Christmas tree lots continue a long-standing tradition

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Brynn Toomasson

“We trying to avoid people, but my family still had fun searching for the right tree,” Hailey Cagle said. She and her family found their tree quickly, and made the best out of the unusual experience.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! With the help of incoming Christmas trees, houses are lighting up with holiday cheer and Christmas spirit. 

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, about 25 to 30 million real trees are sold across the country. One local Christmas tree lot is ABC’s Christmas Trees, in San Carlos along El Camino. The lot provides trimming and tying-down onto the car without any additional cost. ABCs Christmas Trees and Pick of the Patch Pumpkins is a third-generation, family-run business founded over 70 years ago. The location in San Carlos is one of many around the Bay Area and Southern California. In response to COVID-19, restrictions were placed to keep everyone safe. Masks are required, and sanitizer has been placed throughout the lot.

One of ABC’s Christmas Tree employees, Christian Gongora, has been working on the lot for about two weeks. His job is to carry the trees and modify them to customer liking. 

Artificial vs Real Trees by Lucy Lopshire

“I like the job. The tips are excellent,” Gongora said. “It’s a good job for young people who are going to school and want to make some money.”

While sometimes “the trees can be heavy,” that does not diminish one of Gongora’s highlights of the job.

“I love talking to the customers,” Gongora said. “When they talk to me, they’re almost always really happy.”

It’s no surprise that the Christmas spirit is infectious. There’s joy and positivity in the air because, after all, it’s the most beautiful time of the year! Christmas trees have been a traditional form of decoration in America since the 1800s, where candle-lit trees were passed down from a German tradition. People today decorate them with beautiful lights and colorful ornaments. 

One partaker of this tradition is Carlmont High School sophomore Hailey Cagle. Cagle and her family view picking out and decorating a tree as an annual tradition, usually taking place at the beginning of the month. 

“We usually look around at the trees for which height we want,” Cagle said. “This year, getting the tree was weird because everyone had masks, and we were trying to avoid each other, but it was still a fun experience.” 

Their family not only enjoys picking out the tree but also decorating it to feel the holiday spirit. With Christmas being Cagle’s favorite holiday, adding on ornaments and lights to their “perfect tree” creates a lively environment. 

“Once we get it set up and get the decorations out, we put all the lights, ornaments, and a star on top of it. My mom especially loves to decorate them, so it’s a significant tradition for my family and me during the holiday season.”

While fresh trees are popular, artificial trees are making an increasing appearance. Carlmont High School freshman Madison Miranda is one of many to own an artificial Christmas tree.

“I think artificial trees are cool because you can reuse the same tree every year, you’re not wasting anything, you still get the experience of decorating it, and you don’t have to clean anything up,” Miranda said. “But, I prefer real trees because even though they’re hard to manage, I really enjoy the smell of it and the look of it.”

Although it’s a common belief that artificial Christmas trees are better than fresh trees because they use a lot of water, buying fresh trees is actually better for the environment. According to the Nature Conservancy, artificial trees require a high amount of carbon emissions to produce and ship worldwide. Real Christmas trees are more environmentally safe and still hold an authentic part of Christmas. While Miranda appreciates the benefits of fake trees, she admires the process of searching for a real one.

“I would rather go find a real tree because you get to hang out with your family and bond. You get to look through all the different trees and find the one that feels right,” Miranda said.

Whether looking for a real tree or setting up a fake one, Christmas trees hold a special place in people’s hearts, especially during a year as hard as this one. Taking joy in these traditions can carry us through the rest of this year and into a happier new year!

Do you prefer real or artificial Christmas trees?

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