A post-Thanksgiving tradition: Picking the perfect tree

Posted November 27, 2015 3:14 p.m. EST
Updated November 27, 2015 11:52 p.m. EST

— From the farms of the western North Carolina mountains to living rooms across the country, one in five Christmas trees sold in the United States grows in the Tar Heel State. Only Oregon grows more.

For many, the tradition of picking the perfect tree – whether from a lot, a farmers' market or a chop-your-own destination – follows right on the heels of the Thanksgiving feast.

Melissa Southern, of Clayton, and her three daughters chose a Carolina Sapphire Friday at Back Achers Christmas Tree Farm in Raleigh.

When her daughters got that shine in their eyes, Southern found herself feeling a little sappy.

"It reminds me of being a kid," Southern said. "When I was a kid, we used to go out to a Christmas tree farm and pick a tree."

Back Achers owner Brad Barick said, "Business is booming today."

His staff keeps busy with saws in hand seven days a week during the month of December, from 9 a.m. until dark.

Eric Stover and his girlfriend Jeanna Ashman chose to saw their own.

"I think it's a fun event to do, a fun way to get the Christmas season started," she said.

Stover had his sights set on the biggest tree he could find.

"I go for the biggest one, then she brings me down to reality,” he said.

At the State Farmers Market, Tony Herwig and his twin sons had a special mission.

"We have a brand new house, and we need to make it festive for the holidays,” he said.

Nine-year-old Haylee Andrews was making sure the tradition of selecting a live tree continues into the next generation.

"It's pretty much like a tradition to me," she said. "I just love Christmas, so it kind of makes me get into the Christmas spirit."

That spirit, the fragrance Frasier Firs, was thick in the air and as lovely as the branches.

"It'll run chills all over your body," vendor Marshall Beasley said.