As published in the Sunriver Scene December 2012       By Shannon Bassett – Caretaking Commander, Home Fridays

 

Crowded airports, delayed flights, congested freeways and road rage drivers! Oh sure, you love the holidays, but there is little to celebrate about holiday travel if your stress doesn’t end once you reach your destination. Here are some tips to make your holidays as festive as they are relaxing.

Holiday Décor

Deck the halls the easy way. Delegate.

Holiday lights are a simple way to bring a festive look to your home. I always like to light up a few trees in the yards as well, either with the c-7 or c-9 traditional glass bulbs or the newer more efficient LED lights. LED lights have a bigger upfront cost, but the savings on the electrical bills is 80% over traditional bulbs. LED lights also last ten to fifteen years compared to a three- to five-year life span for traditional lights. Either way, I always suggest that my clients contract with a local installation company. The cost ranges from $2 to $4 a linear foot, which is cheap compared to the cost of slipping on a frosty roof or ladder. A quality company such as Holiday Help Christmas Lighting (541.679.2459) will not only install your lights, they’ll take care of them by replacing burned bulbs, installing timers, taking everything down after the season ends and storing the bulbs for next year.

Of course, you won’t want to ignore the inside of your home. If you’re not in a total DIY mood, tree and house decorating services are available from a number of people around town. You can have your tree delivered and set up in your home ready to decorate when you arrive. A basic six-foot pine tree with lights can run about $100 for setup and removal, though the cost will vary based on the size of the tree and how many lights are requested. A 12-foot pine can cost almost $1,000 if you want to go really wild with the LED lights and that’s before any decorations have been installed. Of course, those LED lights will last you for the next ten to fifteen years and you’ll make back some of that investment with the savings on your electric bill.

For that instant holiday atmosphere, you can have the tree and entire house decorated inside and out before you even get there. Having a tree decorated runs about $50 per hour plus the cost of ornaments. Expect to pay about $150 for a six-foot decorated tree (tree height and the number of ornaments both impact cost). If you’re looking to extend the holiday theme to the rest of your home, Pamela Armstrong of Bend Furniture will finish out the rest of the interior. She can even provide custom-made ornaments.

Gift Giving

You don’t have to shop ‘til you drop. You can shop online instead and have your purchases delivered to your front door. If your home is empty, work with your management company and have the boxes delivered to their offices and then dropped off at your home. Imagine how much easier it will be to travel when you don’t have to stuff a bunch of gifts in your luggage or car.

You don’t even have to pack paper or ribbon. You can get your packages wrapped in the Old Mill at Bend Santa Land by the professionals from Wrap, Paper, Scissors. You won’t have to lift a finger and your packages will look amazing. Talk about a stress-free holiday!

Bon Appétit the Easy Way

Feasting is a quintessential part of merry making. But as far as cooking goes, sometimes less is more. So why not hit the restaurant scene? The Visit Bend website has a great list of restaurants categorized by price, and they note which ones are open for the holidays. Go to www.visitbend.com/Bend_Oregon_Activities_Recreation/Restaurants_Food.  If you want to stay close to home, the Grill at Crosswater and Meadows at the Lodge are great locations for holiday meals—reservations are recommended. (My advice: make them early so you know you won’t be waiting in line during the busy holiday season.)

You can also order pre-prepped holiday meals from one of the high-end markets or local restaurants and then just heat and serve. For a look at just some of your options, check out:

All of these places will provide a ‘to go’ holiday meal, so you can pretend you fixed it yourself. In fact, Tate and Tate has a location in Bend where you can pick up all kinds of prepared meals to take home and feed the family throughout your stay. I love their casseroles that are homemade and can easily be passed off as my cooking.

Want to do your own cooking? Shopping Assistance is a great way to save time. Send your shopping list to your home manager and have them stock the refrigerator for you. Imagine how nice it will be to wake up in the morning and have the eggs and orange juice waiting for you, to say nothing of the rest of the goodies you’ve ordered. And here’s a concept, your turkey will even have time to thaw.

If you really want to indulge, hire a chef to come into your home and fix your meals this holiday. For a little bit more than going out to a fancy restaurant, you can enjoy meals at home without the hassle of shopping, prepping or even cleaning up. I recently hosted a getaway trip for friends and family. Cheryl McIntosh, The Good Apple (541.280.0086) did all the cooking and it was fabulous. The food was wonderful. The fact that I hadn’t had to go shopping and could spend my time with my loved ones instead of in the kitchen was a true gift. I also recommend Pure Ingredients Personal Chef (541.550.9220).

Happy Holidays!

However you prefer to celebrate the season, I want to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and safe celebration, and a wonderful new year.

To get help with your home call me, the Caretaking Commander, at Home Fridays. I have been buying, renovating and managing residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. My locally-based company, Home Fridays (homefridays. com), offers professional home management and concierge services to vacation home owners. You can reach me at 541/317-3088 or shannon@homefridays. com

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