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article imagePhoto essay: Christmas tree shopping in Northern Virginia Special

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 4, 2012 in Lifestyle
It is the time of year that people are putting up their Christmas trees. In Northern Virginia, lots of families are still out shopping for their trees in these weeks leading up to Christmas.
Tradition appears to indicate that several generations ago people used to head off into the woods, cut a tree down to bring home and put up to celebrate Christmas. Most people today have either turned to putting up artificial trees that can be used over and over or they go to a store or farm to buy a fresh precut tree. Some farms even offer customers the opportunity to pick out their own tree and cut it down themselves.
Digital Journal explored a few places in Northern Virginia that sell Christmas trees and observed the ways people are buying them this year.
Over at Ticonderoga Farms in Chantilly, Va., shoppers could either buy a precut Christmas tree or go out into the field and cut their own. People were observed wandering through the lines of trees trying to find the perfect one or carrying their freshly cut trees for checkout. Others opted to buy a tree that had been precut. Digital Journal asked Ticonderoga Farms if more people tended to buy a precut tree or cut their own.
"I would definitely say about 65 - 70% tend to actually pick a precut tree from us," said Molly McGrady, Site Facilitator at Ticonderoga Farms. "We have many ask if we have the Frasers to cut down themselves, but unfortunately we do not as they grow in the south," adding that Frasers are a popular tree due to their fragrance and they also hold ornaments well.
Woman looks at pre-cut Christmas trees at Ticonderoga Farms
Woman looks at pre-cut Christmas trees at Ticonderoga Farms
Man carries a freshly cut tree from the field at Ticonderoga farms
Man carries a freshly cut tree from the field at Ticonderoga farms
Family searching for the perfect tree
Family searching for the perfect tree
A man pulls his freshly cut tree to be bundled and prepped to take home
A man pulls his freshly cut tree to be bundled and prepped to take home
Ticonderoga Farms appeared very busy over the first weekend in December
Ticonderoga Farms appeared very busy over the first weekend in December
Cox Farms, located in Centreville, Va., has a large lot of fresh Christmas trees for sale, including the popular Frasers. This past weekend, many cars were observed pulling in and out of the parking lot at Cox. Aaron Cox told Digital Journal in an email that this is Cox Farms' 40th year and they have been selling Christmas trees almost just as long.
Cox tells Digital Journal that visitors come to the farm to buy their precut trees. Trees come from areas such as Pennsylvania, North Carolina and even as far as Oregon.
"We do not grow the Christmas trees we sell, because we feature top-quality fir trees that grow best in other climates," said Cox.
Shoppers examine trees for sale at Cox Farms
Shoppers examine trees for sale at Cox Farms
Over the weekend many people appeared to be shopping for a Christmas tree at Cox Farms
Over the weekend many people appeared to be shopping for a Christmas tree at Cox Farms
Grocery stores are another destination where people are heading out to buy fresh trees to hang their decorations on. For the last couple of weeks, trees have been for sale at a Fairfax County Whole Foods store.
 Mini  trees for sale at a Fairfax County Whole Foods store
"Mini" trees for sale at a Fairfax County Whole Foods store
Full sized fresh trees for sale at a Fairfax County Whole Foods store. Most  if not all  of the tree...
Full sized fresh trees for sale at a Fairfax County Whole Foods store. Most, if not all, of the trees appear to come from local regions
This is the time of year many people head out Christmas Tree shopping and come home with trees strap...
This is the time of year many people head out Christmas Tree shopping and come home with trees strapped to the tops of their cars.
Still, other shoppers will instead be placing trees in the trunks of their cars as these shoppers opt to purchase an artificial tree. According to statistics (courtesy of University of Illinois Extension), in 2011 9.5 million artificial Christmas trees were sold in the United States.
Boxes of Christmas trees for sale at a Target store
Boxes of Christmas trees for sale at a Target store
Christmas tree display in a Target store
Christmas tree display in a Target store
Whether precut, cut-your-own, or artificial, trees are a traditional part of Christmas.
If you celebrate Christmas, what kind of tree do you prefer?
More about Photo Essay, christmas tree shopping, Northern Virginia, cox farms, ticonderoga farms
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