CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - Now that Thanksgiving is over, our attention is turning towards Christmas. And you may be in the market for a Christmas tree. You're not alone.
Since 1989, Mark Fisher and his family have been selling fresh cut Christmas trees, grown directly from their farm near Forest City, and being sold between two lots at the farm and in front of their Clear Lake home. It's been a busy season for them, selling roughly 70-80 trees per day. Fisher believes the pandemic has prompted families to look for something to spark up the holiday season, and they're drawing people from near and far, even from much as up to 3 hours away, to get that spark.
"This year, people are looking for something to do outdoors, COVID-related, something safe to be outside and have a family activitiy. Because of that, it's driving people from far away."
Even before the pandemic, he's seen an increased demand of customers looking for a real tree, including from fellow tree farmers and nurseries, and he's had to plant more trees at their farm because of that demand.
"We try to replace at least as many as we sell. Now we're selling 300 trees a year, so we're planting more than that in an effort to catch up."
While there is growing interest in buying a real tree, there are still more Americans buying an artificial tree. The Christmas Tree Promotion Board says between 75-80% of Americans now have an artificial tree, and the $1 billion market for artificial trees has been growing by about 4% a year. To encourage more customers to buy a real tree, the board has created the "It's Christmas. Keep it Real!" campaign to attract particularly younger families and millenials.
For those who may be making the switch to a fresh cut tree, Fisher advises to look the freshest one if possible, and make a cut on the bottom before taking into the house and putting it in water. It is important to not let the tree run out of water, and to not overwater it; also, additives are not needed.