I don’t care what anyone says about commercialism, tourists or even the Rockettes–I love the holiday season in New York City. Now, there are plenty of professional complainers who take issue with the term “holidays” as being too vague and politically correct, but from Thanksgiving through New Year’s is a whole season of special events, including Hanukkah, Kwanza, winter solstice and yes, Christmas. If you need an even stronger Christian focus, I’ll extend that period through the Epiphany on Jan. 6 for you. Happy? During this time, even though it’s dark and chilly, the city just feels warm and aglow (even when it’s miserable and rainy out). I love the lights over neighborhood thoroughfares. I love all the parties and the cocktails and sparkling wine that go along with them. And I love that Christmas tree stands pop up on every corner.
As someone raised middle-of-the-road New England Protestant with no current religious affiliation, I’m here to let you in on a little secret: you don’t need to believe that Jesus Christ was born on Dec. 25 to get yourself a Christmas tree. They smell so good and it’s such a pleasure to come home from work and sip a glass of wine or a hot toddy in the soft glow of Christmas lights–there’s a reason we all hung them in our rooms in college. And you don’t need a lot of ornaments to make it look nice–I guarantee there are 10 things in your apartment right now that you can decorate a tree with. Make a popcorn garland, tie bows on the end of branches, get some glittery tinsel or just go minimal with the lights and little else.
To further our pro-pagan-Christian-midwinter-ritual agenda, we’ve found two services that will deliver a tree to your apartment and set it up for you, so you get all that pine-scented enjoyment with none of the stress or sticky pitch on your coat. And, if like us you think that’s half the fun, contribute to our reader survey of Christmas tree stands around Brooklyn below–we’ll post a reader-sourced guide later this week. Note: Christmas trees are agricultural products, grown by tree farmers, on farms. I’m not saying this never happens, but the vast majority are not stolen from forests and they do not contribute to clear cutting or deforestation. To minimize your environmental impact, make sure your tree was grown as close as possible–the gas it takes to deliver them to the city is their biggest footprint.
Red Rose and Lavender [UPDATED–we added RRL after we sent out our email on Tuesday] Located in Williamsburg, Red Rose and Lavender is a florist, garden store and purveyor of lovely gifts. They will also deliver you a pre-lit (and getting those lights on is really the biggest challenge of tree wrangling) Fraser pine–widely considered to be the best evergreen for Christmas tree use because of its lovely fragrance and soft needles which are not prone to shedding–with a leak- and tip-proof stand. Delivery is free in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and DUMBO, available for a fee in other parts of Brooklyn. The trees are from Pennsylvania and New York State and priced as follows, 6-7′ $225, 7-8′ $250, 8-9′ $350, 9-10′ $450.
Alpinely This Red Hook-based tree delivery service will bring you a Fraser pine, along with a stand, lights and tree skirt and set the whole thing up for you. Prices start at $189 for a six-foot tree. Each tree delivery includes a $20 donation to charity: water, and they can deliver multiple trees and very large trees, and will also decorate and remove and dispose of trees for additional charges, which seems ideal for businesses.
NYCTrees If your main concern is buying local, NYCTrees is your best bet. Astoria-born brothers Harold and Louis DeLucia source their Fraser pines from small tree farms around New Jersey. NYCTrees has a larger size range than Alpinely or RRL–table-top trees start at $79 for delivery and set-up, stand included, and you can order online. A five- to six-foot tree goes for $119. And, if you want to buy a local tree from them, but don’t need or want to pay for delivery, they have several stands around the city. Also, take a look at the DeLucia brothers’ bios–these are the guys you want lumberjacking around in your apartment.
Finally, we’d like to compile a map of spots selling Christmas trees around Brooklyn, with prices, which can vary quite a lot we’ve noticed, and we want your help. All you have to do is check out your local tree stand and ask about the price of small, Charlie Brown trees (we’ll call that anything waist-high or shorter for simplicity’s sake) and about six-foot trees. We’ll create a map and post from the results and publish at the end of the week, for your tree-shopping convenience. As a thank you, three random entrants will win a Brooklyn Based tote bag.