Michigan farmers are seeing green as the Christmas tree season officially got chopping, the day after Thanksgiving. Of all states, Michigan grows the third most Christmas Trees, selling about 2.4 million trees a year.
Locally, Mason's Star Tree Farm Co-Owner Ray Schmidgall says there are dozens of farms like his. All of which spruce up the local economy just before the holidays. "We employ quite a few people here as do other farms well. So it’s a nice little seasonal boost," Schmidgall says.
The National Christmas Tree Association says the real tree business doesn't just boost the economy, but that natural trees are recyclable and better for the economy than fake trees. Plus, people out getting trees say there is the tradition of heading out with your family, picking out the perfect fir, and cutting it down yourself.
However, brother and sister Mark and Lauren Batthelia admit, the tree decision can lead to arguments. "Half the fun of picking out a tree is arguing about which one,” Mark says. “We take the one that has the most character and just go with it.”
Lauren didn't at first like the tree he picked out. She said it had too many "tops", which may hold that needed tree-topping star awkwardly. However, it grew on her. She said, "It's a great tradition. We've been doing this as long as I can remember.”
Schmidgall says the family atmosphere at his and his wife's tree farm is what makes running the business worthwhile. He hopes memories created at his farm keep people coming back year after year for that perfect tree.