With Thanksgiving over, local charities and businesses are busy selling truckloads of Christmas trees to generate a little green of a different kind.
Tree sales are big business at this time of year, whether it's for charity or for profit.
While some people bought trees the day before Thanksgiving, many Southern New Hampshire sellers didn't put theirs out until the day after — then they watched as shoppers scooped them up on Black Friday.
"It seems to be a little bit earlier this year," said Ron Hill, owner of Shady Hill Greenhouses & Nursery in Londonderry.
He put many of his trees out Friday and said yesterday that several days of sunny weather since then certainly helped sales, especially over the weekend.
"They have been very positive," he said. "I think the weather helps."
While many people had Christmas lights on their homes before Thanksgiving and some had bought their balsams and Fraser firs, Hill is one of several local sellers interviewed who prefers to take one holiday at a time.
"I think we should celebrate Thanksgiving, then do Christmas," he said.
Even if customers aren't coming to buy Christmas trees, they don't necessarily walk away empty-handed.
Katherine Estes of Londonderry, who said she and her husband, Andrew, usually put up an artificial tree each year, stopped off at Shady Hill yesterday afternoon to buy her second wreath in two days.
"It was so beautiful, I came back today," she said.
At Windham Junction Country Gift Shop & Kitchen, owner Jon Normington said he's noticed a lot of people are in the holiday spirit.
Normington has sold more than half of the approximately 200 trees he put out for sale Friday. He will soon buy more from a grower in Canada and said he expects to sell at least 400 this season. His small trees sell for about $25 and large ones go for up to $150.
"We're way ahead of last year's numbers," he said.
While some businesses find Christmas tree sales are a good way to boost revenue, local charities said they are a great way to help others.
At the Londonderry Lions Club, members are selling 660 trees this holiday season. All the proceeds will go to the Lions' eye care fund and student scholarships. The trees were delivered Friday and the organization sold about 25 that day, member Paul Bauer said.
The club sells trees for $40 and above, with many from 8 to 13 feet tall, he said.
"A lot of people like big trees, so they come to us," Bauer said.
In Derry, members of St. Mark's Masonic Lodge were out in force yesterday afternoon, ready to help customers with their trees.
The evergreens, which range from $20 for "Charlie Brown" trees to $100 for large ones, line the lawn and steps of the Masonic hall on Broadway. The organization usually buys 400 trees each year, member George Chapman said. The proceeds benefit the local food pantry, Community Caregivers of Greater Derry, Sonshine Soup Kitchen and the Derry News Santa Fund.
"We don't want to be left without any and we don't want to run short," Chapman said.
The organization has sold trees for more than 20 years, and the same customers return each holiday season.
"We watched the kids grow up," Treasurer Al Lamson said. "They come back every year."
Americans bought about 28 million farm-grown Christmas trees and 11 million artificial trees in each of the last two years, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Meanwhile, the New Hampshire-Vermont Christmas Tree Association reports a large increase in people cutting their own.
Material from The Associated Press was used for this report.
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