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November 7, 2012

Professionals, technology make Christmas displays merrier

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

If the thought of burned-out bulbs, tangled cords and wobbling ladders makes you redder than Rudolph, some local landscapers and Christmas-decoration experts are promising happier holidays.

For people who are too busy or physically unable to string up lights, an experienced decorator can turn a wintry front yard into a feast for the eyes.

Jeff Jarvey of Triple J’s Lawn Care, Landscaping & Snow Removal in Royal Oak said customers often start asking him to set up holiday displays the day after Thanksgiving. He said he listens to what the clients want and then follows their wishes — whether it be reindeer on rooftops or dazzling lights around the bushes.

“It’s a lot easier on them, and they don’t have to deal with the hassle,” he said.

Brandon Fromm, owner of the Clinton Township-based Creations of Christmas, serves the tri-county area. He said his holiday decoration services have been booked recently, and he plans to be very busy in November and in the first half of December.

Fromm said there isn’t much his company won’t do, adding that he is proficient with icicle lights, cedar roping, colored lights, live wreaths, reindeer statues and even indoor trees.

“I’ll take the customer’s idea or I give ideas,” he said. “I’m very good at what I do. I’ll set up a color scheme. I’ll set up anything they want me to set up.”

Fromm said his customers often call him up for three reasons: They fear heights, they want professionalism or they don’t want to bother with putting up or taking down the decorations in ice-cold weather.

When it comes to specifics, Fromm said Creations of Christmas can either use its own decorations or a homeowner’s. The business may give one total price for setup, takedown and storage, he added.

For homeowners who don’t want to hire a pro, yet want an easier time decorating, more and more companies are making products that are simpler to set up.

Dean Darin, Christmas merchandise manager at English Gardens, said his business sells lots of decorations that are ready to glow without much preparation.

“What we’re doing today started with the pre-lit tree about 10-12 years ago,” he said. “Pre-lighting greenery and decorations made it easier for customers to get their finished projects (done). The easier it is for them, the more they’ll do.”

Darin said light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, exploded onto the scene around six years ago and have become increasingly mainstream. Although the LED lights tend to be more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they tend to be more vivid, longer-lasting and more energy-efficient — using 80-90 percent less electricity than a standard bulb, he said.

Darin said many customers like to buy outdoor decorations like LED snowflakes, spheres or garden stakes that look like sticks and twigs.

“You simply stick them in the ground,” he said about the stakes. “It looks like you lit up a tree.”

Darin said LED technology can also light up interior decorations on battery-operated LED wreaths and garlands. There is also the virtual flame candle, which can look just like the real thing from about five feet away, he said.

“It smells like vanilla; it looks like a candle, it smells like a candle — yet it’s flameless,” he said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.