christmas

Culture
12:18 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Michigan's Christmas tree comes down in Jackson (PHOTOS)

The 2012 Michigan Christmas tree is removed from its jackson home
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

In Jackson, hundreds of people braved near freezing temperatures this morning to watch a 75 foot tall tree be chopped down.

Tomorrow, the tree will take its place on the state capitol lawn to serve as this year’s official state Christmas tree.

A crowd of school children and curious neighbors watched as professional timbermen chainsawed through the thick trunk of the Concolor Fir, before gingerly guiding the huge tree between two homes with the help of a large crane.

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Offbeat
12:30 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Michigan Christmas tree, pumpkin crops doing well

HOLLY, Mich. (AP) - Despite a few hiccups due to some wild weather, Michigan's holiday crops are looking good.

The Detroit Free Press reported yesterday that the state's Christmas tree growers say that while some trees were victims of the weather, it's unlikely to affect consumers.

Pumpkin growers say they're doing well after the drought and heat of the summer.

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Economy
4:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Many unhappy returns: Michigan businesses prepared for another Christmas tradition

They looked so pretty under the tree.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The presents have all been opened and many will be heading back to the store.   

Returning or exchanging gifts is part of the American holiday shopping season tradition.  

But Patrick Bennett with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan warns if you plan to return a present you should know the store’s rules for returning or exchanging merchandise. 

“It’s important that consumers retain the original packaging if they plan on returning items.  Or if they receive something that they know in fact they are going to return it, don’t even open it. Take it back in its original condition," says Bennett.   

Bennett also advises people returning presents to see if the business charges a restocking fee. He says restocking fees are common for businesses that sell electronics.  

Bennett says many retailers have tightened their rules on accepting returned merchandise in recent years to crack down on fraud. 

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Economy
4:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Michigan's holiday shopping season Part 2

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 The next phase of the holiday shopping season will start Monday with 'After Christmas' sales.  

Tom Scott is with the Michigan Retailers Association.    He says most retailers will offer some extra incentives to get customers into their stores, especially ones who got ‘gift cards’ as presents.  

Lansing
4:01 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

From the ashes, a Michigan charity rebounds for Christmas

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 One week ago, a fire destroyed the Saint Vincent de Paul store and warehouse in Lansing.     

The community is helping the charity to rebuild.   

Saint Vincent de Paul provides help to those in need with clothing and other donated goods, heating assistance and even Christmas presents for children.  But last Sunday’s fire threatened all of that.    

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Holiday
4:01 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

A Christmas letter

Creative Commons

Sending out a formal Christmas letter is a holiday tradition for many people. 

Author Wade Rouse, after receiving one too many Christmas letters, decided to pen his own.

Wade Rouse lives in Michigan and is the author of "It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine.”

 

Economy
1:44 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Twas the day before the day before Christmas (and Michigan retailers are happy)

What's under your tree?
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 This is turning into a very merry holiday shopping season for Michigan retailers.   

 The hard numbers are still coming in, but it appears early optimism for a strong Christmas shopping season is panning out.   

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Environment
9:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Christmas tree debate: real or fake?

Lauren and her potted tree. It will stay outdoors until Christmas Eve, when it will be brought in for 14 hours.
Photo by Jennifer Guerra

There’s a long-running debate about which kind of Christmas tree is greener: real or artificial.  We wanted to try to settle that debate... or at least add to the discussion:

Lauren Northrop and her husband Tom are big fans of Christmas.

“We love celebrating it, I love decorating, but we always have this dilemma: what do we do about a tree?”

They didn’t want a plastic tree because it’s, well, plastic. And they didn’t like the idea of bringing a live tree into their house, only to have it die and then drag it out to the curb to be recycled.

So they skipped the Christmas tree thing altogether for the last four years. But then, their son was born.

They bought a live, baby Christmas tree with its roots still intact. That way, when Christmas is done and the ground thaws, they can plant it in their backyard.

“I was planning to keep the tree inside until December 25th so that we could decorate it and put lights on it. When we went to buy it they said if you do that, it probably won’t survive.”

That’s probably way too much hassle for most people.

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Politics
7:00 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Politics messes up Christmas tree growers' national ad campaign

Percheron draft horses Collette and Clementine pull families and their fresh-cut Christmas trees back to get shaken and bagged at Horrocks' Nursery in Ionia, Michigan. Michigan produces the widest variety of real Christmas trees than any other state.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio.

Sales of real Christmas trees are down more than 20 percent for the past two decades. This season Christmas tree growers wanted to collectively start an advertising campaign to try to reverse that trend. But of all things, politics, got in the way. 

Artificial Christmas trees gaining favor

Real trees still outsell fake trees by about three to one. But artificial tree sales have been increasing for several years. Fake trees now have a slightly higher share of the Christmas tree market than real ones. Michigan is the third largest grower of real Christmas trees in the U.S., harvesting around 3 million a year.

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Environment
10:50 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Cutting down a Christmas tree in the national forest

Amelia Payette, age 9, with the tree her family decided to cut down.
Photo by Sarah Payette

Most of us get our Christmas trees from a lot or a farm.

But if you have a saw and five bucks, you can cut down a tree in the national forest. Peter Payette took his family out to do it the old fashioned way and sent this report:

It’s true that five bucks is not much to pay for a tree, but it’ll cost you some time and gas money to get there.

The first stop is at a U.S. Forest Service office to buy a tag.

There’s one in Cadillac where Dianne Berry sells us our tags and helps us get our bearings.

“This is a two sided map... the other side has the area closest to Manistee. And on the Huron-Manistee we have almost a million acres.”

That means there are 500,000 acres of trees just on this side of the state, between Cadillac and Big Rapids!

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Offbeat
2:48 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Dear News Director, why do you hate Christmas?

Vincent Duffy

I always enjoy the holiday related updates I get from friends and relatives at this time of year. Some send old fashioned Christmas cards, others send elaborate newsletters highlighting the successes (usually) of each family member from the previous year, and still others just send a quick email or Facebook post to say they’re thinking about me.

It’s also the time of year when I’m frequently accused by listeners of being a soldier in the war against Christmas.

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Terrorism
12:45 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

Could the death of an Al Qaida leader affect a trial starting soon in Detroit?

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

The death of a prominent Al Qaida leader is not expected to have a big effect on jury selection in the case of an alleged terrorist in Detroit next week.   

A U.S. drone attack today in Yemen killed US-born radical Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who allegedly inspired ‘underwear bomber’  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.    He’s accused of trying to blowup a Detroit-bound airplane on Christmas day, 2009, with a bomb hidden in his underwear. 

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Terrorism
7:45 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Attempted Christmas Day bomber picked Detroit as target because of cheap plane ticket

More details are being learned about why Detroit was chosen as a target in an attempt by an al-Qaida operative to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day 2009. It appears Detroit was picked because, quite simply, it was a cheap destination. The Associated Press reports:

The Associated Press has learned that when an admitted al-Qaida operative planned his itinerary for a Christmas 2009 airline bombing, he considered launching the strike in the skies above Houston or Chicago.

But tickets were too expensive, so he refocused the mission on a cheaper destination: Detroit.

The decision shows that al-Qaida's Yemen branch does not share Osama bin Laden's desire to attack symbolic targets.

After the failed bombing and the arrest of suspected bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab the question of why Detroit was targeted had gone unanswered.

Current and former counterterrorism officials told the AP that Abdulmutallab considered Houston. Another person with knowledge of the case said Abdulmutallab also considered Chicago.

All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Environment
12:04 pm
Tue January 4, 2011

Recycling your Christmas tree

Christmas tree drop-off sites are becoming more common.
(Photo by mmhaffie, Flickr)

So you’ve put away all the ornaments and the lights and the tinsel... and you have that bare tree in your living room... what now?  It’s not illegal in Michigan to throw your Christmas tree away... but a lot of cities and counties do recycle them... and chip them up into mulch.  The recycling website Earth 911 lets you type in your zip code to find tree drop-off sites near you.

I talked with Marsha Gray - she's the executive director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association. She says the first thing you should do if you want to recycle your tree is call the people who pick up your trash.

“You want to ask them if they do a separate collection for the trees. If they’re collecting them separately from your regular trash, that means they’re most likely recycling, probably chipping those trees into mulch. If they’re collecting at the same time and they’re going right into the bin that means they will go to the landfill."

Marsha's tips for recycling - or reusing your tree:

  • If your waste hauler won't recycle your tree... call your city or county park department.  There's a good chance they offer a drop-off site for the first few weeks of January.
  • Stand your tree up next to the birdfeeder for a little perching spot for birds while they wait their turn at the feeder.
  • Use the branches as plant stakes
  • If you're really ambitious, break out the chainsaw and remove the branches (you don't want to burn these in a fire - they can spark!), cut the trunk into logs, and add them to your log pile to season for a year.  Free firewood for next Christmas!
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Christmas
8:26 am
Thu December 23, 2010

Online Christmas sales have Michigan tax officials saying 'Bah Humbug'

Online sales are reportedly up about 12 percent this holiday shopping season. That could be bad news for Michigan tax collectors.  Michigan residents are supposed to pay sales tax on items bought online, but few do. 


 Caleb Booth is a spokesman for the state Treasury Department.  He says the state lost out on $328 million dollars in uncollected sales taxes on online purchases in 2009. 

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Retail Sales
11:36 am
Wed December 22, 2010

Christmas sales strong for Michigan retailers

What's under the tree?
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

It’s not Christmas yet, but Michigan retailers are in the holiday spirit. There are signs this will be the best holiday shopping season in Michigan in many years. 

When the holiday shopping season was getting started a month ago, a survey showed a majority of Michigan retailers were optimistic that they would see increased sales compared to last Christmas. The latest data is backing up that optimism.

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