This time of the year, some people in New England are busy spending time at work or with family and friends, other people are busily buying holiday gifts, and still others are building Christmas trees out of lobster traps.
That last activity used to be exclusive to Gloucester, Mass., which started the practice more than a decade ago. It's been 12 years now, and the competition is as fierce as ever, primarily because people in other towns are getting in the game.
Folks in Rockland, Maine, followed Gloucester's lead, starting their efforts just five years ago. And now the nearby hamlet of Beals is weighing in with a 50-foot-tall effort. The trees in Gloucester (30 feet) and Rockland (38 feet) are shorter by comparison.
No matter the size, it's the ingredients that count, and the main ingredient is indeed lobster traps, their metal traps sticking out in parts but still able to form some semblance of a Christmas tree, to which residents of all three towns have added lights, garland, ornaments, and (of course) lobster buoys. The Rockland tree features a 5-foot fiberglass lobster on top. A mannequin dressed as a fisherwoman sits atop the Beals tree, which has a base of 27.5 feet.
The trees in all three towns also help raise money for charities, through a raffle that promises the winner a selection of the finest traps. (Tickets are $50 each, so it's serious business.)