Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Christmas Tree Sellers Are Having A Banner Year

A foreshortened view of the underside of a bushy, newly-cut Christmas tree. It is resting on a metal cart. More trees, planted in rows, are visible to the sides and in the background.
Sehvilla Mann

COVID-19 has messed up many people’s holiday plans, to put it mildly. But it may have brought some good news to Christmas tree growers. As people avoid travel and indoor gatherings, they’re flocking to Christmas tree farms.

Amy Start is with the Michigan Christmas Tree Association. She said families are looking for things they can do outdoors. The bump in tree sales wasn’t a surprise, she said.

“We were able to look at some of the commodities before us, like pumpkins, and apples and things,” she said. “And they had record sales. So, we knew coming into this, that there was a good chance that this was going to be something people wanted to do. They’re going to want to go to a farm.”

Start surveyed the MCTA’s members soon after Thanksgiving. She said 35 percent reported a 10 percent increase in sales; half saw a 25 percent increase, and 15 percent had a 50 percent increase.

Some growers said mild weather has helped draw people to farms. But most attributed the bump in sales to the virus, and the restrictions that have come with it.

At Wahmhoff Farms Nursery in Gobles, co-owner Dan Wahmhoff said his sales went up by about a third the weekend after Thanksgiving. He said the only way he can describe the experience from the weekend is “crazy.”

“People are tired of being cooped up in their houses. They’re tired of being told they can’t do anything. They can’t go to a restaurant, can’t go to a movie, can’t do anything fun. And so, their families are looking for something to do that’s a positive family experience,” he said.

“We are a big choose and cut farm, 180-acre farm. So, they can come out and explore and hang around, and we have Santa Claus and we have a petting zoo, and tractor wagon rides, and all fun things for them to come and do,” he added.

Start said some farms are doing so well, they’re selling out of trees. She urged people who want a natural Christmas tree to do their shopping soon, especially if they want a certain variety.

Related Content