It's time for trees: Last-year pricing adds to Christmas cheer

Amy and Scott Baker of West Ashley watch as Efoain Juarez ties down the 8-foot Christmas tree they bought Sunday at the Cardinal Tree Farms lot on the Glenn McConnell Parkway. 'Now we just have to hope it fits in the house,' Amy Baker said.

Scores of Lowcountry residents were out buying Christmas trees Sunday, the first weekend after Thanksgiving.

They got a bit of Christmas cheer as they inspected the price tags. Prices were generally the same as last year.

Calvin Blackwell of West Ashley bought a 6-foot Fraser fir for $48 at Hall's Tree Farm in the Ashley Oaks Plaza at St. Andrews Boulevard and Wappoo Road.

"It's a good deal," he said.

It's not too early to buy a tree if you keep it watered, growers say.

"Last year we bought it a week before Christmas," Blackwell said. "We're doing it the opposite this year."

Those selling trees at a half-dozen locations in West Ashley and North Charleston all said they kept their prices the same as last year.

"They're exactly the same," said Jonathan Risk of Cardinal Tree Farms in West Jefferson, N.C. He was selling Fraser firs in the Kmart parking lot on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston. "We used the exact same price list as we did last year."

A drought in Texas this summer killed many of the Christmas trees there, and trees from North Carolina were sent in to fill the gap, according to news reports. But the Christmas tree market already was flooded, so the extra demand didn't raise prices, Risk said.

"Even with the drought, there's a really high supply of trees," he said. "It really hasn't affected the cost of trees. I don't think the market would bear a price increase with the economy as bad a shape as it's in."

Prices ranged from $20 for a 3-foot tabletop tree to more than $200 for a 16-footer that sold earlier in the day.

Cardinal Tree Farms also sells Christmas trees in West Ashley, Daniel Island, James Island and at two locations in Mount Pleasant.

Andrew and Rhonda Jur of West Ashley came out with their children, Isabelle, Austin and Thomas, to the West Ashley lot behind the Chick-fil-A on Magwood Drive.

"This is a tradition for us, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving," Andrew Jur said.

"It smells so good," Rhonda Jur said as they loaded it onto the truck.

Brian and Joan Hale of Shadowmoss in West Ashley settled on a 10-foot tree for $125.

"There will probably be 1,500 lights on this," Brian Hale said. "We have eight boxes of Christmas decorations."

"Oh, no, there will be more than that," she said, "more like 2,000 to 3,000."

Workers at Santa's Forest by Doscher's on Savannah Highway also said their prices were the same as last year. They hope to boost business with hot chocolate and live Christmas music at a Christmas Jamboree from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.