Holiday Help Wanted — Hassle-free Holiday Lights and Decorations

December 2019 View more

Photo courtesy of American Holiday Lights

The warm glow of holiday lights on a cold winter’s night, brings back childhood memories of Christmases long ago. However, recreating those holiday memories can sometimes be more of a headache and hassle than it’s worth. Not everyone has the time, the patience, or even the will power to climb a ladder on an ice-covered driveway, in sub-freezing weather, to hang a string of half-lit lights.

Holiday help wanted

More and more homeowners are hanging up the help wanted sign and turning to professional holiday decorating companies to take the headache out of the holidays.  There are a growing number of outdoor holiday lighting companies ready to take on the challenge. “More and more homes are being decorated by professionals than ever before,” said Derek Norwood of Holiday Creations. Holiday Creations has been in business for 12 years in the Chicago area, specializing in outdoor holiday lighting displays for residential and commercial businesses. “People want the Christmas lights, but they don’t have the time to decorate,” said Norwood.

Norwood says they are busy all year designing and preparing for the holiday season. They start installing outdoor lights as early as October, with the Naperville area being one of their busiest areas. “We are a full service provider. You are buying a service with us.  We put it up, take it down, maintain it, and store it. If there is a problem with a string of lights, we’ll have a crew out to your house within 24 to 48 hours to fix a line or replace a light bulb,” said Norwood.

Holiday Creations also offers custom design computer software that allows customers to see a digital rendering of what their house will look like, before the lights are actually installed. Holiday lighting packages are also available on the company’s website and range in price from $300 to $3,000.

American Holiday Lights, a family owned business that serves the western suburbs, has been around for the past five years. “We got our start by listening to homeowners complain about putting up Christmas lights. The holidays should be about family, friends, and laughter. We can help make this holiday season stress-free, so you can sit back and relax,” said Jeff Krall of American Holiday Lights.

American Holiday Lights installs outdoor Christmas lights, maintains them during the season, and removes them after the holidays. “We offer two different programs. The first one is where they (homeowners) rent the lights from us. The benefit is that they can completely change the design each year. The second program we offer is where they (homeowners) purchase the lights. The benefit is that after the first year, customers only pay for the installation, take down, and storage,” said Krall. “The homeowner does not have to battle the elements like snow, rain, and below freezing temperatures. They enjoy the magic of the lights without the headaches.”

Holiday lighting trends

What’s cold

Pack away the blow up Santa, the plastic Frosty, and the animated snow globe, Norwood says homeowners are straying away from the “Christmas Vacation” movie decor and opting for more elegant lighting displays. Experts also agree that multi-colored lights are also fading in popularity.

What’s hot

The recent trend in holiday lighting continues to be less white lights and more solid colors.  According to Norwood, white lights are still popular, but more people are adding a splash of color for balance and variety, while still being elegance. Experts say LED lights are also becoming more widely accepted. They are long-lasting, use less energy, and with recent improvements in technology, the colors are more solid and vibrant. “If you are using a lot of mini lights on bushes and trees, it makes sense to go with LED because they use about 90% less electricity,” said Krall. Most LED’s also have a life expectancy rating of nearly 100,000 hours of use which make them very economical. Lighted wreaths and garland are also very popular outdoor decorations along with lights on the front outline of the house.

A permanent solution

A more recent and growing trend, is for permanent lighting installations.  These displays are permanently installed along the roofline and match the color of the house trim so they are not easily noticeable during the rest of the year.  This is a one-time installation that also allows homeowners to adjust the colors to match any holiday season such as Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or July 4th. While this is a more expensive approach in the short term, homeowners benefit in the long run.  “With permanent lighting, you never have to worry about the cost or the headache of installing holiday light again,” said Norwood.

Budget-friendly Christmas Decorations

  • Branch out: Spray paint branches in silver or gold.  Put them in a vase or container for an elegant indoor holiday decoration.
  • Go Natural: Use evergreen branches, pinecones, or berries to accent indoor fireplace mantels, shelves, or candle displays. Make sure to place candles in a separate holder for safety.
  • Show Your Cards: Paste, glue or tape your holiday greeting cards into a montage on a colored poster board. Trim the poster board with ribbon or garland for added decor. Hang on a wall or prop-up on a table.
  • Tie It Up: Take your throw pillows and tie them once around the middle with holiday colored ribbons or bows to resemble a Christmas gift.
  • Go Red: Fill any large vase with red cranberries. Add small flowers or twigs in the vase for added color and character. Use as a table centerpiece or end table decoration.