Rosey’s Local Christmas Tree Business


courtesy of Eric Rosenthal

Eric Rosenthal (right) and his cashier, Anastasia Lipani (left) sell Christmas trees at a small, outdoor shop in Princeton.

Sam Renz, World Views editor

Eric Rosenthal, commonly referred to as “Rosey” by students, athletes, and friends, teaches woodshop classes at Hillsborough High School, and he coaches the Boys Cross Country and Track teams in all seasons but winter. In the winter, instead of spending most of his free time training athletes, he runs a local Christmas tree business at the Princeton Shopping Center in Princeton, New Jersey.

Every year since 1998, he has worked on his Christmas tree business, which runs from Black Friday until he sells out. He has around 1,500 trees shipped in from across the east coast, often from places like North Carolina. Some fond memories that he noted were the cheerful atmosphere and his comical interactions with customers. “The people there are always amazing,” Rosey said.

According to Rosenthal, his busiest week occurs around the second weekend of December. However, this season was much different; before the typically booming weekend of this year, he only had about thirty trees left. Apparently, 2020 has been the busiest year for his business, so he was left with a shortage of trees at the time he expected to sell the most. Nevertheless, as someone who always looks on the bright side, Rosenthal has added that he is glad to have more free time to spend at home with his family.

Of course, this activity comes with its fair share of hardships. Aside from the physical labor necessary for hauling and preparing trees, the most challenging aspect of the job is the constant work throughout the day. Every day once the season starts, Rosenthal has to wake up at 6:30 a.m. for school, drive to Princeton immediately after school, and work there until around nine or ten o’clock at night. “The tax is not on my job; it’s on my body,” Rosenthal said.

Despite these challenges, Rosenthal is always eager to continue his work. Although he does not make a massive profit from selling the trees, the experience makes everything worthwhile. Having continued this activity for more than two decades, he has seen some familiar faces grow older every year. Over the years, he has watched children grow into young adults, and some people whom he knew as babies are now graduating high school and embarking on the rest of their lives.

Now, as his daughter is getting older, he is bringing her into the business as well. Usually, he lets her work as a cashier, and she always has fun talking to some customers. The most rewarding parts of his business – his interactions with customers, his experiences with his daughter, and the warm, pleasant atmosphere – all motivate him to continue this business every year.