CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Now that Thanksgiving is over, people are starting to get into the holiday spirit by untangling Christmas lights and pulling decorations from dusty attics.
But instead of purchasing an artificial Christmas tree or buying a live one from a well-known retailer, officials from the state Division of Forestry recommend buying local this season.
They have teamed up with the West Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association, an advocate for this seasonal tree industry, and produced an updated list of choose-and-cut tree farms in the state.
Leslie Smithson, public information specialist for the state Division of Forestry, said this list can be found online at www.wvcommerce.org/directory/christmastreefarms. People can search the database and find the perfect tree farm by searching by location, tree type and tree size.
“It can be a really nice family-friendly event and even an adventure,” Smithson said. “We certainly encourage family outings. It can be a lot of fun to go out and pick your Christmas tree.”
But Smithson said anyone can enjoy finding a live Christmas tree, start new traditions with loved ones and make their own memories.
Buddy Davidson, state Department of Agriculture spokesman, said he agreed. He said there are certain aspects of buying a live tree that can’t be replaced with an artificial one.
“We’ve got this image of mom and dad and the kids loading up in the car on a cold fall day and going and getting a Christmas tree. I certainly think people have the family affair in their mind, but I’m sure there are some single people out there that just like natural trees,” he said.
“You definitely get the ambiance, the nice pine smell and things you just don’t get from an artificial tree.”
Another benefit of selecting West Virginia grown trees this holiday season is to help support the local economy.
Davidson said these farms help drive the local economy. He said from his experience the owners are families or individuals trying to make a little extra money for the holiday season.
“Christmas Tree Farms are small businesses so you are helping out the local economy as well when you buy a tree,” Smithson said. “Each tree farm has a great story.”
Before going to these choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms officials said people should prepare ahead of time and check each farm’s pricing policy. While some farms charge by the foot, others price trees individually.
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