For decades, New Canaanites looking for the ultimate holiday centerpieces have made the trip to Kiwanis Park off Old Norwalk Road. It's there where thousands of trees are ready to be cut, trimmed and tied before they are adorned with garland and ornaments in living rooms all over town.
Town residents have made the Exchange Club of New Canaan the people to turn to when it's time to get that perfect tree. "It's hard to get that small-town flavor or feeling," Immediate Past President Mike Gregorio said of how people feel about getting their tree right at home. "That's important at Christmas time. I'm almost surprised with how strong people feel about it."
Gregorio said about 90 percent of the club's tree and wreath buyers are repeat customers, some of whom have bought trees there for 40 years. Through Monday, the club has sold 1,180 trees and more than 700 wreaths.
"It's very traditional and everybody knows where it is in town. It's very convenient, and they don't have to travel," Gregorio said. "We're within two miles of everybody, and everyone knows it's going to charity."
Helping people pick out their trees and chatting about the holidays is what Gregorio loves most about volunteering for the tree sales. "People are universally in a good mood," he said. "It's fun talking with them and wishing them a Merry Christmas."
Though the Exchange Club gets its trees delivered from other locales, including Pennsylvania and Quebec, Exchange Club President Kevin McIntosh said the club's members do plenty to get the trees ready. "It's a lot of hard work. We have a dedicated group of guys," he said. "We've got 103 dedicated members who work their tails off in rain, snow and sleet to sell trees."
The Exchange Club tree sale concludes Friday.
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