Amid the pandemic Americans are turning back to fresh Christmas trees. It’s early on in the season, but both wholesale tree farmers and small cut-your-own lots are reporting strong demand, with many opening well before Thanksgiving. As demand surges, big box stores are seeking fresh trees up to a week earlier than last year. McKenzie Cook ships between 1.8 million and 2 million trees a year from McKenzie Farms in Oregon and Happy Holiday Christmas Trees in North Carolina, she says, “The season is running approximately six to seven days ahead of what we’ve seen in the past. We’ve never had demand like we’ve had this year.” A few things are driving the uptick in sales; for one thing, more Americans are staying home for the holidays as the pandemic continues, and realize they will be home to water a fresh-cut tree. And with many holiday festivities cancelled, stir-crazy families are also looking for safe ways to make memories—including choosing and cutting down a tree. The growing interest in real trees comes after the industry has struggled to attract new, younger customers in recent years. Another tree farmer adds, “Having that real tree smells so good in your house, something to take care of and decorate together, nothing beats that for the holiday season.”