Some trees were too big and others too small, but Dean Summers, of Milesburg, and his three sons found a Christmas tree — a white pine — Sunday morning at Parsons Tree Farm in Julian.
“I guess that one will work,” Summers said after son Dustin, 7, pointed out the conifer.
Both Garret, 10, and Devin, 13, took turns sawing the tree and carrying it. All told, the search took about 10 minutes.
Although Thanksgiving leftovers are still in the fridge, Christmas trees are already hot items at local tree farms. Parsons opened for the season Friday and had already sold about 60 trees by Sunday, said employee Janet Parsons. In past years, when Thanksgiving is earlier in the month, most people just come out to select trees that Friday.
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“Last two years, because Thanksgiving has been so late, people have just been coming and cutting them,” Parsons said.
Along with white pines, Douglas, Canaan and Fraser firs, spruce trees and scotch pines are available at Parsons. Customers can cut their own trees or purchase some pre-cut ones, Parsons said. Other Christmas emblems are sold at the farm. Both undecorated and decorated wreaths and handmade crafts are also for sale. On weekends, employees wrap, shake and drill the trees for free and customers can enjoy free hot chocolate and candy canes.
In Centre Hall, Tannenbaum Tree Farm has also been a busy spot. The farm sold its first tree of the year three weeks ago to an out-of-state customer, owner Martha Weidensaul said, and sold a few in the two weeks before Thanksgiving. After officially opening, the farm sold about 400 trees on both Friday and Saturday. Balsam, Fraser and concolor firs, white pines and limited numbers of blue spruces and Douglas firs are sold at Tannenbaum, Weidensaul said, although other trees are raised on the 133-acre property.
Tannenbaum will also still be selling trees after Dec. 25 to accommodate the Eastern Orthodox faith, who celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, 2015.
To assist in selling trees, 16 employees worked on Sunday, Weidensaul said, many of whom have worked at the farm for years. Deborah Austin, of Centre Hall, has spent at least the last eight holiday seasons working there.
The environment of the tree farm keeps her coming back to work there, Austin said. A family atmosphere exists between employees, she said, and she likes helping families find the right tree.
“It’s a part of the Christmas tradition,” she said. “I enjoy seeing the kids when they find the perfect tree and they’re excited.”
Dave and Jan Smith were at Tannenbaum with daughter Kelly Praskovich and grandsons Triston, 5, and Connor, 3. They come to the farm every year to select trees and this year was no different. The family had a wheeled cart with two trees on it Sunday. They were picked because they were the perfect shape and height but proved difficult to cut down.
“A lot of hard sawing,” Dave Smith said. “I ruined my coat.”
The Helms family, of Bellefonte, were also at Tannenbaum. It was the fourth or fifth year the family had gone there for a tree but the trip Sunday marked a first.
Daughter Eva Helms, 11, laid on a coat on the muddy ground sawing at a tree while her father, Will Helms, offered directions. It was her first time wielding a saw on the family Christmas tree. She got halfway through the trunk before son Tanner Helms, 15, finished the cutting.
The family Christmas tree was selected because it was a little crooked and needed to go home with someone, mother Christy Helms said.
“It had some flaws, but it didn’t need to be perfect,” she said.