The weekend before Christmas is a big one for area Christmas tree sellers. That's when they close down and hope for a sell-out year.
This year real tree farmers and sellers weren't sure how things were going to pan out because of the economy, but the places we visited and spoke with over the phone said it has turned out very well.
The season just ended but already David Conovaloff is thinking about next year.
"You could probably trim these here and next year they'll be filled out in between and it will be a nice tree next year," said Conovaloff, while demonstrating on a tree.
He and his wife own and operate Brushy Creek Christmas Tree Farm in Bowie. They maintain 1,500 trees. This season was their second year as sellers and estimate they sold about 75 home grown trees. Conovaloff considers that a good year.
"Ever year it's a little better. I'm doing a little better than I was last year," he said.
After bringing in 650 trees for the lot off Southwest Parkway, sellers say they had a sell-out year leaving them with as little as 41 left.
"We should raise between $9,000 and $10,000 profit this year," said Kevin Kee, Optimist Club Member.
The Optimist Club operates the lot and despite having a very good year it's hard not to compare it to previous times, when sells were much higher.
"At one point the Optimist Club sold 5,000 Christmas trees and we're down to 700," said Kee.
The reason? More people opt for artificial trees. The National Christmas Tree Association figures show that since 2007 there has been a slight decline in sales for real trees. From $31 million in 2007 to $28 million last year. Still for home-grown tree sellers and growers, it's worth the time and effort.
"I enjoy seeing the children running around picking out a tree, sometimes they argue which one to pick," said Conovaloff.
The trees from the lot will be picked up tomorrow and be put in Lake Arrowhead and used as Crappie beds. The trees in Bowie will stay put and will be trimmed before next holiday season to be sold.
The thousands of dollars raised from the Optimist Club tree sells will help many local charities. The Boys and Girls Club, Campfire USA, and the YMCA are a few of those that will benefit.