PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Getting into the holiday spirit! Christmas tree stands are slammed on both sides of the bay. Some vendors tell ABC Action News they're seeing the highest demand in 30 years.
Christmas tree tent operators say more people are investing in real trees this year to bring a little joy to an otherwise dismal year, and with fewer people traveling for the holidays, many are choosing to deck out their homes to the maximum.
Maria Nomikos of St. Petersburg spent the day Monday looking for the perfect Christmas tree, one that would bring back years of happy memories.
"It's the smell waking up to it. All of that nostalgia from a little kid and with everything closed right now people need to do something at home to cheer themselves up," she elaborated.
This year, she's in good company. Thirty million real Christmas trees are expected to soon be displayed in homes around the nation.
Local tree vendors haven't seen this much of a rush, this early in the season, in decades.
Roger Brunk works at Big Jim's Wisconsin Christmas Trees on Gulf to Bay Boulevard in Clearwater. He is astounded by the demand in people picking up trees and getting them delivered.
"Ever since we got here, it's just busy busy busy," he explained.
Several miles away, just off 4th Street in St. Petersburg, John Lindner at An Old Time Christmas is seeing a similar trend.
"We can't even pull the trees out of our bins quick enough to sell them," he elaborated.
The demand could lead to Christmas tree farms seeing shortages the closer we get to the holidays. Vendors' best advice: Grab your tree early.
At Gallagher's Pumpkins and Christmas Trees, David Gallagher says that could be key to ensuring you get a real tree this year.
"I suggest sooner rather than later because there may be shortages, and we might not be able to get more like we have in the past. And a lot more people are buying Christmas trees because they're not going to family's houses out of state, so it has been a lot different," he added.
With cooler temps on the horizon, the holiday spirit is in full swing.
"Normally, it is so warm everyone waits and waits and waits, but with the colder weather, everyone is going to get started a lot sooner," Brunk added.
As for Nomikos, she says she couldn't help herself. This year, she picked out three trees….one for her home, one for a friend's home and one for an organization she is a part of.
"It definitely brings happiness. The tree in the house is an important part," she said with a smile.