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Holiday Helpers

Produced by Newsday's Custom Content Studio - not associated with Newsday editorial

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By Donna Kutt Nahas

EVERY YEAR, BRYAN COOPERMAN LOOKS FORWARD TO MAKING THE HOLIDAYS SPECIAL FOR HIS TWO DAUGHTERS, AGES 9 AND 11, AND LARGE EXTENDED FAMILY. BUT SHOPPING FOR HANUKKAH GIFTS DOESN’T FIGURE INTO THE HARRIED SINGLE FATHER’S 70-HOUR WORK WEEK.

“The holidays are important to my family and we’ve always been into gift-giving,” says Cooperman, who works in IT. Each year for three years, Cooperman, of Roslyn, has handed over the fate of his holiday gift list for his daughters and seven nieces and nephews to Gold Coast Concierge, a year-round personal assistance service. Besides selecting and wrapping his gifts, the service helps to address and mail his holiday greeting cards.

“The holidays are a beautiful time of year but they can be overwhelming,” says Alison Levenstein, the company’s founder and CEO. “People call me to fill in the gaps to organize, prioritize or to do the task.” With Americans working more than anyone in the industrialized world, according to a 2014 Gallup poll, no wonder there is little time for daily chores, let alone getting ready for the holidays. Add decorating, party planning, gift shopping—and searching for that knock-out holiday outfit—and you have a dizzying number of tasks to tackle on your to-do list. Thankfully, a crew of holiday elves—from personal stylists and chefs to holiday decorators and entertainment booking agents—stand ready to help lighten the holiday load.

DRESSED TO THE NINES

No one knows the stress of juggling work, home and the holidays better than Emily Hochberg. The business owner in hospitality sales is often required to attend a number of black-tie  affairs, especially around the holidays. But a demanding work schedule leaves little time for the mother of two to shop. “Fashion is very important to me and being up-to-the-minute counts,” says Hochberg of Old Brookville, who turned to professional fashion service, newyorkpersonalshopper.com for wardrobe help. “It’s not just an outfit I’m providing, it’s a total look: accessories, shoes, make-up,” says owner Rhonda Marinoff, who can shop with the client or bring items to the home or office.

DECK THE HALLS

If trimming the tree or hanging garland seems like a daunting task, Distinctive Holiday Displays says it can bring a “Rockefeller Center feel” to your home. The indoor/outdoor service will outline the roof of your home with sparkling lights or even arrange animated reindeer and snowmen on your lawn. Besides tree trimming, they can create a Hanukkah Menorah display, or hang garland and decorated wreaths. “Some people say they want a winter wonderland look or a snowman or candy cane theme, but we’ll also provide ideas and designs to choose from,” says the company’s vice president Joseph Manieri, whose staff will also take down the displays and even sweep up the pine needles.

EAT AND BE MERRY

For those who don’t know where to begin when hosting a holiday get-together, personal chef Bart Dorfman, owner of aculinarymind.com, will plan a menu, shop for the ingredients, prep, cook, serve a four-to-five course meal and even clean up. “I can customize a menu from American to classic Italian to French and Spanish,” says Dorfman, who studied at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and also in Tuscany. “The meal is tailor-made to your taste. You are not picking off a pre-packaged list.”

ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Want to throw a holiday party your guests will never forget? Invite a celebrity. Washington, D.C.-based celebrity agent Mike Esterman will negotiate on behalf of the client to hire, say, singer Michael Bublé, to serenade your guests. “There’s no set price for Michael Bublé,” says Esterman, who has booked Flo Rida, Mario Lopez and Ne-Yo. He suggests clients set a budget and list a few celebrities they would like to hire, but cautions that the cost of hiring star talent doesn’t include airfare, local transportation, hotel, meals and hidden fees.

MANI/PEDI AT YOUR DOORSTEP

Need a manicure or pedicure? NuBest Salon and Spa of Manhasset brings the salon to your home or office, from Manhattan to the Hamptons. Owner Jamie Mazzei says you can book up to 48 hours in advance or as close as four hours before your appointment.

If you want to kick off the holidays in grand style but with less stress, holiday helpers will be at your beck and call and are only a mouse-click away.

Donna Kutt Nahas is an award-winning writer whose articles have appeared in Newsday, and other lifestyle and trade publications.

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