ALAMEDA, Calif. - Christmas tree sellers said customers want Christmas to come earlier and earlier. Many farms open for Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving, but growers in the Bay Area said customers are asking for trees before Thanksgiving.
"This year we started earlier, like a week – five days earlier than normal," said Jose Daboin, a manager at Brent’s Christmas Tree Lot.
Trees at Brent’s Christmas Tree Lot come from Oregon and Northern California, and they’ve been selling since Saturday.
"It’s a big crew that works hard to bring all these trees down and keep our customers happy," said Daboin.
"We’d rather open the day after Thanksgiving. That’s been our tradition for over 40 years," said John Cozzolino, a co-owner of the 4-C’s Christmas Tree Farm.
Growers in Half Moon Bay like brothers John and Jim Cozzolino said they are seeing demand go up before Thanksgiving.
"We got so many calls with so many people requesting to come cut a tree right away," said Jim.
The California Christmas Tree Association said they’ve seen Christmas tree season start earlier and earlier each year, while the cost of operating is getting higher and higher. Opening early may be good for business.
"Our fuel costs, running equipment, cultivating these trees, our laborers doing hand pruning," said Jim.
"The expense this year was to bring the freight to bring all these trees," said Daboin.
4-C’s Christmas Tree Farm also imports trees from Washington but Jim said the cost for transportation is not much different from last year.
Growers said the problem is the trees are only good for about four weeks.
"If you put a tree in your house that early, by the middle of December, it’s going to be pretty dry," said John.
Last year, rain dampened sales by keeping customers at home, but growers said the wetter it is, the better it is for trees still stuck in the ground.
"We’ll go through maybe a couple acres which is maybe a couple thousand trees," said Jim.
At 4-C’s Christmas Tree Farm, the prices for trees have increased by up to 40% over the last few years, but overall, prices are remaining steady compared to last year.
"You could go and take your family out for dinner, you could spend 200 dollars easy in 1 hour and a tree would be 200 dollars for the whole season," said Daboin.
Tree sellers said your best bet is to keep your tree away from heat sources, make sure it has a fresh cut at the trunk, and give it plenty of water to make it last all season long.
If you like a Douglas fir, you’re able to cut them down yourself at tree farms across the Bay Area starting Friday, but if you want it sooner, pre-cut trees are available now at tree lots like Brent’s and Speer Family Farms’ Wonderland Trees.
Prepare to spend anywhere from $60 to $200 depending on the type of tree and its size.