Post-holiday cleanup crew branches out to make Christmas brighter for needy families

Christmas tree cleanup entrepreneurs, from left, Connor Hogan, Morgan Taylor, Cole Newgaard and Dillon Newgaard. — Photos courtesy Connor Hogan

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By Noah Kutz

Fake trees? Forget about them. Those plastic branches and metal spines may be hassle- free, but nothing can replace the aroma of genuine pine and that cozy-Christmas feeling a real tree provides when ornaments are hung on each branch — even if cleaning up afterward often raises assurances like, “This is the last year we’re doing this!”

But what if you didn’t have to haul the bulky (and pokey) item out of your home and clean up the gazillions of tiny needles all over the living room floor?

That’s the question Connor Hogan and Dillon Newgaard answered when they launched their local business just after high school four years ago. If your life has ever felt like the black-and-white portion of an “As Seen On TV” commercial while you lugged a dead tree through the house and into an already overstuffed vehicle, then a newly formed collaboration, Valley Christmas Tree Removal, may be the solution.

Even better: Along the way, you may also be helping a family in need.

For prices which vary by ZIP code, Connor and Dillon, now full-time ASU students, will come to your home with their team of young tree-dismantling specialists and take the sagging sapling directly from your living room and haul it to a recycling center for mulching. Once that job is done, they’ll vacuum the rest of the mess and leave the premises without any trace of what previously could be described as holiday chaos.

This year, to assure their customers who may worry about possible health hazards, they’ve taken precautions against coronavirus and ensure a contactless job. However, if you prefer to take care of your living room on your own, the team will perform a curbside pickup (for a lesser price) and sweep the sidewalk when they’ve finished.

Additionally, instead of providing these services only to people who have Christmas trees, the cleanup duo wanted to give something back to some families in the community who have been struggling this year.

“I took Christmas for granted because we had a tree every year,” says Hogan, who grew up with Newgaard in the Ahwatukee area. “I never want a mother or father to have to choose between affording a Christmas tree or presents for their kids for the holidays,” he says.

In order to combat any such issues, their enterprise, Valley Christmas Tree Removal, has partnered with local tree vendor Randy Fitch to donate Christmas trees from his lot at 32nd Street and Chandler Boulevard, and provide cleanup services after the holiday.

The fully decorated trees will go to needy families, with an emphasis on those who have suffered from coronavirus — physically, economically or any other way — and who have been nominated to the company via its website or social media.

To add to that, the service’s creative team has designed commemorative ornaments which can be purchased as donations, with proceeds going toward providing more trees and decorations for more families in need.

To nominate a family or make an ornament donation, visit and select “Christmas Tree Donations” in the menu. Valley residents may also schedule their own tree-removal service on the website as of Nov. 20, with prices of approximately $20 for curbside-only service and $30 for in-home pickup (prices vary per zip code).

Children from last year’s donation were excited to receive their own fully-decorated Christmas tree. 

If the hassle of purchasing a live Christmas tree always seemed too much to handle, perhaps Valley Christmas Tree Removal can help alleviate the stress this season. And, if you have a plastic tree, they just might get rid of that for you, too.

Editor’s note: Noah Kutz wrote regularly for Wrangler News until the start of his final year at ASU, when the combination an extra-heavy load of graduation requirements, virtual classes and the rigors of Marine Corps’ pre-officer training forced him to refocus his priorities. We still hear from him regularly, and welcome his contributions, irregular as they now may be.




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