Isle stores starting up Christmas tree sales
It's not even Thanksgiving yet, but Christmas trees will go on sale this weekend.
About 2,000 spruce and Douglas fir trees will be available at Wal-Mart in Mililani starting Saturday, said Assistant Manager Kaesho Scudder.
Scudder expects a rush of tree shoppers the day after Thanksgiving, when most Christmas tree sales traditionally begin.
About 230 shipping containers packed with an estimated 100,000 Christmas trees are on the way to Hawaii to gear up for the holiday season, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
So far, 18 containers of about 6,500 trees had arrived over the weekend, said spokeswoman Janelle Saneishi. One hundred containers are expected to arrive this weekend and 100 more next weekend, Saneishi said. Thirty more containers are expected to arrive the first weekend of December.
Scudder said his store normally sells out trees by mid-December and projects a successful season.
City Mill, with eight stores islandwide, ordered 25 percent more trees this year compared to last year when trees sold out quicker than expected.
"This year, a lot of the stores ordered more," said store manager Watson Tanuvasa of the Honolulu store.
About 11 containers of Douglas fir and noble fir trees are expected to arrive at City Mill stores Friday. The Mililani and Hawaii Kai stores are each expected to receive two containers, with an estimated 450 trees in each container.
"We're looking forward to a successful Christmas season," Tanuvasa said.
Richard Tajiri, owner of Christmas Hawaii,* is expected to ship 25 containers with about 4,000 trees to Honolulu, about the same amount of trees he brought in last year.
Tajiri, a native of Maui who resides in Oregon, has been involved in the tree business for the past 30 years. Tajiri hand-picks each tree from seven different farms in the Northwest.
Like other retailers, Tajiri anticipate a successful year to sell Christmas trees.
"I heard the economy is up," he said.
Despite the increase in freight rates, Tajiri, who sells trees at the parking lot near Sears at Ala Moana Boulevard and Piikoi Street after Thanksgiving, said he plans to keep prices the same as he did in the last five years, with the exception of trees 8 feet and higher.
Tajiri said shipments of Nordman, noble and grand fir trees were to arrive a bit later this year because he waited until yesterday to cut a majority of the trees so they could absorb the water from rains they recently received after the Northwest experienced a dry summer.
"We didn't want to cut earlier because there was no rain," he said. "We had to wait it out as long as possible."
With the Thanksgiving holiday arriving earlier this year, Tajiri said he wanted to ensure that the trees will last through the holiday season as trees are about 82 percent water. Heavier trees are a good sign that the trees are healthy, he said.
Mike Dolan, manager of Home Depot on Alakawa Street, said the Honolulu store is expected to receive 18 containers as they anticipate a large crowd of tree shoppers.
The sale of Douglas fir and noble fir trees for all three Home Depot sites on Oahu is scheduled to start at 6 a.m., the day after Thanksgiving.
Tree safety tips
» Monitor trees regularly for any signs of drying. A green-colored tree could still be considered dry, said Capt. Kenison Tejada, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, noting that a dry tree could fully ignite in five to 10 seconds.
» To detect whether the tree is dry, pull on the needles or check the water to determine whether it is being absorbed by the tree.
» If there are any doubts on whether your tree is dry, do not put lights on the tree.
» Turn off tree lights when you leave your home. Check wiring for frays or cracks on the light strings.
» Limit the amount of lights on trees because too many lights will build up heat.
» Follow the manufacturer's rules for Christmas lights.
Source: Honolulu Fire Department