By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Forty-six days remain until Christmas, but some Minnesotans are already spreading holiday cheer.

At Krueger’s Christmas Tree Farm in Lake Elmo, they sell about a thousand trees each year. But with COVID-19, they and other farms have had to change things up just a bit.

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“We look at each tree and then we try and price it based according to its quality,” Neil Krueger said.

Instead of remaining anonymous, each of the Christmas trees for sale at Krueger’s is given a name. It’s a tradition that remains, while several others have been forced to take the season off as COVID plays the role of Scrooge.

“We’ll do things differently here at the farm without Santa, without hayrides,” Deb Krueger said.

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No Santa. No cider. Even so, the Kruegers think they could have one of their busiest years ever.

“People want to get outdoors, and the trees are socially distanced,” Neil Krueger said. “We have some neighbors that have a pumpkin farm, and they said that they had their best year ever this year, and we’re hearing the same thing from the strawberry people.”

Good weather was like an early Christmas present, as trees young and old flourished over the summer. And they’re hoping people spruce things up. Instead of one big family get-together, they’re anticipating that people who haven’t bought trees in the past could do so this year as they stay closer to home.

“We love this time of year,” Deb Krueger said. “We have the fourth generation coming, and we all work together.”

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Because the growing season was so good in Minnesota and Wisconsin, it’s not unusual for farms in both states to send trees to other parts of the country hit by drought.

John Lauritsen