‘Tis the season to be jolly and deck the halls — and the yard — with Christmas cheer, but for some, holiday decorating can be a bit overwhelming.
There are so many options to choose from — traditional or trendy, small-scale or large, elaborate or simple, rustic or modern — how does one decide?
Brandon Stephens, president of Irving-based Christmas Decor, a leading holiday decorating brand in the U.S. and Canada, shared some helpful tips with The Dallas Express for homeowners aspiring to add some Christmas spirit to their dwellings. He advises decorating in stages, “starting at the roof and working your way down.” His decorating teams break outdoor holiday decorations into six zones, allowing their clients to pick as much or as little as they like from each zone.
Zone 1 is roof lighting, which can be added along the ridges — the peaks and angles of the roof — or along the fascia, the painted edge below the roof. When choosing lighting, Stephens recommends light-emitting diodes, better known as LEDs, which he says are now the foundation of the lighting industry.
LEDs use only 10-15% of the electricity required by old-fashioned incandescent lights. In addition, most LED light displays can run off just one or two power sources, while incandescent lights may require multiple outdoor plug-ins.
For those who just love the old-style look of filament bulbs, there are now LEDs that mimic the appearance but offer the energy-saving benefit of LEDs.
Zone 2 is window lighting, and Zone 3 is stake lighting lining the flower beds and walkways. Zone 4 is greenery lighting for the trees and shrubs in the yard, while Zone 5 is for non-illuminated daytime decorations, such as garlands and wreaths.
Zone 6 is for specialty items to place in the yard, such as toy soldiers, Santa figures, igloos, inflatables, or animatronics.
Stephens says the company’s average client spends about $2,400 on Christmas decorations, but some choose to go all out and may spend tens of thousands of dollars.
Of course, do-it-yourselfers can save money by not hiring professionals to do the work, but Stephens cautions homeowners to be aware of the true cost.
“You know, it’s one thing to go buy a string of lights at the store. It’s another thing to crawl up on the roof and install it, to be properly insured, and to have all the tools and the know-how and the things you need,” Stephens said. “So, I think that’s where it starts: gaining an understanding.”
“If you’re purely focused on saving money by doing it yourself, there are some good product options out there. Do research on what you want and then make your decisions about whether or not it fits into your budget,” Stephens said.
He advises homeowners on a budget to monitor their expectations and add to their holiday decorations a little each year instead of trying to buy everything all at once.
Another important point to remember is the homeowner will need a place to store all the holiday items when not in use. Christmas Decor takes care of that issue for its clients. The company’s service includes design assistance, the decorations themselves, and set-up, take-down, and storage of the items.
Although the company primarily focuses on outdoor holiday decorations, it has begun transitioning to interior decor as well.
“So now we can do pre-decorated indoor trees, garland programs. We do a lot of interiors for malls, shopping centers, hospitals, [and] restaurants. So, yeah, it really runs the gamut as far as decorating goes,” Stephens told The Dallas Express.
Because of growing demand, Christmas Decor has “stepped outside of Christmas,” according to Stephens. The company has done Halloween, Fourth of July, and Diwali festival decorations, as well as lighting for backyard barbecues, parties, special events, and weddings.
Some clients have opted for year-round lights encased in a track on the eaves of the building, which are not visible until switched on. The lights, known as PermaLights 365, are individually addressable and can be made to light up in any color or pattern desired, such as green for St. Patrick’s Day or orange and purple for Halloween.
“You can make them traditional Christmas colors at Christmas. But on Friday night, you can make them the color of the local high school football team, and red, white, and blue on the Fourth of July, or any other color to represent different causes,” said Stephens, who has installed PermaLights on his own home.
Christmas Decor, which has franchises in 300 markets in 49 U.S. states and in Canada, also has a program for families of deployed military personnel. Friends can nominate a deserving family, and Christmas Decor will choose 200 from across the nation to provide them with free Christmas decorating services. Nominations are accepted until November 11 — Veterans Day — each year.