Delegating the Holidays
What with shopping, decorating, cookie baking, and attending parties, many are stretched thin during holiday festivities. Wouldn't it be nice to delegate some of those responsibilities to someone else and just sit back and enjoy the season? Believe it or not, some people are willing to pay big bucks for specialized services during the holidays.
A few smart—and well-heeled—folks are turning to professionals to take care of all their holiday needs. Read on to discover some of the clever (and pricey) tasks people hire out for the holidays.
Christmas Tree Stylist
Known as Dr. Christmas, Bob Pranga is tree stylist to the stars. While his dazzling Christmas tree designs run anywhere from $2,500 to $80,000, you can often find local tree styling services, typically offered by interior decorators, that can create festive trees, wreaths, and garlands at a price range of $500 to $2,500.
Holiday Lighting Installers
Those who don’t relish teetering on a ladder while trying to attach holiday lights to their roofs may want to track down a landscape lighting service. For $500 to $2,000, depending on the complexity of the lighting plan, you can keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and still win your neighborhood's "Best Decorated House" award. This service is typically offered by local building and lawn-care contractors that have the right equipment to do the job safely. Remember, though: You'll have to spring for the lights in addition to the installation fee.
If you’ve ever waited in line for hours on Black Friday to get a shot at the season’s most popular toy, you've probably wished someone could stand in line for you. Well, for $15 to $30 (or more) per hour, you can hire a line stander to patiently wait in your place. Must be nice!
Private Santa Services
Those who are willing to pay $300 an hour or more can arrange private visits from realistic Santas (some with real beards!), Mrs. Claus, and/or a bevy of elves to visit their homes. Santa and his crowd mingle and take photos with guests, and can also be hired to personally deliver gifts to the kiddos on Christmas morning.
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Wrapping presents can become tedious when you have a lot of people to buy for, and these days not all stores offer gift-wrapping services. For those who hate wrapping or are blessed with more money than time, gift-wrapping services like NYC Gift Wrapping will come to your home and do all the wrapping for you, starting at around $15 for a small, mobile-phone-sized gift and running to over $30 or more for handbag-sized gifts.
Most of us spend hours hunting (both online and in stores) for the perfect gifts for those on our Christmas list. But not everyone gets swept up in the frenzy. Instead, some people delegate the task to professional holiday shoppers. Expect to pay $30 to $50 an hour to hire a personal holiday shopper. But then you can sit back and relax, confident that you won't have to set foot in a store.
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What could be more festive than carolers with amazing voices serenading you and your guests with the songs of the season? Professional groups like New York’s Holiday Choristers and The Christmas Carolers will sing your choice of traditional carols or more contemporary fare, with fees starting at $560 for four carolers (fees in some cities start at $860). In many communities, local singing groups or church choirs can often be hired for less than $100.
Holiday Party Producers
For those too busy to plan their own holiday celebrations, private concierge services, such as Quintessentially, are standing by to handle all the details. Membership is required and can run as high as $45,000 per person per year, but it carries valuable perks: If you decide to host an epic New Year’s Eve bash, the company will handle everything from food selection and venue to valet parking and decorations. They’ll even send out invitations.
Professional Chef Services
As a more upscale alternative to cooking a holiday feast or having it catered, hire a professional chef to prepare a scrumptious meal in your home and, best of all, clean up after! Expect to pay a single chef a minimum of $80 per person for a buffet-style meal, and up to $250 per person for a full four-course meal with wine pairing. Servers are available for around $50 per hour per server.
Wine Selection and Sourcing
No need to scour the aisles of the liquor store in search of that well-reviewed Cabernet when you can hire a private concierge service to find the best wine for your holiday celebration. This is another helpful amenity offered by Quintessentially, which will search high and low to bring you the rarest or trendiest wines in the world. But be sure to leave room in the budget: You could wind up spending upwards of $2,000 per bottle, depending on its value. Happy New Year!
Skip Baggage Claim
Fetching one’s bags might be the most annoying part of flying: Airports are often cram-packed, flights are delayed due to weather, and the last thing anyone wants is to stand in the baggage claim area, waiting on luggage. Some people don't. Rather than wait for their bags, they hire private baggage handlers to stand in line, grab the bags, and see them safely to their destination. Services, such as Grab My Bag charge $120 to pick up 5 to 10 bags. Come to think of it—that's not too dear a fee to avoid the baggage claim area.
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Lights by Limo
Remember riding in the backseat of the family car and admiring all the houses and businesses that were decorated with holiday lights? Now you can see the best light displays without getting behind the wheel of a car. In New York City, sightseers can book a Holiday Lights by Limo tour, which starts at $549 for four people. Why not crack open a bottle of Champagne, and settle in for a 3-hour tour of the most festive light displays the city has to offer?
Pets Get the Royal Treatment
Wealthy people’s pets deserve luxurious treatment too! These fur babies don't languish in traditional boarding kennels when their owners travel for the holidays. They enjoy massages, opulent private rooms, and they're pampered endlessly. Luxury pet facilities, such as The Barkley in Westlake Village, California, charge $95 per night for a pooch to stay in a suite on Hollywoof Blvd. Owners with longer trips planned can book their pooches more lengthy stays; a 20-night visit, for example, starts at $1,700.
Holiday Card Writing
Nothing is more personal than sending out traditional holiday cards with a handwritten message inside, but it can become a tedious chore if you have more than a dozen cards to send. If you've ever wondered how some people manage to send out cards despite their hectic schedules, they might be hiring someone else to write them. Companies like The Handwritten Card charge $6.50 per card, and a real person pens each message by hand.
You'll never show up to a holiday party in the same dress your friend bought if you hire a custom haute couture designer. Personal designers such as Dress Haute meet with clients to determine the look they're after, and then sketch and design a completely custom dress to suit. While Dress Haute doesn't post their prices, it's not unusual for a haute couture gown to run upwards of $10,000. Order early; it can take up to 6 months for your dress to arrive.
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