Hiring Help for the Holidays

Updated November 4, 2014
Don't be afraid to hire help around the holidays for shopping, gift wrapping or decorating. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Terry L., of Powell, Ohio)

If you’re overwhelmed with your holiday to-do list, consider hiring a concierge service to tackle some of the tasks, like shopping or wrapping gifts.

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The holiday season is upon us, and for many, it can feel non-stop. Shopping, gifts to wrap, cards to mail, a house to decorate, a feast to prepare and perhaps an out-of-town visit to plan. How do you get everything done? The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. Angie’s List has a number of highly rated companies that offer a variety of services to help ease your holiday stress. Check out the “errands,” “organization” or “holiday decorating” categories for a range of help-for-hire options.

Services for hire

From caterers to childcare to chauffeurs, you can hire most anyone to do most anything. But if you’re in need of a unique task to tackle during the holidays (like organizing the house), consider a company that offers a variety of concierge services. “I have a client for whom I’ve worked for almost 11 years, and every year I help her with her huge shopping list,” says highly rated Karen Muranko, who works as a for-hire personal assistant in Pasadena, California. “I create labels and envelopes for her holiday cards. We also have our yearly wrap party where she and I wrap all her presents. If any need to be shipped, I take care of that.”

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Muranko, who charges $30 an hour with a minimum two-hour requirement, says she also hand-delivers gifts for clients, orders and/or picks up food for holiday parties and helps with party set-up. Pet sitting is also popular during the holidays, as many pet owners travel. “People are extremely busy, especially those with families,” she says. “I don’t know how people find time to take care of the extra tasks on their list. I once had a client tell me that for every two hours she hired me, she gained five hours. That’s a good return on an investment.”

Leave the headaches to someone else

“A concierge service can relieve some of the stress associated with last minute shopping, entertaining and gift wrapping,” says Lori Dugan, owner of highly rated Full Circle Concierge & Lifestyle Management in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. “I’ve helped many of my clients with researching the best deals available, making cookies, delivering presents, helping with parties, driving elderly family members to family holiday events and so on.”

Dugan recalls one Christmas when a client broke her ankle and had to hire Dugan to obtain a special gift for her son. “It required standing in line for hours at a local electronics store,” Dugan says. “It took hours standing in freezing temperatures, but knowing that a big smile would be present on a little boy’s face on Christmas morning made it all worth it.”

Taking care of the details is what drives Dugan, who says she likes to provide help with the ordinary, so you may celebrate the extraordinary. She says her rates depend upon the type of service requested, but she offers discounts for blocks of time. For instance, Dugan charges $130 for five hours of work per month, or $470 for 20 hours a month.

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