News / USA

Americans Opt to Cut Their Own Christmas Tree

Chopping your own tree requires more work and money but is also more fun for many

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

The Sylvester family strolls on a farm in Round Hill, Virginia in search of the perfect Christmas tree.
The Sylvester family strolls on a farm in Round Hill, Virginia in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

On a chilly December afternoon, the Sylvester family heads to Snickers Gap Tree Farm, about an hour west of Washington, D.C., to choose and cut down the perfect Christmas tree.

Decorating the Christmas tree - usually a pine decorated with lights and ornaments - is one of the traditions which makes the holiday season special.

The Sylvesters spend 45 minutes out in the cold, wandering among the groves comparing trees. When they find their favorite - a three-meter-tall beauty as wide as daughter Elsa's outstretched arms - they cut it down themselves. Then they drag it across the snowy field to the cash register, where they pay about $100 for the priviledge.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Many roadside lots spring up at this time of year, selling pre-cut trees for half or a third as much. Hardware stores and other places sell them, too.

And artificial trees are becoming increasingly popular. About 12 million reusable plastic trees sold last year, up from about 10 million in 2003.

In an age where cost and convenience drive many purchasing decisions, asking customers to pay more to cut their own Christmas tree seems like a bad business model.

But choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms remain the most popular place for Americans to buy a tree, accounting for a third of sales.

"Our business is as robust as it can possibly be," says Snickers Gap owner Steven Wolff. "I don't see the artificial trees as, currently, a threat to what we're doing."

An artifical tree "is not what Christmas is about," Elsa says.

Americans can buy their trees from roadside lots or choose an artificial one, but more opt to select and cut down their own Christmas trees.
Americans can buy their trees from roadside lots or choose an artificial one, but more opt to select and cut down their own Christmas trees.

And the family clearly enjoys spending the time together outside. They take pictures and play in the snow.

"It's more special," says Elsa, whose family has come to chop down their own tree. "It's fun."

Her mom, Amy, agrees. It's about "memories, good times," she says. Wolff's father started the farm in the 1980s. "My dad always said it was about the experience, not the tree," he says. "Everyone's so involved with things that don't connect them anymore with nature and the Earth. And I think this is one thing that people enjoy doing."

And for many Americans, it's a family experience that makes the extra effort worthwhile.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid