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RETAILING : Professional Decorators Brighten Up Christmas, but It Can Cost a Bundle

December 22, 1987|Mary Ann Galante, Times staff writer

So you thought $45 was a bit pricey for a Christmas tree? How about plunking down $1,200 for ornaments?

Orange County has several professional decorators who will haul a tree to your house then spruce up the spruce or fir. For an extra fee, they will also decorate staircases, doorways, mantels and bathrooms.

What they do depends on how much the customer is willing to spend. Patrons of Lindsay's at South Coast Plaza have plunked down as much as $15,000 for the ultimate in holiday decorations for an entire home. With ornaments that cost up to $45 apiece, it's no wonder.

Even so, store owner Chris Lindsay says customers start booking her services in August.

The store--which is a gift shop during the non-holiday months--decorates as many as 60 trees in the four weeks before Christmas. Then Lindsay spends part of January taking down much of her handiwork.

Her counterpart at Fashion Island, Vera Korkus of Christmas Dazzle, has a similar service, but unlike Lindsay, works mostly with artificial trees.

Neither service would appeal to Scrooge. Lindsay will put your own ornaments on an eight-foot tree for about $350. If she supplies the trees and decorations, the cost can climb to $1,200. House decorating costs $35 an hour per worker if the crew is hanging up your own doodads. Korkus' tree-trimming rates, not including the tree itself, start at $500.

But the results can be spectacular--and occasionally offbeat.

One of the most popular trees this year is a "country French tree" with pink paper ribbons, pink German ornaments and tiny dried flowers, Lindsay said. Others have ornaments of shimmering beveled crystal and long garlands of glittered moire fabric.

At Christmas Dazzle, trees are decked out entirely with Disney ornaments or madonnas. A tree with a kitchen theme has tiny copper pans hanging from its branches while a sports tree is decorated with a baseball bats and tennis racquets.

Even with the difference in their decorating styles, the professional tree trimmers do agree on one thing: Neither has a Christmas tree at home.

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