Hard work for the holidays

Katie Morris, Staff Writer

Students found the secret to spreading holiday cheer and getting paid.

Juniors Joseph Marandola and Owen Kneafsey, and senior Liam Burgoyne are just a few of the workers who earned money at the Christmas tree lots in Walnut Creek, Toby’s Trees and Pete’s Trees. The job was quite difficult work-loading and unloading huge Christmas trees, helping customers by moving them and sizing them, selling the trees, and of course, making sure to leave their customers feeling jolly.

“The hardest part for the job is when we get the truckloads of all the trees packed and unload them,” Kneafsey said in December.

Nationwide, there are 33 million Christmas trees sold annually in December, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. According to Marandola, he helped unload 1,800, three large semi-trucks of about 600 trees each.

Workers were paid minimum wage and earned significant tips because of such a labor-intensive job.

“Some trees are really heavy and it’s a lot of lifting,” Burgoyne added.

“My favorite part of the job was when I sold the Christmas trees because I liked all of the excitement the customers have. It put me in such a good mood,” Kneafsey said.

For Marandola, he enjoyed hanging out with his coworkers outside of work and catching up with people that he knows. He also liked that he could have fun at his job and make good money.

“I like that I can stay physically fit while helping people with the holiday spirit at the same time,” Burgoyne commented.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 100,000 people are employed by the Christmas tree industry. Besides the fact that the hours are flexible and the job pays well, workers benefit even more from connecting with their customers.
“My favorite customer experience was when I was helping a woman with the same dog as mine, a Coton de Tulear, and we were just bonding about dogs while she looked for a tree. It was a good moment,” Kneafsey recalled.

Burgoyne’s favorite experiences were seeing people he knows and being able to help them.

“The best moment I had with a customer was when the man I was helping told me that I looked like a ‘walking scholarship’ for football! It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me,” Marandola said.

Since working at the Christmas tree lot is just a seasonal job, it makes for a perfect employment opportunity for strong people to make some extra money during the holidays.

“I would definitely recommend this job because you learn a lot about selling and people, and you also put in work and have it pay off,” Kneafsey said.

Burgoyne added that the job is especially good for high schoolers.

“I recommend this job to people that can move the very heavy trees, work well with tools to make the stands, and people with great communication skills,” Marandola said.