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Christmas tree sales stay brisk

The bulbs are still burning bright in many homes this Christmasin spite of the failing economy, according to Christmas treesellers and shoppers.

Nationwide, tree sales are still up, just as they are locally,sellers said. Joan and Pete Hartzog of Hollytree Farm in LawrenceCounty said their sales are right on track from recent years.

“Our situation is that we don’t have anything left over 6.5-feettall, and this is our 17th year to sell trees and our customersseem happy with what we’ve got,” Joan Hartzog said.

Shoppers said they refuse to let the pall over the nation’s spiritdue to the economy keep them from making happy holidaymemories.

“Yeah, Christmas will be a little slim at our house,” said MacyJackson as she looked through Christmas lights at Home Depot. “Butwe got our tree – the same size we always get – and we’re puttinglights on it.”

Jackson said her children would be making some of their gifts thisyear, but the tree was never a variable.

“No, we definitely wanted the kind of tree that smells good, so wegot a natural tree, and I paid cash for it,” she said.

Meanwhile, Brookway Market Basket workers Aaron Smith and Mike Reedsaid the weekend after Thanksgiving was still a big selling timefor them, with 465 trees on the lot to start off with being pareddown to roughly 150 that are there now.

“We’ve still sold the $265 trees, and that’s hard for me to imaginewith the economy like it is,” Reed said. “But the tipping hasn’tbeen what it usually is.”

Smith said he hasn’t even heard anyone discuss finances as theybrowsed for trees.

“Nobody’s said anything about it,” he said. “It’s not stopping themfrom buying trees.”

Meanwhile, the search for the perfect tree is on, and the Hartzogssaid there are still new buyers every year.

“We’ve been in business for 17 years and many of our Christmas treecustomers have been with us almost that whole time, though we doget some new ones,” Hartzog said. “Usually it’s younger people thatare starting out, and they see a friend’s tree and find out wherethey got it and they start getting their trees from us, too.”

But some people are looking primarily at artificial trees, sayingthe safety aspect and the fact that they’re relatively hassle-freeare the main reasons.

“I had a silver one one year, and it had the lights on it, and Iloved that tree,” said Olena Smith of Brookhaven. “We like theplastic ones because they don’t make a mess and leave needleseverywhere.”

And Bob and Anita Miller of Clinton, Mo., said with as much as theytravel, it just makes more sense to have a plastic tree. Not onlyis it a good decision because of fire safety, it also means theydon’t miss out on the beauty of a live tree.

“Mostly we don’t have a natural tree if we’re not going to be thereto enjoy it,” said Bob Miller. “We do like to enjoy the naturaltrees, and we often light some up in our yard, too.”