Shopping for live, flocked Christmas trees (w/video)
By - JRODRIGO@VICAD.COM
Dec. 11, 2013 at 6:11 a.m.
Tree flocking at Holiday Hills Christmas Trees
Daniel Loa talks about the process of flocking live trees for customers
TYPES OF TREES
• Nordmann: Only tree with a silver appearance under flat needles that grow around the branch. This tree is good for people with allergies because it has no fragrance.
• Nobles: The needles on this tree grow around the branch and give off the most fragrance of the bunch.
• Douglas: It's the most popular of the trees. It has wiry and more spacious branches.
Grand: The most wiry of the bunch. The needles grow out from the branches and look flat in appearance.
DID YOU KNOW
Holiday Hills Christmas trees grow about a foot a year as they sit in the Willamette Valley farms in Salem, Ore.
Source: Steven Clary
BY THE NUMBERS
• 2-3 shipments of trees a week
• 4 types of trees sold
• 6-12.5 range of tree height
• 25-30 estimated bags of flock used each season
• 250 the largest number of trees on display under the tent
• 1,047 trees sold in 2012
• 1,370 estimated trees sold this season
Source: Steven Clary
Holiday Hills Christmas Trees
• WHERE: Navarro Shopping Center, 5226 N. Navarro St., Victoria
• WHEN: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
• PHONE: 361-774-3581
It doesn't snow in South Texas much.
But under the Holiday Hills Christmas Trees tent near the Hastings parking lot, the workers are making it snow for hundreds of families this holiday season.
The Oregon-based business sells trees throughout South Texas and opened shop in Victoria before Thanksgiving.
Steven and Debbie Clary, of Corsicana - along with half a dozen contract workers - oversee the day-to-day operations and care for the hundreds of trees being purchased, loaded up and taken home.
"People come in from all the surrounding areas," said Steven Clary. "We've even got people coming from Rockport, and we have a lot over there, too."
Randy and Megan Parr visited Holiday Hills after work to pick out their first tree as a husband and wife. The couple got married in October and decided to get a live tree this year.
Randy Parr, 27, remembers having live Christmas trees while he was younger but hasn't had one for a while.
"I just want one that will fit in house," he said as he eyed the trees plotted in rows from the 6-footers to the 12-footers.
Still in her work uniform, Megan Parr, 26, searched through the trees for a full, symmetrical tree that would soon be adorned with all the ornaments she scored last year during the after-Christmas sales.
"I'm surprised that so many people get live trees," she said.
This will be her first time getting a live Christmas tree since she was a child growing up in San Antonio. She remembers her allergies being an issue when her parents bought a tree for them but hopes this time won't be a problem with their 6-foot noble fir.
She peeked around the row of 10-foot trees at the flocked trees and said they looked cool but that they would keep it au natural this year.
Little Luke Langston nearly blended in with the Christmas trees as he walked through the lot in his camouflage pants and matching vest. His parents, Heather and Shane, both of Cuero, have visited the Holiday Hills for the past three years to buy their Christmas tree.
"We like the smell," Heather Langston said as their tree took a ride on the tree shaker, a routine the workers follow to loosen all the dead needles and any possible critters.
Spiders and bugs are their usual suspects, and once in a while, they'll find something out of the ordinary.
Steven Clary remembers a shrimp tail falling out of a tree once. How it got there, he'll never know.
"That's why we shake them," he said.
Before the Langstons' tree was netted and loaded, Steven and Debbie, both retired school teachers, gave 2-and-a-half-year-old Luke a coloring book and miniature candy cane.
Debbie Clary was happy to make his Christmas tree shopping experience even more memorable.
"We'll be up until Christmas Eve, unless we sell out," she said.