The Germans call them Tannenbaums, but to Americans, they're known as Christmas Trees, and in Payson, vendors sell every kind you can imagine.
Pre-cut Douglas fir, Noble fir, and several varieties of tall evergreens, real and artificial, come into Payson on the backs of 18 wheelers. To meet the demands of Americans, who purchase more than 20 million live Christmas trees each holiday season. The trees are cut as early as July and August then placed in cold storage until late November.
Yuletide aromas suffuse your sense of smell when you step out of your vehicle at Plant Fair Nursery. Here you will find live and pre-cut Christmas trees to bring home and enjoy.
Plant Fair's most popular Christmas tree is the Douglas fir, according to Glen McCombs, who along with wife, Linda, own and operate the nursery in Star Valley. Plant Fair's first shipment of trees, not warehoused, arrived in November direct from a small farm in Oregon.
Pre-cut Douglas firs start at less than $20; Frazer and Noble firs are less than $40. McCombs also sells Colorado spruce, a good holiday landscape tree, and Austrian pines, standing 6 feet tall, which are approved by the town for low-water use.
McCombs provides informative handouts about keeping cut trees fresh thus making them safer. He recommends putting freshly cut trees in a clean stand, filling the stand with water, and adding a preservative and a fire retardant to keep trees moist and cool.
Bashas' has pre-cut Noble firs available for under $30.
For those who hate to fuss with the real thing, Family Dollar, Safeway and Walgreens carry artificial and novelty Christmas trees.
Wal-Mart hawks three varieties of Christmas trees. They range in size, starting from a live, one-gallon Black Hills spruce for less than $6 to a 9-foot pre-cut Noble fir coming in below $45. Wal-Mart also has artificial trees already adorned with lights to fit any style or wallet, and ready to be brought home.
After the Tonto National Forest handed out its 1,500 to 2,000 tree permits through a lottery, the Payson Ranger District sold out of its remaining 200 permits within days.
The Henderson family, like many others in the Rim country, cut down the perfect Christmas trees.
This year, three generations of Hendersons braved a cold, slushy November weekend to find their trees. Usually they bring a picnic on their search and it eat in the forest, but this year, because of bad weather, they ate their traditional picnic at home.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 9.6 million artificial trees and 23.4 million live trees were sold in 2003. About 22 percent of families chose to cut their own.