These kids collect dozens of Christmas trees for extra pocket money, ‘we buy them Legos or horse figures’

OLD AND NEW

In Strijen, Bleiswijk and Capelle aan den IJssel, among others, there are many gatherings © Rijnmond/RTV Lansingerland/Radio Capelle

They drag one Christmas tree after another into their garden, ring the doorbell of their neighbors to ask if they still have one or leave a note in the mailbox of local residents to come and collect their tree at a later time. Children from almost every part of the region are currently busy collecting old Christmas trees. And not without reason: Almost everywhere you get 50 øre per wood you deliver. A decent pile of trees can therefore lead to a nice amount of pocket money. The kids below go for it with conviction!

Joshua (9) and Romina (11), Strijen

Romina and Joshua collected more than 70 trees
Romina and Joshua collected more than 70 trees © Rijnmond

How long have you been collecting Christmas trees after the turn of the year?

Joshua: “We’ve been doing it for about three years now.”

What do you like about it?

Romina: “You’re nice outside and you don’t have to sit on a screen all the time”. Joshua agrees. “I also like that you can enjoy the weather so well. And that you get something to look for Christmas trees is of course also very nice.”

How many trees have you submitted?

Romina: “We now have 72, so that makes 35 euros.”

Where do you put all those trees?

Joshua: “We can drop them off at the rink, but first we collect them in our own backyard. It’s nice that we have such a big backyard. We just can’t reach the trampoline now.”

What do your parents think?

Joshua: “They think it’s very good because we’re right outside and then they don’t bother us,” he says, laughing. Romina: “Usually during the holidays we go down early to watch TV, but now we go down early and go out.”

What do you want with the money raised?

Romina: “I have to save up Schleich-horses: horse figurines that you can get in all sorts of different types.” Joshua: “I’m looking for a steerable car or Lego. Lego Technic won’t work because it’s very expensive, but maybe it will work Lego City well.”

Joshua and Romina collect Christmas trees in Strijen for extra pocket money

Florine (11) and Anne (14), Capelle aan den IJssel

With Anne, Florine, the dog Joep and mother Petra, the Christmas tree still stands in the living room
With Anne, Florine, the dog Joep and mother Petra, the Christmas tree still stands in the living room © Radio Chapelle

How long have you been collecting Christmas trees after the turn of the year?

Anne: “Six years already. We found out at a certain point that you got money for it and thought: ‘let’s collect everything we find in the neighborhoods and hand over those trees'”.

What do you like about it?

Florine: “I especially like being outside, and of course that I can earn something from it. But my sister Anne is unfortunately not participating this year, so it’s different than usual. Recently, for example, I had a tree that was taller than my own bicycle, and so it is quite difficult alone. Then you are just like a workhorse.”

How much money have you collected in recent years with all those trees?

Anne: “Well… when woodcutters came to Capelle anyway, we sometimes had the experience that we had collected so many trees for them that they didn’t have enough money with them to pay us. It all worked out in the end, but it’s true that sometimes things go better than others. Last year, for example, we had a peak year with 108 euros, and in previous years we collected an average of around 80 euros.”

Florine: “When I look at this year, the 80 euros will be difficult, because so far I am at around 25 euros. This is also due to people giving less extra compared to previous times. Often, for example, they don’t have cash at home, so they pay via a Tikkie. But it may well be that the quantity increases a little anyway. On the last day, when the trees are collected by the municipality, people often contact us at the last minute.”

Capelle aan den IJssel does not give 50 øre per tree this year, but has 55 collection points throughout the municipality. Anne and Florine have therefore offered to collect the trees from people’s homes for 1 euro (small tree) or 1.50 euro (large tree).

Where do you put all those trees?

Anne: “In the days when the trees were still being torn down, of course you couldn’t hand them in every day. So at one point we had collected about 100 trees and placed them all in the bushes in front of our door. But yes, we also experienced children stealing our trees.”

Florine: “Fortunately, we are no longer bothered by that, because now I just tie all the trees to my bike and drag them to the yellow sign with a Christmas tree on it. It is only a two-minute bike ride from our house, and the Christmas trees are collected there almost every day by the municipality.”

Since the turn of the year, Florine has been dragging a Christmas tree behind her bicycle almost every day to the municipality's designated collection point.
Since the turn of the year, Florine has been dragging a Christmas tree behind her bicycle almost every day to the municipality’s designated collection point. © Radio Chapelle

What do your parents think?

Mother Petra: “In the days when Anne and Florine still collected the trees from the bushes in front of the door, the whole street was full of needles. Of course they didn’t like that here in the neighborhood. But now you have a tree for virtually every neighborhood specially equipped collection point , so that they can now do their collection tree by tree. So I am very excited about this service that they have created together, because it makes for a cleaner neighborhood for everyone and you can also hear it from the neighbors.”

What do you want with the money raised?

Florine: “Actually nothing. It just goes into my piggy bank and I don’t know what to do with it yet.”

Do you have any tips for people who (not in your neighborhood) also want to start such a successful business?

Anne: “Just ring people’s doorbells and ask if you can pick up their tree if their tree needs to be moved out of the neighborhood. And then ask if they want to tip it into their neighborhood app, of course.”

Florine: “People who don’t know where to put their Christmas tree often go to the rubbish bins and then throw it there. So we have now pasted flyers there so that people can see that we can also pull that tree away for them .”

Benthe (10), Mette (11), Tim (8), Thije (8) and Jens (7), Bleiswijk

Benthe (10), Mette (11), Tim (8), Thije (8) and Jens (7)
Benthe (10), Mette (11), Tim (8), Thije (8) and Jens (7) © RTV Lansingerland

How long have you been collecting Christmas trees after the turn of the year?

Mette and Thije: “Last year we collected Christmas trees for the first time, but then we didn’t hand out flyers. We had 90 then.”

Benthe and Tim: “We also collected Christmas trees for the first time last year, when we had 120.”

What do you like about it?

Mette: “You have something to do and you’re outside. And that’s healthy.”

Tim: “I like it best when you finally get them together.”

Thije: “Makes money. 0.50 øre per tree. So last year I had 45 euros.”

How many trees have you collected already?

Tim: “My sister (Benthe) and I now have 98 trees in the garden. Mette and Thije have 96.”

Thije: “Last year we collected 90 trees.”

Benthe: “I think we will eventually collect 110 this year, but I hope for 120.”

Where do you place those trees?

Benthe: “We collect the trees throughout Bleiswijk and collect them in our garden. Then the municipality comes and collects them. And then we get money.”

Mette: “Benthe and Tim’s uncle have made a cart on which you can store three Christmas trees. It’s practical, because then we don’t have to drag.”

Benthe: “First we wanted to make the wagon ourselves and asked my uncle for wheels. He said: “Wouldn’t it be easier if I make the wagon, because it’s quite a lot of work”. Of course we didn’t say that. No to that. “

The cart that the children go on the road with
The cart that the children go on the road with © RTV Lansingerland

What do your parents think of you collecting trees in the garden?

Mette: “My parents allow us to collect the trees in the garden, as long as we clean up the needles at the end.”

Benthe: “They think it’s good, but it’s part of the job that we make it completely clean again. Under the pile of Christmas trees, there are plants that are now dying, but it will have to go.”

Tim: “I don’t know if they like it much….”

Thije: “They don’t like it that much. But it’s okay, the trees are almost gone.”

What do you want with the money raised?

Benthe, Mette and Thije: “In my piggy bank!”

This story is a collaboration with our media partners Radio Capelle and RTV Lansingerland.

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