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Real Christmas tree sales increase last year, farmers hope for continued growth

11:51 PM, Nov 24, 2012   |    comments
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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... at least on the hood of Maria Huertas' Subaru Saturday.

"My daughter actually found our tree. We got a Frasier Fir," the Oak Ridge mother said.

Struggling to tie up this 5-footer on the hood of the car is just another sign that Christmas season is here.

"It's a tradition, we started it last year. We decided we were tired of the fake tree and spending hours to make the branches look nice," she added.

The Bluebird farm in Claxton has been selling Christmas trees for some 35 years now. Owner Leo Collins said every year more people become customers because there are fewer Christmas tree farms.

"Big trees, small trees -- we specialize in large trees so we sell a lot of large trees," the farmer said.

In the last five years, the pendulum has been swinging on Christmas tree sales -- all thanks to the fragile economy, Collins said.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, in 2007 there were 31.3 million real trees sold; one year later it dropped to 28.2 million. It was hovering around that statistic until last year, when it picked up to 30.8 million real trees.

"We'll have anywhere from 700 to 1,200 available (this year)," Collins added.

A single-year increase is not enough, as Collins hopes to sell more green to make more green this weekend.

"The way it's going, it'll be good I think," said Collins.

As family after family picks their pine and takes home a slice of Christmas.

"It's a tradition, we started it last year. We decided we were tired of the fake tree and spending hours to make the branches look nice," Huertas said.

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