Three Questions for a Christmas Tree Farmer

By Bill Newcott
From the Holiday 2018 issue


Christmas trees have been a growing concern for Jim and Lorna Landis since they planted their first firs at Landis Tree Farm near Harbeson in 1991 — and even longer for Lorna, whose grandfather and father both cut and sold trees. Jim, who’s retired from the insurance business (Lorna is a former banker) takes care of the day-to-day business of tree farming from the couple’s rambling house, overlooking 21 acres of evergreens.

Q: Has anyone ever come around looking for a scraggly “Charlie Brown tree”? Yes! We’ve had people come in here looking just for a little tree, one that we’ve probably just planted, that you wouldn’t think could hold a single ornament.

A: We’ve got about 11,000 trees right now, so I guess there’s something for everybody. A few years ago we sold a tree that was 20 to 23 feet tall. For a guy’s living room! People are surprised to learn that Christmas trees don’t naturally have that nice conical shape. They have to be sheared. My wife and I shear the pines and my son comes in and shears the fir trees. He’s got a pair of stilts he wears to get up to the high spots. The thing about growing Christmas trees is, you’ve got to be doing something every month of the year — shearing, irrigating, planting, whatever.

At one school, students wrap their heads around the calming practice of mindfulness

By Jeanne Shook Photograph by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the Holiday 2018 issue

mindfulness Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #42Once a week, throughout the fall semester at The Jefferson School in Georgetown, there is a sense that Darth Vader is in the house. But those heavy, rhythmic exhales are not the sounds of evil domination. Quite the contrary. It’s the sound of students — from kindergarten through eighth grade — learning to focus on their breathing in order to combat the forces of stress, anxiety and conflict.

Back for its third consecutive year at the school, the Minds Over Matter Initiative is designed to help students achieve and maintain focus, inner calm, resilience and self-awareness. All of the school’s 100 students (except for those in prekindergarten) participate in the eight-week program, which runs from mid-September through early November.

By definition, mindfulness promotes concentration, focus and being grounded in the present moment in an accepting, non-judgmental manner. The goal of this educational tool is to decrease tension and stress, enhance conflict resolution skills, and help give kids a sense of empowerment.

Rehoboth-area volunteer — and Santa surrogate — Dennis Diehl is eager to show others that acts of kindness beget more of the same

By Lynn R. Parks  |  Photograph by Carolyn Watson
From the Holiday 2018 issue

DennisDiehl-Santa Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #42Dennis Diehl considers himself “the luckiest person in the world.” Even when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer this summer, that feeling didn’t change.

“When they told me that I had cancer, I knew right away that it was a temporary thing, that I would get better,” he says. “I haven’t ever considered the alternative.”

That confidence is rooted partly in his Christian faith: “My first thought after my diagnosis was ‘He’s not done with me yet.’”

But it also comes from Diehl’s belief that he has a purpose in life and that, after more than 30 years focused on earning a living, he is finally doing meaningful work. “I knew that it wasn’t time for me to leave this Earth,” he says.