EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 27, 2012

Early Thanksgiving spurs Christmas tree sales

Early Thanksgiving kick starts tree sales

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — It’s only Nov. 28, but some people have had their Christmas trees up for days.

Tree sellers in Southern New Hampshire, including nonprofit organizations raising money for charitable causes, say sales have been brisk. But they’re not sure why.

A study of the calendar may provide a few clues.

This year, Thanksgiving — always on the fourth Thursday in November — was Nov. 22. That’s the earliest possible date. Nov. 28 is the latest.

Black Friday — the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season — was also on the earliest day, putting plenty of people in the shopping mood more than a week before the start of December.

As soon as Thanksgiving was over, many were eager to buy trees.

Members of the Salem Exchange Club, which has been selling Christmas trees for 45 years, had their trees out Saturday, according to club president Douglas Seed.

The organization sells trees in a lot at 22 S. Broadway in Salem, between Berge’s Real Estate and Daisy Cleaners.

“We barely had the lot set up and people were buying trees,” Seed said. “Sales have been excellent so far.”

They have sold about 25 of their 450 trees, with help from the group’s members, Scouts and JROTC members, Seed said. The proceeds, which totaled $10,000 last year, benefit numerous local charities, he said.

The Hampstead Firemen’s Association is another of the many local organizations that sell Christmas trees for a good cause.

The association has purchased 300 trees that it’s selling during weekends at the fire station to help fund Hampstead’s Christmas parade Dec. 8.

Forty-five have already been sold, according to association secretary Tina Harrington. She expects fewer than 10 trees will be left by parade day.

“Some people seem to be in a hurry to (buy) it and get it up,” she said. “This will be a big weekend.”

Fire Chief Michael Carrier agreed.

“With Thanksgiving a week earlier, people have a tendency to want to put up the tree that much sooner,” he said.

In Derry, members of St. Mark’s Masonic Lodge also have been selling trees since last weekend. Approximately 50 of the 400 trees sold in just three days, member Al Lamson said.

When Lamson arrived to sell trees at noon yesterday, a woman was already there. She was looking to take home a 10-foot tree. The fact it was snowing at the time may have helped put her in the holiday spirit, he said.

“The lady was waiting for us to open,” Lamson said. “You get a little snow and that brings people out.”

The Derry Lions Club also is selling Christmas trees.

Pete Marcotte, secretary of the Derry Lions Club, said Thanksgiving was so early this year, his organization decided not to start selling trees until this weekend.

About 150 trees, to be sold in the Citizens Bank plaza, will be arriving from Vermont either Friday or Saturday, he said.

Marcotte hopes the late start wouldn’t have a big impact on sales. It’s the club’s biggest annual fundraiser.

“We will wait and see,” he said.