Let Others Help You
December, 2007 - Issue #38
There are some who start gearing up for the holiday season in July. Of course, that number is pretty low. So if you are like most people, the holidays have snuck up on you and you are getting concerned, running out of ideas, and just a little stressed.

This is the time of year to be jolly and giving. With just a little bit of help, you can start crossing off some of those items on your long list of things to do and get back into the spirit of the holiday.

Start with decorating. It's a tradition in many homes to crawl around the attic on Thanksgiving weekend and drag out the box of tangled Christmas lights. It's also the time the kids disappear and you helplessly watch your husband balance on a wobbly ladder to string the lights. This is one item that can be taken off the list with a quick call to a professional.

Darell Lee has been stringing lights in the Santa Clarita area and beyond for the past eight years. He said those who self-string save money, but it can be much safer and a lot more pleasant to have a professional do it.

"We install the lights and remove them for you after the holidays," Lee said. "When it comes to stringing lights, my first rule of thumb is to always decorate for yourself, not your neighbors. Lights on the side of your home tend to be a waste of electricity."

"If you are like most
people, the

and you are getting
concerned, running
out of ideas, and
just a little stressed."

Lee said the current trend in house lighting is wrapping tree trunks and the ever-reliable icicles mixed with traditional white lights. If you want to do your own stringing, Lee recommends you place safety first. Before any lights go up, check the bulbs by laying out the string on the ground and plugging them in. Replace any burned-out bulbs before attaching them to your home. Lee said his crew strings lights while they are plugged in to make sure no circuits are over-loaded.

If you would like to keep the lights on your trees year round, make sure you leave a little slack in the lines to allow the tree to grow. Eventually the lights will need to be cut off to give the tree a chance to relax.

Of course, if this seems like a lot of work, you can call Christmas Light Installation by Darell Lee. An average two-story tract home can run about $450 using your existing string of lights, but he can provide the lights at an extra cost which are yours to keep. Lee begins booking in October and dates fill up quickly. His crew will get your lights up hassle-free and they'll even wear holiday hats during the installation.

Decorating the Christmas tree is always a fun family event. However, if you are running out of ideas for a creative look or are in need of new ornaments, you may want to cruise over to The Decor Store. Manager Carolyn McLintock rearranges her business during the holiday season with room-by-room decorations complete with Christmas trees, furniture, accessories and tabletop adornments.

"We love when someone asks for help decorating because we have so many ideas of our own, and ideas that have been passed along by customers," McLintock said.

Want to add a little bling to your holiday decorations? Consider a home improvement project that will set the mood and can be enjoyed year-round. Muralist Frank Rock can paint a lovely cool, winter evening theme in a room in the home that is certain to draw in the crowd. Blue tones and stars are a good choice for the holiday season, Rock said, but any addition can add that special zing sure to wow your guests. You might also want to consider having Rock design a mural as a special Christmas gift to a loved one. Hasn't that little girl of yours yearned for a fairy princess room long enough? Could be one of her most favorite gifts this year.

Now it's time to get down to brass-tacks and start shopping for those ever-elusive presents. Some are easy - Johnny wants a video game and Suzie has been pining for the newest Barbie, but what to give to those in-laws of yours? You've made a list and now you need to go shopping.

There is a new service in town that can probably help you out. Santa Clarita Concierge will give you the gift of time. Owner Tina Gannon said her group can not only do the shopping for you, but will wrap your gifts, address and mail your holiday cards and make deliveries.

"We advise clients to prioritize activities that they must do themselves, such as writing a shopping list versus things they may not have to do, such as shopping for those items," Gannon said. "A common problem we have identified while working with clients is that people tend to spend excessive time on doing things they really do not want to be doing and doing things they do not need to be doing."

Santa Clarita Concierge services both business and consumers alike. Gannon hires independent contractors on an as-needed basis, enabling her to service small personal requests as well as the larger corporate requests.

Have a mom-to-be on your list? Do you know someone moving into a new home? A gift certificate of time is available from Santa Clarita Concierge that will run errands, wait for contractors or shop for groceries. Time may be reserved by the hour, or in discounted monthly packages.

"Many of us just wish these and other time-consuming tasks in our lives were dealt with by a dependable, trustworthy service," Gannon said. "We have that service."

So now you've decorated your home and got some help - it's time to throw a party and show off your creative side. Parties are plenty during the holiday season and you want to make sure yours will stand out.

You don't have to be overwhelmed during the holidays and you can have a great party without the stress if you plan ahead, said party planner Myra Harbour of Celebrate - Planning For An Event to Remember. Start with the invitation. "Invitations set the mood," Harbour explained. "Be creative. Send big candy canes for Christmas parties or bottles of champagne for New Year's."

"It's a tradition
in many homes to crawl around the attic on Thanksgiving weekend and drag out the box of TANGLED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS."

Food is important but keep it simple, Harbour advises. "Choose five fabulous appetizers instead of a full meal," she suggests. "Everyone is eating a lot during the holiday season and it can be too much. Find appetizers you can make the day before the party or look on the internet for those you can just pop in the oven."

When it comes to drinking, Harbour said design a signature drink, maybe something in red and green, to go along with the beer and wine. And, of course, offer a non-alcoholic drink for those designated drivers.

If the thought of pulling together a party, decorating the home and cooking is a bit overwhelming, you can always hire a professional. "The advantage to having a professional is it gives you an opportunity to be a guest at your own party," Harbour said.

With a little help and some planning there is no reason to stress this holiday season. By spending a little extra time and prioritizing, there is no reason you cannot take pleasure in the spirit of the season and enjoy your family and friends.

For More Information

Celebrate - Planning For An Event to Remember 259-8611

Christmas Lights Installation by Darell Lee 297-7013 251-9457

Santa Clarita Concierge Services 255-SCCS (7227)
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