WEILLINGTON, Ohio — There’s no shame in those artificial Christmas trees, but there’s nothing quite like the smell of a fresh cut pine filling your home.
One Northeast Ohio Christmas tree farm is keeping the tradition alive this year despite the pandemic.
James Kurtz and his wife Kay purchased their farm in 1967, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s when they started selling trees.
“You have to be pretty patient, it takes eight to nine years for a tree to get up to seven feet," Kurtz said.
Since then, they’ve been so busy it’s been difficult to keep up with demand.
“I started to get so much business that I couldn’t grow them fast enough to satisfy demands,” Kurtz said. "So, I started to bring trees in from other farms.”
Kurtz said the rush for Christmas came early this year with many people determined to find joy this holiday season. He also said people are taking the opportunity to get outside and cut down their own tree.
“They’re not perfect for one. So, it makes it nice, and the smell. They’re all unique. They’re beautiful.” said Steve and Michelle Bajcer. "The grandkids love it. They think it’s cool because they never get a real tree.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kurtz is even offering to pick out a tree and deliver it.
“Christmas is a special time for our neighbors in northern Ohio to come find a tree,” Kurtz said.
Jim’s wife Kay passed away nine years ago in 2011, but her craft of making wreaths and weaving pine rope lives on through her husband and numerous apprentices that she’s trained throughout the years.
"Kay and I used to sit on Christmas Eve,” Kurtz said. “We’re done for the season and we would say ‘Gosh, we’ve got 250 families celebrating the birth of Jesus under our trees.'”
Retired now, Jim carries on the business with his sons. In a year with was many twists and turns as 2020 has had, sometimes the best gifts are ones that can’t be found under a tree.
“It’s a warming and heartfelt feeling to know that people are enjoying the benefits of our labor.”
Kurtz Christmas Trees is located at 22350 Quarry Rd. in Wellington, Ohio.