The Insider's Guide To Outsourcing for The Holidays

When it comes to obligations surrounding the holidays (and all year long, for that matter), hiring help can mean taking things off your to-do list. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Ever wonder how some people seem to do it all—stay on top of work, family, and social responsibilities and still manage to have beautiful, welcoming homes, remember everyone's birthdays and anniversaries, throw fabulous parties, and look stunning doing it? Quite simply, they have help. When it comes to the obligations surrounding the holidays (and all year long, for that matter), hiring help means you can take those things off your to-do list. Prices are as varied as the services and the level of expertise you require, but whatever your budget, there is an option. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Personal Shopping
The big department stores—Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, etc.—all offer personal shopping services, but you can also work with independent specialists. Los Angeles's LalaLuxe handles wardrobe styling and gift buying, and has a network of resources to help locate a rare Rolex or one-of-a-kind Birken. Highland Park Village, in Dallas, offers complimentary wardrobe consultation and gift assistance for clients nationwide, while Seattle's Mel Rose Style deals in personal styling for executives and for family photo shoots, plus professional "Jet Setter" packing services. Chicago-based Alison Guglielmo does wardrobe and event-specific styling, as well as gift-shopping. The services offered by MatchesFashion, in London, include wardrobe building, "seasonal gifting," and securing the most sought-after pieces for their global clients. New York's FD Gallery specializes in exceptional 20th-century jewels (from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, JAR, and others), vintage accessories, and rare prints, but will source more specific requests. Personal jewelry consultant Katherine Huang, of Boston, creates custom pieces but also works with a national network of craftsmen, designers, gem specialists, and diamond dealers to locate the ideal gift to suit your taste and budget. If you're buying a gift for a literary type, AbeBooks is a good place to start. Working with sellers around the world, they deal in rare and out-of-print books, first editions, and signed copies, as well as art and collectibles. For something a little more extensive, Boulder, Colorado's Juniper Books curates collections and creates bespoke book jackets for personal libraries. Custom curation starts at $350, but according to founder Thatcher Wine, the average job is about $2,500, and includes "eight or ten feet of books, or 80 to 100 books."

Decorating Services
Many interior designers decorate trees and create distinctive décor for their most loyal clients, while others offer à la carte holiday services. Baker Design Group, of Dallas, has been offering full service interior and exterior Christmas decoration for over 20 years. Designers Rick Garofalo, of Stamford, ConnecticutÃâbased Team Design and Decoration, and Scott Salvator, of New York, work with a limited number of clients each year. New Yorkers in need of interior and exterior floral décor (wreaths, window boxes, garlands) or trees (decorated or not) turn to the Upper East Side's Plaza Flowers. In Chicago, Anemone offers floral and event design services for corporate and residential clients.

Parties, Events and Private Chefs
Planning a wedding, an annual holiday celebration, or a fancy corporate function often calls for an event specialist. Pros like David Monn and Bronson van Wyck have created singular occasions all over the globe, and are known for their flair—and for overseeing every aspect of an event, from scents to soundtrack. If the focus is on the food, Big City Chefs' national network of private and celebrity chefs can handle cocktail parties, seated dinners, or weekly menu planning. In New York, Carried Away Chefs will prepare weekly in-home menus and family meals, as well as catering for private and corporate events. In the San Francisco Bay area, Chef Pete Coleman offers personal chef services (starting at $80 per person) as well as catering (from $40 per person).

Gift-Wrapping, Delivery and Shipping
For straightforward gift-wrapping supplies and services, don't overlook your local stationers or Paper Source store. For those with a volume of gifts to be wrapped, It's a Wrap NYC works with private and commercial clients, while Nifty Package Co. (—based in the Los Angeles/San Diego area—offers a mobile gift-wrapping service, with one, two, or three gift-wrappers, as well as multiple delivery options. In Greater Boston or Cape Cod, Fini Concierge handles giftwrapping, as well as delivery and shipping.

Household Management, Organization and Storage
Last but not least, you want your home to look its best, especially during the holidays. When you simply need someone to oversee all the details, consider a full-service management and organization firm, like Cross It Off Your List. Serving New York, the Hamptons, Los Angeles, "and everywhere in between," they can put your house in order, manage a project, or recommend the professionals you need to get the job done—and typically bill by the hour. For those with extensive wardrobes or multiple homes, Garde Robe, a full-service "wardrobe butler," offers museum-quality storage for clothing, furs, and accessories, as well as luggage storage, packing, and shipping services.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Mosaic, a lifestyle magazine produced exclusively for Morgan Stanley clients. Ask your Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor for more information.

Article by Mosaic and provided courtesy of Morgan Stanley.

The authors are neither employees of nor affiliated with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC ("Morgan Stanley"). By providing this third party article, we are not implying an affiliation, sponsorship, endorsement, approval, investigation, verification or monitoring by Morgan Stanley of any information contained in the article.

This article has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed by the authors are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Morgan Stanley. The information and data in the article has been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley.

©2020 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Member SIPC.

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