By NATHAN SOLIS
HIGHLAND PARK — Chris Miali plucks a handful of pine needles from a Douglas fir in his tree lot at the corner of York Boulevard and Figueroa Street. He inhales the tree’s sweet, lemony aroma and slowly exhales, “I’m going to bottle that into a fragrance one day.”
The Miali family has been selling Christmas trees since the 1970s in Highland Park, with their Tahoe Christmas Tree company becoming a seasonal fixture in an otherwise gray parking lot. Chris’ father, Anthony, is semiretired now, but manages to shows up at the beginning of the season to help set up. Along with Chris’ son, Andrew, that makes three generations of his family that move trees in the holidays. The rest of the year Chris works at a supermarket. “This beats all of that,” Chris says surrounded by trees.
Something Chris prides himself on is that the location was once considered a quiet spot, without much traffic, which is why his father gave him the location. It’s a tough business Chris admits, and he has to stay on the lot in a camper throughout December. Though nothing compares to the wonder of watching a family pick their tree, which arrived the previous night from Salem, Oregon.
“Home Depot may have more trees, but they stockpile theirs in November and by the time December rolls around the trees are dry. Ours are fresh.”
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.