Photo by Chris Plavidal. Art directed by Jamie Laubhan-Oliver photo by Chris Plavidal


How to Holiday Without Lifting a Finger

All the local experts you need to effortlessly navigate the season.

It’s Lit

Don’t fight it: Let someone else light it. And that person is Jake Geary with Light It Up Dallas. He can wrap trees, outline a home for a gingerbread house effect, or cover your entire property in a light show. It’s all custom. Plus, he takes them down for you, too.

Gift in a Box

If you don’t have time to shop, no problem. Two local gift box companies do the work for you. SMU grads Ali Barshop and Meg Margiotta started To and From because they “believe the only thing better than getting a gift is giving one.” They offer pre-made boxes or custom concierge gifting services. Loved and Found owner Liz Vidrine, a former textile designer for the likes of Martha Stewart and Michael Kors, packages the prettiest finds in a wooden slide-top box tied with ribbon and seasonal foliage—choose from themes like “Unwind” and “Happy Hour” or ask for her custom packages.

Piece of Cake

We can bet your guests will thank you for calling in takeout. (Hooray for not having to pretend to love Aunt Judy’s fruitcake.) From Slow Bone’s fried chicken…


…and Pecan Lodge’s barbecued brisket…

…to tamales from La Popular, you can easily outsource your entire holiday feast.

With sides like sweet potato casserole from Celebration

…and EatZi’s cornbread, you’ll wonder why you ever took the DIY route.

Emporium Pies’ buttermilk is classically Texas and the perfect finish to your meal.

Wrap Stars

We like to get our wrapping paper from Carrollton-based The Container Store, Dallas’ own Bell’Invito Stationers, and local artist Meredith Grabham—they all have graphic prints and unexpected color combos that lean toward the nontraditional. But if you’ve never been interested in cutting and taping, drive your sleigh to St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange ( and let them do the work.


You Got Served

Enjoy the meal with your loved ones by calling in the reinforcements. Not only is Domestic Affairs’ staff TABC certified as bartenders, they can help serve, replenish the buffet, and clean up afterward. Two staffers for a four-hour minimum will run you $240.


Breaking Down the Perfect Christmas Tree

A covetable Christmas tree is as easy as basic math when you follow these tips from Addison Green of Holiday Warehouse.

Number of Lights: 100 to 150 standard-size lights per foot. “Our typical 7 1/2-foot tree has 750 to 1,000 lights. You can add another set to fill in gaps or bring in a larger-size bulb for interest,” Green says.

Number of Ornaments: 18 to 20 ornaments per foot.

Size of Ornaments: 2 1/2 to 6 inches for a 7 1/2-foot tree, 4 to 8 inches for a 9-foot tree, and 5 to 10 inches for a 12-foot tree.

Start with the Base Ornaments. “These go in the back of the tree and establish the color scheme. The largest ornaments go in the back and should be done in a trapezoidal or wide-based pyramid pattern,” Green says.

Move on to Ribbon and Smaller Ornaments: “Running ribbon through a tree can be tricky. Start at the top and use random lines that come to different points in the tree,” Green says.

All the Trimmings

Mary Cates and her Christmas design team will turn your home into a holiday wonderland. They decorate mantels and staircases with high-quality garland and designer ornaments, as well as install trees adorned from top to trunk. Plus, the Inwood Village store’s mix of inventory allows the team to design for your home’s aesthetic—whether traditional or modern.

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