Sunday, December 8, 2013

Virtual Advent 2013: NYC Christmas Tree Stands

Kelly and Marg are once again hosting the Virtual Advent Tour for bloggers where each day a blogger (or 2 or 3) share a special holiday memory, tradition, story, etc. This is my third year participating - I love the run up to Christmas and this seems like a great way to lean into it! In the past I have written about my ornament collection and my favorite holiday movie, Love Actually. Today, I am writing about a NYC institution, the street Christmas tree vendors.

Pin
Each year, just after Thanksgiving, Christmas tree stands pop up and trees line the sidewalks creating these lovely alleys of Christmas spirit. I love the smell of freshly cut trees and it brightens my walk home from work. You see families and couples weighing up the trees and can imagine the scenes as they set them up in their city apartments. The arrival of the trees are quintessentially NY to me and signal the start of the season.
My neighborhood tree stand - Pin

This year I was introduced to the book Christmas on Jane Street; this short book chronicles the story of the Romp Family who come each year from Vermont and live in a trailer selling Christmas trees on Jane Street and 8th Avenue. The story is really not about the business of selling trees  - it is about giving joy at the holidays, about the special relationship between a father and daughter, and self-discovery through the observations of others. It is touching and the perfect accompaniment to the holiday season - I heartily recommend it and can see re-reading it each year.

Prior to reading the book, I had never given much thought to the stories behind those selling these trees or the little bits of people's traditions they become part of each year.  This book certainly brought that to light for me - I will think of it each time now as I stroll through the little wonderlands created on the street annually by these vendors.

The video below (produced by BBC) tells a little about the Romp Family and you can see their operation in action.




Please check out the other Virtual Advent stop today - Trish from Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity

31 comments:

  1. I love the story and the video! I always think of Sally dragging her tree down the street in When Harry Met Sally when I think of a NYC Christmas. Now, I want to walk through one of those Christmas tree stands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, people carrying home their tree is definitely part of the Christmas scene around here!

      Delete
  2. Oh, how I loved watching the video! Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Colleen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh cool. I'm so looking this up.

    Mindy on The Mindy Project recently strapped one to her back and walked to work. It was pretty hysterical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. apparently I need to see that episode!

      Delete
  4. Fabulous! I love this. :) I actually read a Luanne Rice book, can't remember the title right now, about trees coming from Nova Scotia and being sold in places like New York. I am a little fuzzy on the details because it has been a few years. I liked it, though! Thanks for joining in!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I always see this in movies and think how cool it would be to be hauling your tree down the street to take it home and how festive it makes things to have the trees right there. Living in the burbs, we've got nothing like it and fewer and fewer lots in our area. On the other hand, I guess we have only to drive a half hour and can be at a tree farm if we want a live tree. It's what we always did when I was growing up - we were that family driving down the road in the station wagon with the tree tied to the roof!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely want to go pick out and cut down my own tree someday - it seems like the quintessential Christmas tradition!

      Delete
  6. We're only a hop, skip, and a jump away from Christmas tree farms where you can cut down your own tree, but somehow having "islands" of cut Christmas trees making the streets more festive seems like it would do a better job of putting me in the holiday spirit. Love this post and the video, too. Thanks for sharing! =D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. glad you enjoyed it Megan! You always want what you don't have - I think going to the farm and cutting down a tree sounds great!

      Delete
  7. I loved walking through the Christmas tree stands last year and hope to do it again in a couple of weeks. The video was wonderful and I'm going to look for the book, too. My father-in-law used to grow Christmas trees as a hobby…all the trimming/pruning over the years is truly a labor of love. Excellent post - thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. given youFIL's hobby, I think you would really enjoy the book.

      Delete
  8. That's pretty cool! I just watched the Christmas episode of The Mindy Project where she buys a tree from a vendor and has to take it on the subway. It looks pretty bad by the end of the trip!

    I have a fake tree now but miss shopping for a real one. Maybe I'll buy a wreath from them instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not doing a tree this year since I am leaving town over the holidays but I got a wreath - brings a little of that scent into the apartment!

      Delete
  9. How cool! Someday, I want to get to New York City during the Christmas season.

    Joy's Book Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a great time (although cold) to visit the city, Joy.

      Delete
  10. It's so funny (ie awesome) that I'm reading this post right now. I just finished reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and there's a pretty significant part in the book when the two kids "win" a huge (for them) tree from a vendor that they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. Christmas on Jane Street sounds really cool--to experience it from the vendor side. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still need to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!

      Delete
  11. What a wonderful post--I loved hearing about life in the city at Xmas time, and the video clip was wonderful. I am getting a copy of that book and it is going on my Xmas reading list for sure.

    thanks for posting, and I will take a look at the rest of the tour. Great idea for sharing traditions and the sights and sounds and memories of the holidays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely check out the tour - it is nice to see all the traditions and special memories!

      Delete
  12. We always went out to the hills and cut our own tree when I was young. The Mr. hates a real tree so I've had to make do with fake. I really enjoyed your advent post. I think it is a marvelous tradition to go to a tree lot. We don't have those here. The book and video were great. Have a Merry Christmas. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kelley and welcome to my blog!

      Delete
  13. I like the concept of the book but it's so New York City. In Maine many families go out and cut their own tree or buy from a local. We have more trees than people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The premise is very NYC but the message is much bigger than the tree stand. I always wanted to cut down my own tree - jealous of all your trees!

      Delete
  14. What a great tableau of NYC tree sellers, Colleen. Love the video, and the relationship between father and son. Thanks for posting, and a very happy Christmas to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I should go to NYC in December and see this. I'm so used to always being able to go to a parking lot area, even in downtown Montreal, and having trees available there. At the markets and stuff. I sort of like that tree sellers show up on the sidewalks in NYC. I'm sure people grumble about it because it takes space, but personally, I think it's pretty whimsical. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. There's nothing like the smell of a Christmas tree! Cute video. They have the spirit. Enjoy your holidays. http://www.thecuecard.com/

    ReplyDelete
  17. Happy New Year, Colleen! I hope 2014 is a fantastic year for you!

    ReplyDelete