Bob Miller ("not the former governor," he was quick to point out) smiling handed over cash Sunday morning for a Christmas tree to appease his wife.
Olive Miller had it in her mind to buy a tree on Thanksgiving weekend even though this Minden couple has never bought a tree before middle December in 47 years of marriage.
"We won't bring it into the house until the 15th," Donna Miller rationalized. "I'll take better care of it than the lot."
The Millers bought a 6-foot silver tip tree at the Empire Tree Lot in front of Craft Market (formerly Ben Franklin Crafts) on South Carson Street.
"It's pressure," Bob Miller said when asked why he was buying a Christmas tree in November already. "It's true, honest to God pressure from my wife. She was fearful all the good trees would sell out if we waited."
The Millers plan to keep their tree well watered on the shady side of the house with an aspirin in the water to help preserve the tree, Olive Miller said.
A Sunday drive down Carson Street and Highway 50 East turned up four Christmas tree lots already open to serve holiday revelers eager to get an early start.
Along with Empire, trees were also being sold outside Les Schwab, Kmart and the former Longs Drugs location in the near empty Carson City Square shopping center.
"That's really good because we have a lot of parking," said Margaret Schryver, the matriarch of the Utterback's Christmas Tree family.
The Utterback lot was the only one offering flocking on Thanksgiving weekend with one of the whitened trees destined for the nearby Carson Retirement Plaza.
The Utterback family has sold trees for 14 years and Schryver (originally an Utterback) reckons some 85 percent of their customers come back year after year. She said some traditionalists wait until Christmas Eve to buy a tree but she understands the reasoning of the early tree buyers.
"If they're going to buy a tree, they might as well have it a whole month," Schryver said. "If they take care of the trees, they will last a month."
Tree lot owners likened a Christmas tree to a member of the family for that month that it sits in the living room. Children, pets and Christmas trees all need caring for.
Thad Giles, part owner of Mystic Forest Trees next to Les Schwab, said the trunks must be kept in water at all times. He also recommends adding Sprite or 7-Up to the water because the sugar reportedly keeps the tree fresher.
"The biggest thing with taking care of a tree is give it plenty of water," Giles said. "The bottom dries out in 30 minutes if it's not in water. Then the sap seals the bottom and it won't take any more water."
Giles said he cut his trees Tuesday in Winston, Ore. Tony Misley, selling his trees outside Kmart, said he personally cut down all 900 trees Tuesday and Wednesday in Oregon City and he started selling Saturday night in Carson City.
The Misley Tree Farm's top tree is a 20-foot noble fir selling for $160.
"Noble fires especially are really long last. They're the most expensive," Misley said.
Christmas tree lots open as of Saturday
- SuperKmart: Misley Tree Farm
Trees: noble fir, grand fir, white fir and Douglas fir from Oregon City, Ore.
Size: 2 feet to 20 feet
Cost: $3 to $8 per foot. A 20-foot noble fir goes for $160.
- Craft Market: Empire Tree Lot
Trees: Douglas fir, white fir, silver tip from Placerville
Size: 3 feet to 15 feet
Cost: $15 to $285. Same day delivery for $3.
- Les Schwab: Mystical Forest Trees
Trees: Douglas fir, grand fir, noble fir from Winston, Ore.
Size: 3 feet to 20 feet
Cost: $20 to $200.
- Carson City Square (former Longs Drugs): Utterback's Christmas Trees
Trees: Grand fir, noble fir and Douglas fir from Salem, Ore.
Size: 2 feet to 14 feet.
Cost: $10 to undisclosed. Customized flocking available.