Black Friday Christmas Tree
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This weekend is the one Europe's Christmas tree industry has been working so hard for all year as families across Europe head out to buy their tree for the festive season.
Christmas tree producers like Andrew Ingram in the U.K. told CNBC that it was "hellishly busy at the moment" as he, like other growers, focused on delivering their trees to the wider wholesale market and the public in the run-up to Christmas.
"It's hellishly busy and this coming weekend we expect it to be exceedingly so, " Ingram told CNBC. His family business in Oxfordshire sells around 7, 000 trees a year direct to consumers and a further 7, 000 to wholesalers such as garden centers and farm shops. His larger trees will also be sold to London hotels, university colleges in Oxford and will end up gracing local town centers.
"We've focused on getting our wholesale trees and now we're focused on our retail trees. We're open seven days a week at the moment and we won't be able to take a rest until Christmas Eve, " he said. "There are much bigger growers than us in the U.K. selling around 250, 000 trees a year but I reckon my farm, and around 15 other sites, will do around 15, 000 trees each a year."
Ingram is one grower among the 350 members (accounting for 75 percent of all U.K. growers) of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA). In the U.K. alone, eight million trees are sold annually, making the market worth £68 million ($111 million) every year, according to the BCTGA.
Christmas tree production can be lucrative for a hard-working grower, but they have to make the most of a confined trading period of just four or five weeks from late November to Christmas Eve.
For growers like Ingram, it made sense to become a retailer as well as wholesaler. "We used to produce around 50, 000 trees a year but cut that back around ten years ago - really because the margins for retail trees are so much better than for wholesale - I can make £10 to £12 pounds more for a retail tree than a wholesale one."
"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree"
The actual use of Christmas trees spread from Germany in the 17th-century and the country remains Europe's largest producer of trees, growing 22 million of them a year. Other countries dominating the market are Denmark, Austria, France, Belgium and the U.K., which is one of the smaller producers.
Despite Germany's largescale production, Denmark is by far the biggest exporter of trees, producing 13 million trees and exporting 10.5 million of them a year.
This made the country's Christmas tree export market worth around 1.6 billion Danish krone (0 million) a year, Claus Jerram Christensen, the current Danish president of the Christmas Tree Grower Council of Europe (CTGCE) told CNBC.
Christensen estimated that Europe produces and sells 80 million trees in total a year. If each tree retailed at 30 euros each, he added, that would make the Christmas tree production industry worth 2.4 billion euros (.2 billion) a year.
Christmas tree production is not without its "pests" and pitfalls. With the average production cycle of a tree from seedling to felling around 8 to 12 years, the success of a crop is heavily dependent on growing conditions and their effect on quality and, eventually, prices.
(Read more: The ChristmasTree indicator: Myth or magic?)
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"In good times, more farmers tend to plant Christmas trees, and in times with poor prices, the opposite is the case, " the CTGCE's Christensen said. "But since the production period is 8-10 years, this fluctuation comes with a delay of eight-10 years. For now, Danish production is slightly increasing as a result of good prices in the beginning of this century."
For his part, U.K. farms like Ingram's has around 250, 000 trees growing at the moment and he said he had to plant around 15, 000 trees a year to keep the production cycle going. With the pressure on to keep the production cycle going, it's no easy life for a grower. Ingram said he works throughout the year to ensure his business survives.
"There's this general perception among the public that you plant a tree and then five or six year later a perfect tree has grown but it's not as easy at that at all."
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The newly remodeled Valley Fair Mall will open at midnight Black Friday and will stay open until 10 p.m. Giveaways throughout the night include cash and flat screen TVs, and overnight shoppers can also register for a chance to win $10,000 on Saturday. Valley Fair mall is also providing a break room for kids and dads, with movies and popcorn. West Valley City will not be having a Santa parade as in years past.