For some holiday revelers, bringing home the perfect Christmas tree is a cherished tradition, right down to strapping the green behemoth to the family sedan and hauling it through the front door.
But for others, it’s a task better left to the UPS guy.
As tradition-defying as it may seem, buying a fresh-cut tree online for home delivery has become the way to go for a new generation of shoppers. In recent years, a number of companies have entered the trees-by-mail marketplace, from mom-and-pop tree farms to big-box retailers — Home Depot — that partner with tree growers.
It still makes up a small slice of the market: The National Christmas Tree Association, based in Chesterfield, Mo., estimates that 4% of the 28.6 million fresh-cut trees purchased in 2006 were sold online. But that figure represents more than 1.1 million trees.
Mail-order retailers often offer harder-to-find or regional varieties of trees, giving customers a choice beyond the Fraser Firs and Balsams you’ll see on most tree lots. Plus, retailers tout the fact that a tree delivered by mail may actually be livelier and healthier than one that’s been cut as early as October for lot sales.
Photo by kirbyrds.