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Christmas tree farms, sellers in TN Valley say this week is their busy period

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - When sleigh bells ring, many turn to nature for maximum Christmas cheer by hunting for the perfect Christmas tree.

Whether it be a fir, a spruce, or a pine, what makes that perfect tree is in the eye of the beholder. And some farm owners say this time is the peak time to shop.

"Last weekend and this one will be our two busiest weekends," said Pat Schwerman, co-owner of Schwerman Christmas Tree Plantation in Lacey's Spring. "These two weekends are probably about 60 percent of our season."

She said the farm has a lot of fun in store on the big weekend coming up.

"Next Sunday we will have Santa Claus with us all day," she said. "We just have a good 4-6 weeks of fun. It's a lot of hard work all throughout the year."

Over at High Country Christmas Trees, which has a shop in Huntsville on Four Mile Post Road, they are also selling trees fast.

We found Kendall Birdsong, of Grant, there shopping for a Christmas tree for the first time since he started living on his own.

"I feel like starting out on your own, you want to start a tradition," he said. "Many people start traditions by getting real, natural trees. I wanted to do that."

He said, "It would bring a Christmas feeling in my home."

If you're heading out the door to pick out a Christmas tree, you should note that some tree varieties may be more expensive this year.

North Carolina Christmas Tree Association Executive Director Jennifer Greene says there's a more limited supply of Fraser fir trees this season. That state is the nation's second-largest Christmas tree exporter.  News outlets report a nationwide Christmas tree shortage is the result of farmers planting fewer trees when demand plummeted in 2008, or going out of business altogether.

National Christmas Tree Association spokesman Doug Hundley says you should expect prices for these trees to increase.

Schwerman says the trees they're able to grow in Lacey's Spring are not Fraser firs, and can easily beat the crop they had last year.

"We had a terrible drought last summer, but this summer we had the right amount of rain, the right amount of sun," she stated. "The trees grew two feet! They are beautiful this year. They're the prettiest I've seen in a long time."