Christmas tree farms open their gates to Thanksgiving crowds

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As families spend Thanksgiving gathered around the table, some are choosing to skip the stuffing and heading straight to local Christmas tree lots’ opening day. And this year, Merry Christmas Tree Farm owner Tracy Dodson said she and her family are prepared for the most wonderful — and hectic — time of the year. “Oh, today will be the busiest day,” Dodson said. “A lot of people come early in the morning, which is this, but after lunch, hundreds and hundreds, and I mean hundreds.”This year, Dodson is thankful to be one of the few South Carolina Christmas tree farms still open and running.Over the last two years, Dodson has seen unprecedented demand and comparatively little supply. She hoped buying 300 more Frasier Fir trees than normal will pay off in this season of inflation. And as crowds gathered just an hour into the first day of the Christmas tree season, it looked like it already had. “It’s a little nerve wracking,” she said. “But both my husband and I had life altering events last year. My husband had a massive heart attack, and then I got COVID and was in the hospital for a long time. So, after that we were like, why not?”The Rainey family has cut their own Christmas trees for nearly two decades. This year, they say it’s not just about the ritual. It’s about redemption. “Last year at this very spot, we found the perfect tree, forgot the saw, went back to the car to get the saw, came back, tree was gone, so we had to do the whole thing over again,” Jeromie Rainey said in front of his sons, Evan and Eli. They brought a power saw with them this year.”So, we’ll not let that happen again,” he said.The tree farm has a history since 1980 of helping families practice old traditions and create new memories. “We’re from Colombia. So, we don’t have natural trees where we can just go cut,” said Juliana Valencia alongside her young family. “So, we just enjoy cutting and having hot chocolate. It’s a family-oriented farm and we like it.”According to Dodson, the whole experience gives local farms and families a little more to be thankful for. “It’s just pure joy,” she said. “I mean, if you look at the kids and the parents, I mean it’s special moments. Those are moments you can’t take back. You can’t recreate it.”

As families spend Thanksgiving gathered around the table, some are choosing to skip the stuffing and heading straight to local Christmas tree lots’ opening day.

And this year, Merry Christmas Tree Farm owner Tracy Dodson said she and her family are prepared for the most wonderful — and hectic — time of the year.

“Oh, today will be the busiest day,” Dodson said. “A lot of people come early in the morning, which is this, but after lunch, hundreds and hundreds, and I mean hundreds.”

This year, Dodson is thankful to be one of the few South Carolina Christmas tree farms still open and running.

Over the last two years, Dodson has seen unprecedented demand and comparatively little supply. She hoped buying 300 more Frasier Fir trees than normal will pay off in this season of inflation. And as crowds gathered just an hour into the first day of the Christmas tree season, it looked like it already had.

“It’s a little nerve wracking,” she said. “But both my husband and I had life altering events last year. My husband had a massive heart attack, and then I got COVID and was in the hospital for a long time. So, after that we were like, why not?”

The Rainey family has cut their own Christmas trees for nearly two decades. This year, they say it’s not just about the ritual. It’s about redemption.

“Last year at this very spot, we found the perfect tree, forgot the saw, went back to the car to get the saw, came back, tree was gone, so we had to do the whole thing over again,” Jeromie Rainey said in front of his sons, Evan and Eli.

They brought a power saw with them this year.

“So, we’ll not let that happen again,” he said.

The tree farm has a history since 1980 of helping families practice old traditions and create new memories.

“We’re from Colombia. So, we don’t have natural trees where we can just go cut,” said Juliana Valencia alongside her young family. “So, we just enjoy cutting and having hot chocolate. It’s a family-oriented farm and we like it.”

According to Dodson, the whole experience gives local farms and families a little more to be thankful for.

“It’s just pure joy,” she said. “I mean, if you look at the kids and the parents, I mean it’s special moments. Those are moments you can’t take back. You can’t recreate it.”



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