LIGHT WORK / Christmas hangers help ladder-impaired
By JANETTE RODRIGUES Staff
Forget about the inflatable Santa. Say no to the grazing doe. Nothing says Christmas like a house all aglow in white mini lights.
But before hanging the lights, homeowners have to find them, unravel the knots of tangled cords and hope they still work.
All of which creates attitudes more naughty than nice. That's where companies that hang Christmas lights come in to dress up a lawn, preserve a home owner's peace of mind and keep the ladder-impaired out of the emergency room.
"It takes the pressure off them and lets them enjoy their holidays more," said a helper, who works for Christmas Lights Unlimited.
No one knows just how many companies in Houston string Christmas lights professionally, but homeowners start calling them with work in early November.
Standing on the second-story balcony of a new colonial in Piney Point Village, a helper recently dressed up garlands with white mini lights, while another helper finished wrapping 700 feet of the tiny lights around a 16-foot-tall holly tree.
"We're averaging up to two to three houses a day," a helper said, opening another pack of lights.
Who wants to hang their own lights?
Entrepreneurs have turned a Christmas ritual into a seasonal windfall. People are willing to pay thousands, of dollars so they don't have to deal with the dreaded box labeled "Christmas lights."
"We install everything," said Christmas Lights Unlimited, who has done seasonal exterior Christmas lighting since 1991.
Christmas Lights Unlimited isn't sure how many lights the company went through during this season, but customers call earlier and earlier each year.
"More and more people have no problem having us put up lights in the beginning of November," Christmas Lights Unlimited said.
Christmas Lights Unlimited, has several crews of two to four people working during the height of the light-hanging season.
Some people hire Christmas Lights Unlimited because they don't have the time to do the work themselves. Others don't have the skill, and some need something elaborate to go with their high-end home.
And some see it as a matter of self-preservation.
Two crewmembers were on the job for a little over a week when they were assigned two jobs generated by homeowner injuries.
A surgeon fell off a ladder and slashed his hand open, and another man hurt his shoulder while draping lights on his house.
In another client’s case, the client just wanted the work done quickly on her Piney Point home. She was out of town the entire month of November. With time running out and her son coming home from school, she called Christmas Lights Unlimited.
She saw a flier for the company while volunteering at a non-profit organization and memorized the number.
After getting a consultation with Christmas Lights Unlimited, she purchased a complete package for an undisclosed amount. That package included labor, lights, timers and other materials.
Three trees, numerous bushes and a balcony later, the lights were up in time to surprise her husband, (partner of the Vinson & Elkins Law Firm), when he drove up to the house.
"I thought it would be cool to have him come home and the lights were up," She said.
"It's his gift for letting me go off to California last month; and I wanted it looking good for my son."