The Easy Way to Get a Christmas Tree From the Country—Even During Covid

SPRUCE UP YOUR HOLIDAY Beyond simple tree delivery, select service now include lights, a stand, installation and removal when the Yuletide season ends

SPRUCE UP YOUR HOLIDAY Beyond simple tree delivery, select service now include lights, a stand, installation and removal when the Yuletide season ends

Illustration: Serge Bloch

WHILE PICKING the ideal pine is a beloved holiday tradition for many—with 26.2 million real Christmas trees sold nationwide last year—the logistics can prove a hassle, especially if you want to bring it home from the countryside.

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Add a global pandemic and stringent social distancing guidelines, and many real-tree devotees say they simply don’t have the comfort level much less transportation, manpower, or, really, inclination in 2020 to schlep a festive fir from its natural habitat.

Enter on-demand tree-delivery services that aim to simplify the season by bringing a fresh, fragrant evergreen directly from the farm to your front door. In 2019, online delivery services accounted for 1.5 million real-tree sales, a number that should see a significant uptick this year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

Chicago marketing consultant Jessica Sturdy, 31, plans to order a $250 Fraser Fir—including setup, stand rental and postseason recycling—from City Tree Delivery (citytreedelivery.com) this month, reassured by its new, contactless drop-off options. “And I physically could not carry a tree into my apartment alone,” she said.

DECK THE HALLS Buddy (Will Ferrell) and Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) decorate their festive tree in the Christmas film classic “Elf.”

DECK THE HALLS Buddy (Will Ferrell) and Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) decorate their festive tree in the Christmas film classic “Elf.”

Photo: Everett Collection

Urban dwellers like Ms. Sturdy represent a massive market for tree transporters, as do harried professionals, retirees, young families and snowbirds who no longer have access to the tree lots that are ubiquitous up north. Windblown Tree Plantation, which operates Christmas Trees Now (christmastreesnow.com), has shipped to customers in 48 states—even Hawaii.

Given nationwide demand, mass retailers like
Walmart,
Lowe’s
and the Home Depot have jumped on the bough bandwagon this year with their own tree delivery operations. (Walmart even lets you add an exterior Christmas light installation to your cart—for $129 if your home is single-story and $199 for two-story dwellings—through home service marketplace Handy.) But boutique businesses like Northeast tree delivery upstart Walddie (walddie.com) caution that retailers may cut some trees in late October making them less fresh.

Comparatively, Walddie cuts theirs within just a few days of shipment. If your delivered tree needs a little sprucing, prep the trunk to absorb water by rubbing the bark with sandpaper, said Josh Tillie, associate merchant for outdoor garden at the Home Depot.

If you’re feeling charitable this holiday season, companies like Santa Trees in Boston—for which drivers dressed as Santa deliver trees sourced from local, family-owned tree farms in Massachusetts and New Hampshire—offer the option to donate a tree to a family in need for $100 (santatreesboston.com). If you want to snag one for yourself in the process, expect to pay $350 all-in for an 8- to 9-foot tree with lights, a stand and eventual removal.

Don’t forget to tip your Santas.

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.