Rock around a fresh Christmas Tree

photo of Al Osman of Flowers and Firs
Photo: Kerstmarkt
Al Osman, Flowers & Firs, Holland’s Holiday Kerstmarkt

By Mary Lu Laffey

When stalls at the Holland Farmers Market on 8th Street start to sport red-striped rooftops and twinkling lights, Al Osman will be swapping out the fresh garden flowers at Flowers and Firs with seasonal fresh greens — just as he has done for the past 17 years. Osman is the only original Kerstmarkt vendor still active at the festive holiday market.

The fresh greens at Flowers and Firs have an emphasis on “fresh.”

“Christmas trees that we stock each Friday and Saturday were cut one to two days prior,” Osman said.

photo of Al Osman at Kerstmarkt
Photo: Kerstmarkt
Al Osman, Flowers and Firs

Urban Street caught up with Osman at a recent Farmers Market where the Flowers and Firs stall featured bouquets of late blooming flowers, berries and stems of Japanese lanterns. Plus baskets of neon green “Hedge apples,” brilliant red wreaths made from blueberry bushes, and dried floral arrangements. There was no sight of greens, but Osman did have order forms for Christmas trees, wreaths and roping that he cuts, assembles and decorates. He also offered a few hints about choosing a Christmas tree, its care and clean up.

“Frasier Fir is the best holding tree,” he said. “When choosing a tree, freshness is key.”

How fresh is fresh? “The trees that we sell on Friday and Saturday at Kerstmarkt will have been cut within 48 hours of being sold,” he said.

The products available are made during the week — products like a variety of roping, swags, and wreaths including an Advent wreath with four candles.

Osman says to use hot tap water when watering a tree, whether it is in a pot of soil or a tree-stand.

“Using hot tap water helps to keep the sap running,” he said.

Another tip is to add a couple of drops of bleach in the water to ward off bacteria.

Osman also offered a clean-up tip.

“Where do you live?” he asked. If you live in Holland, he says to simply put your tree out with the trash and the city will pick it up.

During Holland’s Holiday Kerstmarkt, Osman will be demonstrating how to make fresh green wreaths at the Flowers and Firs stall.