Time to deck the halls: 42 years of bringing holiday cheer

Time to deck the halls: 42 years of bringing holiday cheer
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 5:37 AM EST
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COPENHAGEN, New York (WWNY) - It’s that time of year. North country residents are decking their halls with Christmas wreaths, and many of them come from the hands of Shari Simmons.

“I have been making wreaths for 42 years,” said Simmons, who owns Simmons Tree Farm in Copenhagen.

For her, it all started as a way to make Christmas money for her kids’ presents.

“I made them in that little chicken building. I went out at night when I got done milking cows. I went out while my children were asleep. But that’s how it all got started.

Now, she’ll sell more than 3,000 wreaths in a year.

It all starts with the boughs, and the weather.

“We don’t cut any greens until we’ve had three killing frosts, and that’s why our wreaths, our needles stay on them,” Simmons said. “If you go to a big box store, and you shake the wreaths, the needles fall on the ground. That’s because they come from the south and they don’t have killing frosts.”

Then you gather the boughs, clamp them in, and ...

“There we go, there’s the first one,” Simmons said.

But Christmas wreaths aren’t just a pretty decoration to hang on your door, they’re also a key part of the local economy

“Lewis County is the number-one producer of Christmas trees in the state of New York,” Simmons said. “It’s something to be proud of, I guess, that we’re the number-one producer in the state.”

But the greatest prize of all isn’t the money or the ribbons or the long-lasting smell of pine, it’s the holiday cheer.

“Makes people happy,” Simmons said. “I love it when people come with their families to get the tree, especially the little ones. They get so excited.”