"Sleigh Ride" blares through a tiny portable speaker, the smell of fir trees permeates the air, and two elves stand at a door and knock.
Northeast Minneapolis resident Brandon Johnson had no idea when he started Better Image Tree Service seven years ago that one day his job would involve wearing tight yellow pants and a pointy hat. Johnson, 29, says that many colleagues in his industry plow snow in the winter, but that didn't appeal to him. So, in 2011, Santa's Tree Delivery was born.
At first, one staff member was in costume and the other wore a Santa hat, but Johnson quickly realized that the elf personas were popular. Whether on deliveries or out to lunch, people inevitably stop the elves and ask to take photographs with them. Said one woman, "It's time for an elfie! Oh, and you can use that."
Though it began as something fun to do, this year Santa's Tree Delivery expects to provide around 100 trees to families, individuals, businesses and couples of all ages in and around the Twin Cities.
Many times the elves have used their talents and success to gift Christmas trees to families in need during the holidays, too.
When asked about the approach of Dec. 25, Johnson said, "It's kind of sad that it's coming to an end. It's been so busy, but it's gone by so fast, too."