NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

'Tis the tree season
Real trees sell quickly as Yellowknife residents pick their choice of the season

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, December 8, 2012

Decorating a Christmas tree is like getting the first gift of the holiday season.

NNSL photo/graphic

Bradley Hazenberg, 13, left, Emily Hazenberg, 6, and Isabel Levesque, 9, help out at the Scouts Christmas tree lot in the Yellowknife Co-op parking lot on Tuesday. - Danielle Sachs/NNSL photo

Strapping it to the roof of a vehicle before taking it home and unwrapping it, then letting the smell take over the room as the branches unfold, marks the true beginning of the holiday season for some people.

This is Gill Pegg's second year working at Arctic Farmer Nursery during the Christmas season, one of only two locations in Yellowknife where people can purchase real trees.

"I think people prefer real over artificial because of the smell," said Pegg.

"It's just something that makes Christmas like Christmas. It is messier but it's worth it."

Over the two years, she hasn't noticed a lot of differences in what customers want. Year to year the 1.8- to 2.1-metre trees are most in demand, while people with slightly higher ceilings go for the 2.4- to 2.7-metre tall trees.

As one of the two places that stock real trees, Arctic Farmer Nursery has had customers calling since the end of October asking when the shipment will come in. The nursery carries balsam and Fraser fir. Both have the distinctive smell associated with the holiday season.

The main difference between the two, according to Pegg, is that the Fraser fir has a slightly bluish tint and the needles are softer.

Also, on the Fraser fir, the needles are flat on the branch, almost in a fan pattern. On the balsam the needles surround the whole branch, said Pegg. But each variety lasts just as long as the other.

"Some people are really particular about what kind of tree they put up and they can always leave it outside for a week or two before bringing it in to be decorated," said Pegg.

When choosing a tree, Pegg recommends going for the ones with the straightest trunks. After that it depends on personal preference.

"Some people like them tall and skinny but others want them really full and wide," said Pegg.

Unlike the Scouts lot, Arctic Farmer Nursery had 10 to 15 trees left over by the end of last season.

"If you can't get one from us, there's not a lot of options," said Pegg.

"There are only two tree lots in town."

Last year, the Yellowknife Scouts sold their entire stock of trees by Dec. 10. The tree lot is the main fundraiser for the Scouts. Profits go toward programs and camps. This year, they're operating a tree lot in the parking lot of the Yk Co-op.

This year, they have the same amount of trees, 299 plus one for the legislative assembly. Ray Levesque is the tree co-ordinator for the Yellowknife Scouts and he expects everything will be sold by this weekend.

"We're already about two-thirds of the way there," he said.

"The community is a big support and Yk Co-op gives us this great location."

As for finding that perfect tree, Levesque said a lot of it depends on personal preference.

For those willing to trek a little farther than one of the two tree lots, permits for wood cutting are available from the Environment and Natural Resources North Slave Office, said Judy McLinton, manager of public affairs and communications, if people want to cut down their own tree.

"Permits are free from the office on Bretzlaff Avenue," she said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.