While it may be easier to just select a store-bought Christmas tree and assemble it, there's also something atmospheric and special about choosing your own real Christmas tree and setting it up in your house, letting the tree's aroma fill the air.
A handful of nurseries in Minot and the surrounding area have real Christmas trees for sale.
Chris Tisi, owner of TC Nursery in Burlington, said sales of Christmas trees are ahead of last year. It's a shorter season this year, with 26 days as opposed to 31 last year, he continued, which could be an explanation for why sales are up. Usually, the first two weekends after Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving are the busiest times for sales of Christmas trees, Tisi said.
Fresh-cut, real Christmas trees are available at Lowe’s Floral and Garden Center in Minot, shown in this photo. Other places where people can buy real Christmas trees include, but are not limited to, TC Nursery in Burlington and Suchor’s Prairie Pines at Towner Nursery in Towner.
Fraser and balsam fir are available for purchase at TC Nursery, with pricing according to size. Tisi said trees cost between $65 and $75. The trees are already cut, he added, but people also have the option of cutting their own and those are Colorado spruce trees.
One piece of advice for maintenance of a real Christmas tree that Tisi offers is, "Water, water, water, water," meaning that the tree should be watered often. "Be aware of where you place it, like next to a fireplace or other heat source or window where it's dehydrating," he added. Tisi said he also tries to remind people of fire safety, like making sure the lights on the tree are unplugged overnight or when leaving the house.
Selecting a real Christmas tree is a family activity for some people, Tisi said. "People enjoy coming out to the nursery and bringing everyone along and making it a family activity," he added. "And the smell is a bonus that brings festivity to the season."
Jerome Suchor, owner of Suchor Prairie Pines at the Towner Nursery, said sales of real Christmas trees this year are average. Their regular customers come back each year to purchase their trees, he continued, and no advertising is done since Suchor wants to keep the business local.
"People like to get their trees after Thanksgiving," Suchor said. "And some people do the tradition of putting up their tree on December 24." The busiest time for him is right after Thanksgiving and for a week and a half after, he said.
In about four years, Suchor said he will have a different variety of tree, the Meyer Spruce. He used to sell Scotch pines and Colorado blue spruce trees, but quit selling Scotch pines because deer kept getting in and now just currently sells Colorado blue spruce trees.
One aspect about the trees at Suchor Prairie Pines is that all of the seedlings are bought in Towner and sold there, Suchor said. "All of the trees grown at the nursery are ones I've purchased," he added. Suchor said he goes in and replaces each tree that is sold. It takes seven to eight years between planting and selling for a tree to go through the cycle, he added.
"All of our trees are fresh and cut," Suchor said. He also offers a "tag it and claim it" deal where people can claim a tree before Thanksgiving and then come and get it when the weather is nicer.
Suchor said the trees are usually already cut, but if people want to cut their own, then they can. All of the trees are cut fresh and none are cut ahead of time, he continued. Trees are one price, $40, for any size, Suchor said, and the trees are all different sizes from five to 12 feet.
The one piece of advice Suchor offers for maintenance of a real Christmas tree is water. "Water is the best for it. They drink a lot of water the first week."
Having a real Christmas tree in the home is a traditional way of celebrating Christmas, Suchor said, and gives the house a nice smell from the tree. "It gives more of a real meaning of Christmas," he continued. "Everything is so commercial now and this is a way to get the real meaning of an old-fashioned Christmas."
Sales of real Christmas trees at Lowe's Floral and Garden Center in Minot have been going well, according to owner James Lowe. "All retailers felt a hiccup since the (Thanksgiving) holiday was a week late, but sales have been steady and people have been responding well," he added.
In fact, Lowe thought there may be a slight increase in sales this year since there are fewer people selling fresh-cut Christmas trees.
The trees at Lowe's Floral and Garden Center are opened up, taken out of the netting and everything still in the trees (like squirrel nests, for example) are taken out before someone can take their tree home, Lowe said. "The trees are groomed," he added. Also, if a person lives in town, the center will deliver the tree to his or her house and set it up for the person, Lowe said.
Fraser fir trees are sold the most for people's Christmas trees, Lowe said. The Fraser fir tree has short and soft needles, making it easy to decorate, he added, and it holds its needles very well, he added. Some of the trees are flocked, Lowe continued, meaning that the tree is still fresh, but is sprayed with industrial spray. The flocked tree has been sealed with the spray so the tree doesn't drop needles and doesn't need water, he said. Flocked trees are harder to decorate, though, Lowe said.
Pricing depends on variety and size of the tree, Lowe said. The most popular is the seven to eight foot Fraser fir tree, which is $89.99, he added. Spruces are also for sale and they cost $57.99, Lowe continued, and there are also trees that are three to four feet high that are in the $30 to $40 range. "It really depends on the height and variety."
The busy time at Lowe's Floral and Garden Center for Christmas trees starts on the Black Friday weekend, Lowe said, and they have extended holiday hours so the weekends are busy. "A lot of families come in from 7 to 8 p.m. in the evenings," he added. "It's a family tradition for a lot to come to Lowe's and get a tree."
Lowe recommended watering the tree and feeding it Keep It Green, a tree food product that helps keep the tree better looking and prevents needle drop.
"A real Christmas tree perfumes the home and says Christmas," Lowe said. "It's tradition, a symbol of Christmas in the house."