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Holiday spirit: The giving trees

Emerson & Sons Logging will donate mature trees and adorn young ones with Christmas lights annually to bring joy to the community.

December 22, 2023  By John Deere

Zach Emerson plans to spread the holiday cheer to those in need. Photo supplied.

Zach Emerson, co-owner of Emerson & Sons Logging in Groton, Vt., always wanted to grow Christmas trees but could never find the time. Then in 2016, he received the kind of news that changes a person’s perspective about life: He and his wife, Tracy, were expecting their first child, daughter Riley.

“So that spring I decided it would be a great time to plant some bare-root balsam fir trees,” he remembers.

Christmas tree seedlings can be hard to come by due to overwhelming demand by commercial growers. But Emerson has ample access to balsam fir. “I like to transplant balsams from around my property by digging them up and moving them,” he says.

Emerson has never had ambitions of growing and selling Christmas trees commercially. His thriving logging business keeps him plenty busy.


“Compared to a commercial operation, I do this on a pretty small scale,” he says.

“We maintain about 200 trees. But I get to spend time outside with my two children, Riley and Everett, watching a living thing grow together and answering their questions. Those memories are irreplaceable and make all my efforts worthwhile.”

In six to ten years, when these trees will have matured enough to harvest, Emerson has no intention of selling any.

“Maybe we can give a tree to someone in need,” he says. “Because for me, this is all about giving. This has been an enjoyable hobby that owes me absolutely nothing.”

During the Christmas season, Emerson plans to adorn all 200 trees with Christmas lights. “If that wouldn’t put someone in the Christmas spirit, what would?”


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