HSH Tree Farm

HSH Tree Farm owner Tom Spencer, shown Saturday, said his small Christmas tree farm in Shady Shores is taking the year off. “Once in a while, I just pause to let them grow,” he said. The pandemic factored into his decision, too.

With Thanksgiving come and gone and the COVID-19 pandemic not slowing down, Christmas tree season is here — and demand for the season’s most iconic tradition may not have taken much of a hit.

Many tree farms open the day after Thanksgiving, just in time for Black Friday weekend. Tom Spencer, owner of HSH Tree Farm, a local 2 1/2-acre farm in Shady Shores, usually joins them in opening for the weekend before selling out on Sunday. This year, however, HSH is closed for the season — a combination of the pandemic and typical growing patterns.

Spencer has been selling trees for about 15 years but his farm been closed for a few of those years due to growing patterns. Trees typically take between three and five years to grow, and he said it’s not unusual for a smaller farm like his to occasionally take a season off to let them grow taller.

“Once in a while, I just pause to let them grow,” Spencer said. “There’s no sense selling a 4-foot tree when, in another year, it will be a 6-foot tree.”

The ongoing pandemic factored into the decision as well, Spencer said, as he would have wanted the farm’s visitors to abide by safety measures like mask-wearing, and he had concerns about potential confrontations over mask use. On Friday, he said many people showed up to buy trees not realizing he’s taking the season off.

Demand hasn’t slowed down at Flower Mound Christmas Trees either, according to employee Carly Coward. The store orders its trees from up north, and while she said prices have been higher this year due to tree availability, she doesn’t think it’s affected demand from customers.

“On the consumer end, I would say no,” Coward said. “We still have people coming out — aside from having to wear a mask, it’s not really anything different.”

Shoppers also have an option in larger chain stores like Lowe’s Home Improvement off Loop 288 in Denton, which has a tent full of trees set up outside. Sharon Grigsby came to pick one out Saturday along with her husband. Both in their 70s, Grigsby said they felt comfortable with the arrangement and wanted to continue their Christmas tree tradition, despite how the pandemic has altered their holiday season.

“We had Thanksgiving by ourselves the other day,” Grigsby said. “We’ve been married 47 years and we’ve had a tree all 47.”

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