By Greg Bobinec on December 8, 2020.
For the last 20 years, Doris Anthony and her husband Bob Miner have been operating the Live Christmas Tree Lot at Canadian Tire locations in Lethbridge, and although COVID-19 has put a damper on most holiday traditions, the natural tree lot operators are happy to still provide a staple in most families’ holiday traditions.
“We have been the operators of the Canadian Tire Tree Lot for the last 20 years,” said Bob Miner.
“We’ve had an increase in our tree orders every year, so the trend is still going to a natural tree is what I see now. Artificial trees look nice for a few years and then they decide they want to get a new Christmas tree, and if you want to go green, those artificial trees stay in the landfill for a long time, and the trend is heading towards natural trees because of that.”
The trees selected for southern Alberta are shipped from Nova Scotia, as many of them have already experienced hibernation, making it easier for transportation and longevity, compared to warmer climates such as British Columbia.
“We get the trees from Nova Scotia because they come from what they call Zone Hardiness 2,” says Miner. “That means that they cut the trees after they have had a killing frost and the trees went into hibernation, and that happening means that if it comes out here and the weather turns cold, if they haven’t gone into hibernation, the needles will fall off if it goes cold, so that is why we get it from there opposed to the coast of B.C.”
Miner said he sold out of his very big trees early, but “We still have lots of really nice trees for the standard home, seven to eight feet.”
For people who have never had a natural Christmas tree in their homes, Miner says there are some important steps in prepping the tree for a successful season to prevent the tree from dying, as well as preventing fires.
“The best care for a tree first is to never let it go dry, keep it away from heat registers, but if you can’t keep it away, cover it up with something to prevent drying,” says Miner. “Make sure that you get a fresh cut from the lot if you are going to be setting the tree up within a few hours, if not, leave them outside and cut an inch off the bottom yourself before setting it up, because what happens is the sap seals the end and if you don’t, it won’t drink. The first time you soak it in water, use hot tap water to soak as it will soften the sap and start to siphon, but never let it go dry because once it siphons air, it will dry out and you will lose a lot of needles.”
For the last 20 years, Miner and Anthony have been helping families throughout the community find their perfectly matched natural tree to set up and enjoy throughout the holidays. The tree lots are at both the south and north Canadian Tire locations in Lethbridge for the 2020 season.
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