Tipping, not for pleasant, quick service at a Maine restaurant or the pushing over a cow in the farm yard late at night. Not the free or paid for advice kind either.
Tipping for Maine Christmas wreaths.
Not just Maine Christmas trees being wrapped and stacked and shipped south for the holidays. Up to three million fir and pine holiday circles, wreaths are created in Maine each year. The tipping season begins the first of November and runs until the second week of December before the big red guy in velvet and fluffy white shows up on the roof top with the boisterous unpredictable flying deer.
Up to five pounds of tips, the ends of tree boughs are needed to craft a Maine Christmas wreath to welcome in the holidays. Hanging festively on doors around the country. Some wreaths plain jane. Others decked out with gold, silver bells, red, green and other color bows, doo dads.
A bill of sale for the tips used in Christmas wreath production is needed from the Maine land owner. The owner of the land in Maine where the trees are trimmed, groomed, gleaned of material needed to fashion the fragrant green circles shipped round the globe. Permits are needed for transportation of wreaths, the materials to make them too.
The migrant workers that fashion the wreaths and are paid for piece work production, are fresh off the apple orchards, potato fields and blueberry barrens.
The two to three sections of tree tips are wound, weaved, intertwined together and fastened with a wire to secure. With an end of that wire curved into a loop to be used to hang the wreath for holiday display.
Tips for wreaths gathered before the needles “set” or the tree stops growing until the following spring will not be so full and green by Christmas. Turning brown, looking burnt, dried out. Appearing dead, lifeless more Charlie Brown Christmas tree like by the time December 25th rolls around.
Three year cutting, tipping routines work best to save the tree from loosing steam.
And not growing full, healthy. Maine is the largest producer of balsam wreaths in the United States. Millions of wreaths assembled each year. Most come from balsam fir that hail from colder parts of New England and in some sections of the Canadian Maritimes. The very fragrant Balsam fir smell reminds many of past Christmas celebrations. It’s why the Maine wreaths are by far the most popular in the country.
I know a lady who can crank out up to 200 Maine wreaths a day, for the small compensation of $2 per green, full, puffed out forest smelling rings.
Washington County in Maine is a beehive for Christmas wreath production. But like the blueberry harvest, more and more migrant workers from Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador make up Maine’s wreath-factory production crews. It is harder to find locals, natives willing to work the long hours for little pay associated with Maine Christmas tree production.
Maine, big state, unspoiled four season beauty abounds in this place called “Vacationland”.