Professional Christmas Decorator Co-Owns Chicago Family Business

  • We offer decorating products and services for other vacations and situations, but our key aim is Xmas. 
  • We embellish from early November to mid-December, undertaking about 30 homes and 30 eating places.
  • The greatest aspect of my career is getting to work with different people — and performing with my mom and dad.

This as-told-to essay is centered on a dialogue with Megan Clauson, a 35-yr-aged who operates a seasonal career as a holiday getaway-decorating elf and is a co-operator of the enterprise The Top Elf

When I was 5, my mom commenced a business enterprise executing holiday break decor in the Chicago spot. I viewed her rework large, lovely residences into cozy traditional Christmas scenes in a make any difference of hrs. I admired her confidence — the way she’d climb a large ladder and how she recognized a client’s fashion.

So when I was about 17, I began aiding her with small duties, like decorating the tree or assisting unpack packing containers of decorations. 

I graduated from college or university with a degree in education and learning, but I have often experienced odd careers. In 2012, I was working at a modest household-owned flower store in New York City, and I started off to question why I wasn’t operating for my have family’s company.

So in 2013, I made the decision to shift again to Chicago. I turned a co-proprietor of The Best Elf and manufactured that my seasonal work from Oct to January. 

While we do give decorating providers for other holidays and events, like Halloween and bridal showers, our most important focus is Christmas. 

We embellish from early November to mid-December, performing about 30 residences and 30 dining places. We also supply a takedown support, which keeps us chaotic until eventually the conclude of January. Most of our customers obtain us by way of phrase of mouth considering that my mom has been undertaking this locally for 30 yrs. We also arrive at out to places to eat that we notice could use additional vacation decor. 

We fully grasp every single shopper and their house first 

When we have a new customer, we initially set up a time to chat so I can see what they have in thoughts. Following that, I like to see photographs of the room so I can start off organizing how my workforce will decorate. We constantly share photographs and explain our plans prior to we get began. 

We also discover out regardless of whether the consumer has their very own decorations or they want us to supply goods. We normally get started getting Xmas decor in the summer months from wholesalers so we’re prepared when the season starts off.

We string lights as a result of stairwell garlands, make bows, and incorporate berries to trees and swags. Of program, we have also produced just about every variety of tree concept possible — which includes a Chicago Cubs tree, a Disney tree, and a Notre Dame tree.

It really is not as uncomplicated as it seems 

A large amount of what helps make us good at this position is our focus to depth. For case in point, we make confident electrical cords usually are not dangling, bows are fluffed and not nonetheless flat from staying in storage, and flowers are facing the suitable direction.

The Ultimate Elf holiday decor designs

Clauson moved again to Chicago and, as a co-proprietor of The Final Elf, designed holiday decor her seasonal job from Oct to January.


Megan Clauson offers decorating services for other holiday seasons, but the primary concentrate is the Christmas year.



A significant part of the work entails climbing up ladders and going into dusty storage rooms to take out and unpack containers. Plus, every thing we established up has to be secure so no one accidentally pulls off a decoration.  

Most areas we adorn acquire a working day, but dependent on the size of the put, we’ll have any place from two to 10 people doing the job to beautify. A large amount goes into determining pricing, from the amount of rooms to irrespective of whether we need to purchase things. We use that facts to ascertain an hourly rate. Most of our installations take amongst six and seven several hours.

We get some odd requests

Around the a long time, I have realized to recognize irrespective of whether the customer is asking for my assistance and if they are certain about what they want. Some clientele have above-the-prime taste. They ask us to integrate oversize goods, like a existence-measurement deer, nutcrackers, or a mailbox for Santa’s letters.  

I do as they say, even if it truly is not my particular design and style. Some of their goods are heirlooms or common items, and if that’s what they want to use as their vacation decor, we constantly respect that. Portion of our occupation is to make the approach light-weight-hearted and easygoing. 

A superior elf is hard to find 

A single of the toughest parts of the occupation is finding “elves” each and every period. Since it’s a short term job, we have some people who don’t appear back the following calendar year if, for example, they get a complete-time position. 

This 12 months, we have 22 elves working for us. We like to discover people today with focus to detail who are a bit handy. We require to make sure almost everything appears to be excellent and is established up securely, but we also need trustworthy individuals who can function rapidly.

This is what I recommend for Xmas decorating 

When persons question me for getaway-decorating suggestions, my greatest suggestions are to incorporate battery-operated candles and candlesticks for the reason that they add top, furthermore they generate a heat ambiance. Incorporate fresh new greens into artificial greens for a more purely natural glimpse, and increase your favourite holiday break images. 

The finest portion of my task is obtaining to work with unique persons and working with my dad and mom. Soon after the holiday seasons, it can come to feel a small strange. Right after getting down people’s decorations, you can find a bit of relief, but I am pretty unhappy, much too. I put absent my Final Elf hat and rely down the times until eventually the upcoming getaway season.

The Ultimate Elf holiday decor designs



Megan Clauson