Andy Griffith grew free trees for Boy Scouts on a 50-acre Christmas tree farm
In the Seventies, Griffith became a Santa of sorts to kids without Christmas trees.
After The Andy Griffith Show ended in 1968, Andy Griffith attempted to do a couple new series that didn’t pan out.
By the Seventies, he’d become the sort of celebrity who made surprise guest appearances on shows, and sometimes did public appearances, but otherwise, he spent most of his time at his beachfront home in Manteo, North Carolina.
Sometimes old friends from his nearby hometown Mt. Airy would come by, and they’d ask him if he regretted leaving home to become an actor when he had shown such promise as a schoolteacher and ended up back in N.C. all the same.
He told The News and Observer Sun in 1974 that he’d shoot straight whenever anyone asked him this foolish question.
He’d respond, "I’d hate it. I don’t know what I would’ve done without show business. There’s nothing like it. To be chosen to play a part is one of the greatest joys in the world."
Around Manteo, Griffith was a public personality, but he was one of those rare celebrities who was known around town for his absence more than his presence, choosing to live a quiet life.
He’d often disappear into the woods to fish and hunt, but every now and again, he’d be spotted at the beach with his two teenaged kids. On rarest occasions, folks would see the former TV sheriff simply strolling down the street.
His favorite thing to do at the time, though, was just sit and watch the sun rise over the Roanoke Sound in his backyard.
But when he gazed at the horizon, his view was partially obscured.
He had to peer over the tops of 53 acres of Christmas trees that he planted.
Because one very visible way that Andy gave back every year to his neighbors in Manteo was at Christmastime, when he would invite Boy Scouts to his beach to pick out a free Christmas tree that he grew just to make their seasons brighter.
According to The News and Observer Sun, "He didn’t sell ‘em or anything. He gave ‘em away … to the Boy Scouts. You heard of this fella. Used to play Sheriff Taylor on that TV show. Now ain’t that just like him to go and do that?"
In the story, Griffith grins, admitting that the Christmas trees did clutter his beachfront view, but we assume that growing all those acres of trees was worth it to him, because every good boy deserves a gorgeous tree.
Need proof? Just watch Opie’s face light up under the tinseled Christmas tree in The Andy Griffith Show episode "The Christmas Story."