Ottawa

Christmas trees flying off the lots this year

With more of us nesting at home and yearning for some extra holiday cheer during the pandemic, Christmas tree farms around Ottawa are reporting increased and earlier demand this year.

Customers eager for holiday cheer during pandemic buying earlier

Norman Clarke helps a customer with a Christmas tree at the East End Garden Centre in Toronto on Tuesday. Christmas tree farms in and around Ottawa say they've been noticing customers buying earlier this year, and buying more. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

With more of us nesting at home and yearning for some extra holiday cheer during the pandemic, Christmas tree farms around Ottawa are reporting increased and earlier demand this year.

Kenny Stuyt, owner of Fallowfield Tree Farm, said he's seen a 30 to 35 per cent boost in business already. Stuyt told CBC many customers aren't stopping at just one tree.

"They're decorating and saying, 'Let's even put one outside this year.... Let's make it real nice for our family.'"

Mark MacGowan, owner and operator of MacGowan's Christmas Tree Farm, said the farm's online service already has four times the number of orders it had last year. (Submitted/Mark MacGowan)

Stuyt said with people stuck at home and unable to travel, he's seeing many first-time buyers.

"[They're] saying, 'This is our first time, we've never done it before,'" he said. "They're at home right here in Canada, and they gotta make the best of it."

Stuyt, whose farm offers both fresh-cut and cut-your-own trees, said he's already had to restock his cut trees to keep up with demand, but added he's not worried about running out.

WATCH | Christmas tree sales up more than 30 per cent:

With no travel or family gatherings, Ottawans turn to real Christmas trees

CBC News Ottawa

2 months agoVideo
0:41
Kenny Stuyt, owner of the Fallowfield Tree Farm, says more people are venturing out to buy real Christmas trees this year as the pandemic cuts down on travel and other family activities. 0:41

Mark MacGowan, owner of MacGowan's Christmas Tree Farm, agreed people seem to be buying earlier than usual, and said he's also seeing more first-timers.  

"[They've] never had a real tree before and [are] asking lots of questions around how to take care of them and maintain them well through the holiday season," he said.

MacGowan's started an online service last year that lets customers order their tree for delivery or pickup, and said those sales have already quadrupled this season. 

WATCH | First-time tree buyers during the pandemic:

People looking for Christmas cheer flock to Ottawa-area tree farms

CBC News Ottawa

2 months agoVideo
0:41
Mark MacGowan, owner of MacGowan's Christmas Tree Farm, says they’ve seen more people shopping for a tree earlier this year, with more first-time buyers coming out than before the pandemic. 0:41

Briggs Tree Farm owner Robin Briggs said sales at his cut-your-own operation still depend largely on the weather, but has noticed some people are turning up just for something different to do during the pandemic.

"We're finding there's quite a few people that are doing that this year because they, with COVID and stuff, they're looking for exercise and they're looking for something to do that's not inside a building," he said. 

Briggs said the true measure of the year will be the next two weeks, typically his busiest. 

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