This year, thanks to shorter span between Thanksgiving and Christmas – only four weeks instead of the more usual five – Christmas tree lots are seeing people buying their Christmas trees earlier, according to vendors.
According to the men and women working to sell those trees, some customers like to pretend their holiday tree is covered in snow – called flocked – while others shop for “cold-cut” trees, wreaths, garlands and poinsettias.
Dave Morrow of Valrico, the owner of Dave’s Christmas Tree Lot at the corner of Lumsden Road and Parsons Avenue, provides professional “flocking services.” He said customers may request their white, pink, red or blue “snow” applied to their trees.
“They are Northern transplants who buy the flocked trees,” Morrow said. “They are usually from Chicago or from the New Orleans area. A lot of times they say they grew up with one like that.”
Although it only takes about 15 minutes to apply the artificial snow, Morrow said the flocked tree has to dry for about 2 hours.
Customers may call in advance and have him select a tree according to measurements that can be flocked and ready for pickup, but most people like to handpick their own tree.
“They bring their kids out to pick the tree – it’s a family thing,” he said. “They all join in the decision. Sometimes they give each person in the family a year to pick the tree.”
He said cold-cut trees are those that have been exposed to cold weather before they have been cut so they hold their needles significantly longer than trees cut in warmer climates.
Morrow, who is originally from Pennsylvania, opened his Christmas tree lot, at 106 E. Lumsden Road, in 1998.
He has two Christmas trees at his own home – one for the lanai and one for the inside of the home.
Morrow said the most popular Christmas tree is the Fraser fir because it doesn’t shed as easily and has a pleasant aroma.
Frank Scalise of Lutz, the owner of F&J Christmas Trees, agreed that Fraser fir from North Carolina is the most popular Christmas tree with Floridians.
Scalise, who started working on a Christmas tree lot after school as a child in 1959, has two Christmas tree lot locations: 17461 North Dale Mabry Highway in the New Tampa area’s Van Dyke Commons and another at 17951 N. U.S. Highway 41, Lutz Preparatory School.
“As far as shopping goes, everybody has lost a week because of late Thanksgiving,” Scalise said.
His trees come from North Carolina, Washington and Michigan. Scalise said his customers, meanwhile, come from all over, and some as far away as Daytona.
Scalise said some people get a small second tree for a child’s room, although most people select only one tree for the home. He doesn’t offer flocking services because of the time involved.
For more information on Dave’s Christmas Tree Lot, call (813) 843-8182.
For more information on F&J Christmas Trees, call (813) 968-0011.