MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It seems some Minnesotans are extra excited about Christmas this year.

Stores around the Twin Cities tell WCCO that people are buying their trees earlier this year.

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While the early purchases mean more time to enjoy the season, it also means the trees could dry out.

It seems Thanksgiving got leapfrogged in 2019. Staff at Bachman’s in Richfield say they’ve been selling Christmas items for weeks now. Sarah Welch of Victoria and her two-year-old daughter were in the spirit, too.

“I usually put Christmas decorations up after Thanksgiving, but I definitely got some out early this year just because it got so cold and it snowed so early, and so we definitely have started to get into the Christmas spirit earlier this year,” Welch said.

Her decorations are in place, and she’s waiting to put up a tree. But many are not waiting, as we saw at Mother Earth Gardens in northeast Minneapolis.

The dangers of a dry Christmas tree (credit: NLST)

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“With Thanksgiving being so late this year, we bought trees a whole week early and we’ve been selling them since we got them in,” said store manager Kayla Shaw.

Their organic trees were just harvested from a Wisconsin farm.

“A dry tree can be a real fire hazard in your home,” Shaw said.

A video from the National Institute of Standards and Technology shows how big of a hazard it can be.

Christmas trees cause 200 fires a year in the United States. There are some easy ways to prevent that. It’s suggested if you are buying a natural tree to ask for a fresh trunk cut before you take it home. And the tree needs to be in water within the hour of purchase. Also:

  • Keep the tree away from fire places or vents.
  • Use a power strip for lights.
  • Turn lights off at bedtime.
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Those are just a few ways to make sure this long tree season is short on danger.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield