Consumer Wise: Hiring a professional holiday light decorating team

By Angie Moreschi, Consumer Wise Host
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 9:44 AM EST

Seeing a big, beautiful display of Christmas lights and decorations is always sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Just ask Alanis Figuroa, who was shopping in the Christmas section at a Home Depot in Tampa.

“They make everything more bright. More colorful and just make everything more fun,” Figuroa said. “It makes me happy!”

Customer Karrie Duffy agrees.

“We used to drive by and see all the houses lit up, when we were growing up, so we do it with our kids, too,” she said. “We look for houses that are ‘Wow!’”

Hiring Professional Light Decorators

R & R Decorative Landscape is a professional holiday light decorating company. Owner Ray Reed says it takes time and hard work to get that “Wow!”

“I’ll have a display playing right on the garage door, but I could have different images playing off of that one projector on the whole house and not have any Christmas lights up at all,” Reed said.

New technology is helping to make the process easier.

New Lighting Technology

Projection or “animated video mapping” as the pro’s call it is a hot new trend. Colorful lights or video images are projected onto a house.

At home versions of holiday light projectors include, the Star Shower Laser Light Projector and Points of Light LED Light Show.

R & R Decorative showed us a display of scenes from the animated classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, projected right onto the garage of a home.

Reed controlled the whole display from an app on his phone, called Roku.

“You just hit it, and it starts playing,” he said. “It’s convenience. You can turn it on and off from anywhere in the house; or if you connect them to Wi-Fi, you can turn them on and off from anywhere.”

Cost is not cheap

If you’re wondering how much it costs to have a pro do the work — well, it’s not cheap.

 “I tell everybody they can expect to pay $1,500 plus,” Reed said. “This house here is about 3,600 square feet, and if someone had to pay for it, you’re looking at about $3,500.”

That display was very elaborate, including video mapping, lights along the roof line, lights on surrounding shrubs and trees, and decorations like wreaths on the front of the house and candy canes lining the walkway.

R & R’s minimum charge is $1,500 to do a home. You can find companies that do it for less, but most businesses that are bonded and insured have a minimum charge of at least $500. It is pricey, but it can be worth it for some to avoid the hassle and potential danger of doing it yourself.

“We have a lot of homeowners who call us who’ve fallen off of ladders,” Reed said.

‘Wow' Your Neighbors

If you can afford it, a display with all the bells and whistles is sure to “Wow!” your neighbors.

“We make people happy,” Reed said, “When you see their eyes grow and get large and the smile. That’s it.  That’s what we want. I’m, like, perfect.”

Consumer Wise: Shopping for the Season Special

Be sure to watch our Consumer Wise: Shopping for the Season special, this Friday night, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. Angie will show us the hottest gifts and toys of the season, along with great tips on ways to save money as you shop for the holidays. If you miss it, you can catch it again, Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. or Sunday, Nov. 20, at 4 p.m.