Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Tree Fight in Chevy Chase

Christmas. A time of joy and happiness. A time to consider what's really important in our lives.

Except.  Except if you live in the Chevy Chase neighborhood where there's an annual fight over whether or not certain holiday tree vendors are complying with the Montgomery County law that bars selling trees in lots in residentially zoned neighborhoods prior to December 5th. The fight is heating up the Chevy Chase listserv, where neighbors are arguing over whether those business that have already --illegally-- started selling trees have an unfair advantage over tree companies that follow the law and have not yet opened for business.

One Chevy Chase resident wrote on the local listserv, "The NorthStar lot, at Norwood and Wisconsin  is the first lot you would see heading south on Wisconsin from Bradley. In recent years, NorthStar has consistently opened early, well before the legal Dec. 5 date...Please consider which dealer is a responsible member of the community, carrying on holiday traditions in a respectful manner."

Other neighbors chimed in and pointed out that many community groups, firehouses and schools sell trees, and buying from one of these groups helps raise money for them: You get your tree and you help your local school all at the same time. Buy your tree from your local school only, is their chorus.

The debate over who should be allowed to sell holiday trees and when has become an ideological dispute. Said one Chevy Chase resident, "I am afraid I cannot get incensed over this issue. We buy our tree from NorthStar each year on Thanksgiving weekend.  And, while I am not an advocate of breaking the law, I would like to suggest that perhaps it is the law that needs to be changed rather then boycotting an independent local business that employs many of our neighborhood high school and college age children. In an era when many feel there is too much government regulation, I can only respond to a law that determines when I may decorate for Christmas with a good grief!"

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