Black Friday has Christmas shoppers driving in and out of the University Mall in South Burlington. But just across the way, a little piece of Vermont is also getting ready for the Christmas holiday.
"Without them, there'd be no us," said Andy Moffatt of Moffatt's Christmas Tree Retails.
Them-- meaning Christmas trees. Moffatt sells his trees out of a trailer on a small stretch of land in South Burlington. It's safe to say he knows a thing or two about selling trees.
Reporter Melissa Sheketoff: Andy, how long have you been selling trees?
Andy Moffatt: This will be our 50th year!
Moffatt says most trees sell for $5 to $40. But if you're looking for the 14-footers, those will cost you $60-$75.
With a healthy inventory of 500 trees, Moffatt says there's no need to rush into buying.
"They start buying them in my opinion too early," he said. "A Christmas tree is actually only designed to last about four weeks," Moffatt said.
South Burlington Deputy Fire Chief Terry Francis agrees and says buying a tree too early could become a fire hazard.
"Christmas trees account for about 250 deaths a year in the country," Francis said.
Francis says there are numerous factors in determining how long your tree should stay in your home. The easiest test is just grabbing a branch and pulling to see if needles come off. If they do come off, your tree has to go.
"When trees are dry because they're not properly hydrated they take less than a minute to burn in your house, and when that happens, it happens with deadly consequences," Francis said.
The most important tip to follow with managing a tree-- hydration. Be sure to put water in the base of the tree when needed.
"Really in Vermont we haven't had too many fires, but when we have it's because the tree has been in the house seven weeks and hasn't been watered," Francis said.
A few other tips include buying local trees. They are the freshest and last up to four weeks with proper hydration. Keep the tree away from fireplaces and open flames. And check lighting every year to avoid sparks and frayed wire.
"Take your time, be careful, don't be impaired when you do this, and just take your time and be safe," Francis advised.
"A Christmas tree is one thing that most people like to have in their house for Christmas," Moffatt said.
So when the time comes for you to pick up your tree this year, knowing that you're safe is worth every penny.
More info: Moffatt's Tree Farm Choose and Cut Christmas trees 1262 Wild Branch Road, Craftsbury, VT 05826 - 802-586-2270 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:10:32 GMT
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help. Lincoln will get more than $4.5 million for a bridge repair from Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA also awarded Lebanon more than $3More >>
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:58 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:06 GMT
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro. The film is called "The Address". It follows the 50 boys at the Greenwood School in Putney who have learningMore >>
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:03:58 GMT
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself. Claremont police tell us that the man was cleaning his gun Saturday night when it went off. He was taken to the hospitalMore >>
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:59:53 GMT
This towering ice fortress is dazzling visitors to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. "Yeah, this is a wow moment," says visitor Millie Gabriel. "It's an incredible feeling to see people really light upMore >>
If you're ready to see one more beautiful thing before we say hello to spring, then we've found the spot for you.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:53:41 GMT
When the Wild Center in Tupper Lake was looking at maple education programs, they hit a bit of a snag. "I took a survey of the 31 acres here at the museum and we only had one maple tree on the property,"More >>
The Community Maple program has been going for three years now, allowing people to take the sap from their backyard and learn how to turn it into syrup.
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:44:12 GMT
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March! PANCAKE BREAKFAST This year is the 20th annual Franklin Fire Dept. Pancake breakfast at the Franklin Central School. They serve more than 2,000More >>
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March!More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>