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How to Outsource Christmas


Illustration by Peter Arkle  

The Task:
Checking Off the Gift List

Grace Kang’s sweet Pink Olive shops, located in the East Village and Park Slope, offer a VIP concierge service that attends to gift-giving needs during the holiday season and throughout the year. The $197 annual fee affords you a dedicated “gift specialist” who will assemble a suite of presents based on the client’s request, then send along a PDF with options to choose from. (Cheeky stationery, funky jewelry, and design-forward baby ephemera are the coin of the realm here.) The dues also cover gift-wrapping, handwritten notes, and ground shipping. 212-780-0036;

The Task:
Securing a Next-Level Gift Card

The season’s most tepid gesture, the gift certificate, gets an overdue reinvention via Choose a price point between $30 and $500, pay your money upfront, and answer a few questions about the person you’re shopping for, and the web service—with on-the-ground operations in Dumbo—will generate a curated list of high-end presents. Select twelve items from a collection that includes Chambra cast-iron casseroles, Jaques London handmade croquet sets, and Fratelli Orsini Italian lambskin gloves, and Wantful will mail the gift certificate along with a personalized catalogue wrapped in Japanese rice paper to the giftee.

Elves for Hire
Where to find helpers that’ll do all—or at least most—of your holiday bidding.

The remote assistants at Fancy Hands ($65 a month for 25 fifteen-minute tasks; can research gifts, order alcohol for your party, and plan your New Year’s without ever meeting up in person. Assistants are vetted and assigned randomly, though you can request favorites.

Agent Anything (, meanwhile, supplies college students who can run your errands in between classes. Helpers are best suited to no-brainer duties like gift-buying (be very specific) and setting the holiday table; prices vary with each “mission.”

Need something a bit more specialized? Cut down on frantic Yelping with Zaarly (, whose new Storefronts section connects taskmasters with local artisans, including pie-makers, jewelry designers, bartenders, hairstylists, window washers, and more. Prices vary by vendor.

And of course there’s always TaskRabbit (, the Grand Pooh-bah of chore sites, where you can farm out decorating duties (around $100), card-writing (around $30), tree removal (around $75), and pretty much anything else you can dream up. Last season, one user hired a TaskRabbit to dress up like an elf and deliver gifts to twenty of his closest friends ($100, not that you’re curious). —Kurt Soller


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