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In 2005, I began working as a Christmas tree salesman for one of the largest tree farms in mid-Michigan. They dealt mostly in cash, which meant I was paid under the table at the end of each week. From sunup to sundown, we were open for business starting in mid-November and usually finishing up on the 22nd or 23rd of December.
I worked weekends and some days after school. I would tend to all manner of Christmas tree related issues. Every morning, myself and three or four others would walk the farm that spanned several acres clearing the land of fire-ant mounds, blackberry vines, and errant tree stumps.
I’d cut and haul trees back to the front of the farm for customers, where we would drill holes in stumps for stands, measure the trees for height/pricing, and then finally bale them for the ride back to the customer’s home.
Character building aside, the job was miserable. But since ending that job I’ve come to know just about every kind of Christmas tree out there. Do you have a large home that requires several trees to fill hallways, rooms, and cozy nooks? Or are you simply looking for something to take up space in the living room? If you’re on the hunt for a solid tree in the next few weeks, you need look no further than yours truly for advice. Here we go.
4. Blue Spruce
The Colorado Blue Spruce is sort of like the band 98 degrees in that they always played third fiddle to the NSYNC’s and Backstreet Boys of the pop world. Simply put, the Blue just isn’t that great (much like the band 98 degrees). While this tree does have a magnificent bluish-green, almost gray hue to it, it also has incredibly sharp needles. I’d groan internally anytime a customer made me haul a Blue Spruce back to the staging area. Those needles get into your jacket, your gloves, and your boots, and when they get crushed they have what can only be described as an unpleasant odor. The Colorado Blue Spruce is that tree people buy to spit in the face convention and conformity. Only get one if you’re prepared to be mocked and laughed at by your peers.
3. Scotch Pine
Ahh, yes. The name really says it all, doesn’t it? The Scotch Pine is a bestselling tree all over the country and for good reason. First of all, the name is classy as all hell. This is a tree that a family of four would usually come to buy. Dad would bring his own saw and wagon and insist that he do everything himself. As a worker, I reveled in these moments. It was an opportunity for me to relax out in the field without getting glaring looks from my boss.
I’d usually let the guy carry his tree about halfway before taking over the reigns and returning to the staging area. I’d bale the sucker for them, and then help Dad strap the tree to his Volvo station wagon or Lexus RX. The tip was never great when this type of family came around wealthy families generally tend to be poor tippers, but I never hated the Scotch Pine customer. All in all, a great tree if you want a robust scent, however, if you’re fucking with heavy ornaments then I would stay away. Their flexible branches tend to break under stress.
2. The Fir Family
You really can’t go wrong with a Fir. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Noble, a Douglas, a Fraser, or a Balsam. The needles are soft and supple like a pair of nice breasts. Firs are a top seller in the United States because they’re low maintenance. You can miss one or two waterings and needles won’t be falling out onto your floor for your dog to eat.
Generally speaking, you’re going to get upcharged for a fir, but you really can’t beat the smell of them. The needles are a dark green, and you’re paying extra for something that literally smells like Christmas. This is a tree typically bought by a customer who doesn’t know or care to know very much about Christmas trees, hence the higher price. Recommended for anyone who needs to put a tree in tight spot.
Are you really surprised? After years of backbreaking labor for very little pay, you’d think that I’d be all about heading to a Christmas tree farm each year to support the cause but you would be so wrong. I never want to see a Christmas tree farm ever again. Christmas trees used to haunt my dreams at night and live in my brain rent free. The Artificial Christmas tree requires no maintenance.
Are you worried about the fullness? What about needle droppings and daily waterings or branches breaking? None of that shit matters with an artificial tree. A one-time payment is all it takes for you to have a full Christmas tree that is going to last for years. You want Christmas scents? Light a candle. Assembly is easy and if the tree looks barren somewhere all you have to do is mess around with the fake needles attached to wires and primp it up a little. The Artificial tree is my official recommendation for anyone out there looking. Little to no maintenance, very little cleanup, and no one has to lose a pinky finger trying to saw a tree down in the snow..
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