ANOKA COUNTY, Minn. -- On Thanksgiving eve, Will Almendinger looked around his tree farm. His crew was busy loading a box truck and would be wrapping up the operation later that afternoon, which is rare. Almendinger will ship out 60,000 Christmas trees this month; it seems everyone wanted a piece of the action early this year.
"So it's quite a push because we used to have a three or four week shipping window and now it seems like it's down to 12 or 15 days before Thanksgiving," he explained. "Everybody wants their trees."
That puts the crews into overdrive. It cuts down the amount of time they have to harvest and it cuts a couple of weeks off their normally-scheduled shipping season.
The guys running the tree lots have noticed this early appetite, too.
"Well they just want to get the tree early for one reason or another," Gerald Golden said. Golden was picking up a load of firs and pines that he'll sell in Rice, MN.
Why the early demand? Market forces may dictate it. All those shopping ads you've been seeing and hearing are influencing people; perhaps getting them into the mood early.
"What really has gone down is your greens and wreaths," Golden explained. The extra decorations aren't in demand in this economy, but trees seem to be. Almendinger says this year's demand has matched last years.
What the tree grower has noticed is the crews who are working faster than ever are loading trees that are quite plump. "The majority of the growth of the evergreen tree is in May, June, July. And that's when we had all the rains. We had almost too much rain," Almendinger said.
If you're trying to get a little more life or longevity out of your natural tree, Almendinger suggests you keep it in a room that's five or ten degrees cooler than the rest of your house. He also says putting a humidifier next to the tree helps, too.