Mitch Townsend cuts the end off of a newly purcahsed Christmas Tree at a tree lot in the Red Deer Sheraton parking lot on Saturday. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

Red Deer residents stick to their traditions

Putting up a Christmas tree — whether it is real or artificial — is a tradition that is important to Red Deerians.

Waiting in line at Bower Mall for a photo with Santa Saturday morning, Rob Nord said he put up his fake tree last weekend.

“Our tradition is to put it up on Grey Cup Sunday,” he said as he waited with his daughters.

Nord said he’s always had a fake tree, even when he was a kid. They put it up and get it all decorated.

Further along the line, Steve Burke and his children hadn’t put up their tree just yet. But that’s because they hadn’t cut it down.

They plan to go get their real tree next weekend with their annual tree tradition.

“We go out into the West Country,” he said. “We have a wiener roast, toboggan and get the tree.”

It’s a 33-year tradition for his family and friends. They typically go out to the area in a group of 10 to 20 people. Then, when they’ve made it back to the city they have chili to end the fun day.

He said they’ll let it sit for a bit and decorate the tree during the week.

In the Red Deer Sheraton parking lot, Joe Butterfield is set up selling precut trees for the 40th year. One of the few independent Christmas tree sellers, Butterfield sources his trees from Quebec and expects to sell about 600 this year.

He said it has been slow so far, but that’s because he opened a week earlier than he usually does. He tries to open up the last Saturday in November, but because it fell early this year, he will be open longer.

The first weekend, business was slow, but it has since picked up.

In the past, the trees have come from Washington State, but Butterfield said he prefers to sell Canadian trees and paid extra to have them shipped to the parking lot by rail.

They were cut in late November, which he said means they should last a long time.

“We’ve had customers say they last until February,” said Butterfield.



mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

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