Traude Holmes, a grandmother of three, came all the way from North Vancouver to help her family pick and cut a Christmas tree at an Aldergrove u-pick Christmas tree farm on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29.
“I’ve never done this before,” the saw-wielding Holmes confessed, smiling as her son and daughter-in law carried the tree out for wrapping.
Tannbaum Tree Farm co-owner Diana Cobaschi helped the Holmes family push their purchase through a tree bailer to compress the branches and wrap the tree in mesh for easier transportation.
Luka Vaantstra, 5, from Langley, used a wagon to pull sister Everly, 1, while Mom Karen and dad Stephen toted their large-sized tree.
“We may need to raise the ceiling in the living room,” Stephen joked.
Tannenbaum owners Diana and husband Ben said the Christmas tree season appeared to be off to an early start, with higher-than-usual sales numbers.
Diana reported selling 68 trees on Saturday, Nov. 28, their first day, and 52 on Sunday, the most opening weekend purchases they’ve seen in the five years the family has been operating the farm.
“We don’t see this many sales until the first week of December,” Diana estimated.
Ben thought the spike in activity was because people are “bored” being stuck at home during the pandemic.
“They want to get their decorations up sooner,” he theorized.
Diana said they had people “calling us in the middle of November,” about getting trees.
And no, they don’t take reservations.
“You can’t mark off a tree and tell 300 people they can’t cut it,” Diana laughed.
Daughter Alice Cobaschi, 8 was helping customers, dressed up as a Christmas elf, while younger brother Caleb, 6, assisted.
“I can show you where the big trees are,” an enthusiastic Alice told one visitor.
This year, because of the need to maintain social distancing, the family is wearing masks when buyers are present, reminding visitors to maintain social distancing, and they have regretfully announced they won’t be serving complementary refreshments or providing a campfire as in previous years. Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St. is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Christmas.
Canadians planning to buy a live Christmas tree this season should start shopping now and expect to pay more, the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association says.
Farmers anticipate 2020 will be a record sales year. Association head Larry Downey says it’s simple supply and demand: a shortage of trees coupled with a greater appetite from people hoping to liven up their living spaces amid widespread stay-at-home orders.