For Donna Dixon and her brother, the ideal Christmas tree is evenly spaced out and slightly higher than a fully-grown human.
The Pictou County siblings soon found their ideal tree on sale in the parking lot of Sobeys on East River Road, loading it into their truck before driving it back to their mother’s house.
“I like a nice slim tree [where] the limbs aren’t out so long, because then you have such a nice shape for your tree, it’s easier to put your ornaments and lights on,” said Donna.
The Dixon siblings joined other families in roaming the extensive tree lot, browsing among rows of trees that gave off a sweet pine smell.
Tree lot manager Kevin Thompson has trees in all shapes and sizes for his customers and usually manages to sell about 2,000 every season.
He said that customers typically look for a fresh, dense tree whose branches are thick enough to hide the trunk and once erected stops just shy of their ceiling.
For example, a nine-foot house ceiling means an 8.5-foot tree for Thompson’s customers.
“They want freshness, so we just take them in as we need them every week,” said Thompson. “We take in a few hundred every second or third day, whatever we require.”
Ninety-five per cent of the trees sold outside the East River Sobeys are balsam firs, but Thompson’s lot also offered a small number of Scotch and white pines.
Since setting up his lot on Friday, Thompson and his colleagues have endured rainy weather, but he was not worried about its impact on tree sales.
“You do get caught up with your volume that you’ve sold in previous years, it’s pretty much the same here, up or down per five cent every year,” said Thompson.