Tree farms, gift shops see early Christmas rush
BARRIE, ONT. -- Christmas is still 41 days away, but many Simcoe County residents are already decking the halls, feeling merry and bright.
People are clamouring for an early start to holiday traditions, like cutting down a tree with their families.
"This is definitely a 2020 kind of thing," says Serena Drysdale at Drysdale's Tree Farm. "I've never had anyone call on November 1st before to ask for their Christmas tree."
The 75-year-old farm isn't quite ready. Its cut-your-own program doesn't start until November 21, and runs until 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Pre-cut options will also be available with COVID-19 protocols in place.
The first week of December is typically Drysdale's busiest but the rush may also start sooner.
The global pandemic has created unprecedented times for all holidays and traditions, so Drysdale isn't surprised by a mini tree cutting panic.
"I think this year, a lot of family traditions have been stopped a little bit," Drysdale says. "And Christmas is so important to so many people that being able to provide a safe environment for everyone to keep that tradition going is really important to us."
Gift shops are also noticing a rush to cross names off holiday shopping lists.
"This week was a big turn around the corner. We're really seeing an influx in shopping and people getting ready, and quite a bit prepared earlier this year," says Ryan Primmett, at Barrie's Everleigh Garden.
"We're used to seeing a large last-minute rush," Primmett explains. "But we're seeing an early rush where people aren't certain about what the next few weeks are going to look like, so they just want to get ahead of that and make sure they're prepared."