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How Christmas Trees Weather A Recession

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Hugh Rodell, owner of a wholesale tree business in Maryland, says Christmas trees are usually "one of the last expenses to cut out" of spending for the holidays.
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Hugh Rodell, owner of a wholesale tree business in Maryland, says Christmas trees are usually "one of the last expenses to cut out" of spending for the holidays.

Old City Green is a garden center right near D.C.'s Convention Center. The Christmas trees and steaming cider give a sense of serenity, but business is booming.

Frank Asher cuts the stump off one of the few Christmas trees left on his lot.

"I sold most of my trees the first weekend of December, which was very, very unusual and pleasantly surprising," he says.

Old City Green opened a few years ago, just as the recession started, and business around the holidays wasn't so great.

"The first two Christmases I had over 100 trees left over that I mulched and used for compost," he says.

Hugh Rodell owns Northstar Christmas Trees, a wholesale tree business in Adelphi, Md. He says Christmas trees are usually fairly resistant to economic downturns.

"It is one of the last expenses to cut out -- it's such a pivotal piece of anyone's Christmas that it's hard to even imagine not having a Christmas tree," Rodell says.

People do shop around more for them, and, he says, the average tree got smaller by a few feet as people tried to shave costs.

"The Christmas tree has shrunk, in a way to put it..." he says.

Back at Old City Green, Asher says this year, trees are getting bigger again.

"People were really wanting to get kind of a bigger tree, and they were a lot more festive this year," he says.

Although Asher says the tiniest tabletop trees still sold out.

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