Christmas tree sales boom here

Anacortas resident Robert Dashiell carries one of the more than100 Christmas trees he constructed temporary wooden stands for in front of Rite Aide as Oak Harbor geared up for the Yuletide season. Most tree dealers in town have sold out. - Ken George
Anacortas resident Robert Dashiell carries one of the more than100 Christmas trees he constructed temporary wooden stands for in front of Rite Aide as Oak Harbor geared up for the Yuletide season. Most tree dealers in town have sold out.
— image credit: Ken George

‘Tis the season, and with Christmas right around the corner, trees have been flying off the lots and out of stores quicker than you can say “Kris Kringle.”

“We’re almost out of trees, as is everybody,” said Gail Jaeger, who with her husband Chuck owns the 27-acre Wood Bee Christmas Tree Farm in Oak Harbor. The couple has been selling trees for 18 years.

Jaeger said that sales of Douglas firs, nobles and grand firs, which began the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, were very brisk this holiday season, though she added that the farm typically sells out of trees around this time every year.

The most popular type of tree in terms of sales is the Douglas fir, Jaeger said. “People like the bushy tree,” she said. “It smells better. It’s also the least expensive.”

The most durable tree, however, is probably the Noble fir, which is more spindly than the more full-bodied Douglas. Jaeger said that the Noble has “extremely sturdy branches” and tends to keep its needles longer.

This late in the game, though, it might be too late to get either type of tree from Wood Bee.

“We sold practically all that we had very quickly,” she said. By this weekend, Jaeger said that she expects to be just about out of trees.

Business has been equally hopping for artificial trees, according to Kim Connelly, manager of Oak Harbor Kmart. Connelly said the store’s selection of about 15 to 20 types of artificial trees is “pretty well picked over,” though she said there are still plenty left to buy.

Connelly, who owns an artificial tree, said that the most popular fake tree this year is the “perfect tree,” which comes in three easily assembled sections and includes lights that are already attached and ready to plug in. The multi-color make of this tree sold out, but Connelly said that the clear-light version is still available.

Overall, Connelly said that tree sales at Kmart have been darn good this season, rising about 20 percent from years previous. She added that, with prices ranging from about $100 up to $239, folks are attracted to the varieties from which to choose.

As for her decision to own an artificial tree, Connelly said this: “For me, it was the fear that it’ll dry out and catch on fire, and the mess inside the house.”

Obviously, artificial trees aren’t for everyone, and Jaeger has an idea why that might be. “We see people that get artificial trees, and then they don’t like them,” she said, adding that the tragic events of Sept. 11 are “making people stay home and get back to real.”

There’s nothing more real than a full, forest green Douglas fir standing in your living room.

Ed Siegel, treasurer for the Oak Harbor Lions Club, said that his organization sold out of trees by last Saturday. The Lions, which sold trees in Oak Harbor, donates all proceeds to community services.

“They went great,” Siegel said of this year’s sales of Christmas trees. “We sold every tree. Usually, at time, we’ve had to get rid of them.”

Not this year. The Lions sold 600 trees. They started selling on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with members rotating shifts from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

“We worked hard on that,” said Siegel proudly. “We have all of the trees segregated and a lot of planning goes into that. We put many a man hours in.”

While most lots are running low or out of trees, there are ways to nab a last minute tree. Tony Shults, whose family has owned Scattered Acres Tree Farm in Clinton since 1941, said he will probably sell trees through Sunday. The lot will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


l For $5, bring your tree to the Oak Harbor High School parking lot Dec. 29 or Jan. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Limited pickups are available, call 675-5674. No tinsel or flocking. Proceeds will go to 2002 grad night.

l Boy Scout Troop 53 of Greenbank will pick up Christmas trees on Dec. 29 and Jan. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations will benefit troop activities. No tinsel or flocking. Call 678-3263 or 678-1138.

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