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Courtesy photo
Customers can take a horse-drawn wagon to cut their own Christmas trees at Booth’s Tree Farm in Orland.

Sellers see benefits in real thing

Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Jack DeGrandchamp operates DeGrandchamp/Schlup tree sales at Parkwest Shopping Center.
Bonnie and Bill Booth own Booth’s Tree Farm in Orland.

Bill Booth has plenty of reasons why a real Christmas tree is better than a fake one.

While he says there’s nothing wrong with an artificial tree, a plastic one doesn’t hold a Christmas light to the freshness and greenery of a live one. Not to mention that a real tree doesn’t fill up the landfills and benefits air quality and the environment after it’s recycled.

That’s probably why he sells between 3,000 to 4,000 live Christmas trees this time of year at Booth’s Tree Farm in Orland. The business, which was started in 1950 by his father, has become a family operation over the years with the 68-year-old Booth, along with his wife, Bonnie, and his son, Denver, at the helm.

Booth sells Scotch and white pine, Colorado spruce and Fraser fir trees. Customers can select a pre-cut tree or take a horse-drawn wagon to the fields to cut their own. In addition, customers can buy wreaths and decorations, including garland that was made by Booth’s 8-year-old grandson.

For many families, the holiday ritual of cutting their own tree has become an annual tradition. Booth says he is now seeing second and third generations coming to the farm.

“A lot of people really enjoy it,” Booth says. “That’s the part I really enjoy the most is seeing the kids.”

Jack DeGrandchamp, who has been selling Christmas trees at the Parkwest Shopping Center parking lot along West Jefferson Boulevard for more than 30 years, says he has customers who have bought trees from his family for 50 years. His father-in-law started selling trees in 1955.

DeGrandchamp, 56, says he thinks a fake Christmas tree just looks, well, fake. He says a live Christmas tree offers the ease of decorating, they’re cheaper, and you don’t have to store them after the holidays.

His favorite live trees are Douglas and Fraser firs.

“Every time you walk in the room … you get that fresh smell,” he says.

And if you like to decorate, DeGrandchamp says each tree offers a different option such as big empty spaces for ornaments or big fat trees with lots of branches.

This year at home, DeGrandchamp has a Douglas fir, which his wife has decorated with life-like cardinals, he says. Unfortnately, the bird decorations are driving the family cat crazy as it keeps climbing the tree to get the birds.

DeGrandchamp, laughing, says, “but that’s another story.”

The real story is his love for real Christmas trees. “I would never have anything else,” he says.

Both Booth and DeGrandchamp still have a little more than a week to go in the season.

DeGrandchamp says he hopes to be finished a day or two before Christmas Eve, unless he is sold out before then. Booth’s farm, at 5555 N. Indiana 327 in Orland, sells trees from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until Dec. 23.

And for Booth, even after being surrounded by all those trees, he doesn’t have a forest in his home for the holiday. He chooses only one to be the family Christmas tree.