When Mark Harnett stepped out the door of his timber frame house and looked over his Christmas tree farm Sunday morning, he saw an endless line of cars.
It was the first day Mistletoe Christmas Tree Farm in Stow was open this year, and it has never been so bustling.
“This was our busiest day in 12 years of farming,” Harnett said late Sunday afternoon.
With the COVID-19 pandemic shaking up norms — the busiest time for sales is usually the weekend after Thanksgiving — and customers fearing another lockdown, he said, the farm was swamped by thousands people looking for an early start to their holiday decorating.
“Hundreds and hundreds and hundred of trees — and these were not small trees,” said Harnett. The farm specializes in trees of 10 to 15 feet, some that have been growing there as long as Harnett has owned the farm where he lives with his family.
The farm, which decks out its own holiday decorations and blasts Christmas music, sold out almost all of its cut-your-own trees for the season, although they also have pre-cut trees grown elsewhere for sale into December. Ornaments, wreaths, and other decorations also sold tremendously, he said. “There was a run on everything.”
The crowds at the tree farm were one of many indications that the pandemic is encouraging many families to begin decorating early.
“It’s a combination of COVID and people wanting to get their homes decorated early and just look forward to something else,” Harnett said.
A limited parking lot and local police helped managed the crowds, he said, and the 11 acres of property helped make social distancing easy.
Still, Harnett said, it was crazy.
“Today was a day like no other,” he said. “Like a classic 2020 thing.”
Lucas Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.