Christmas trees offer bright spot amid COVID pandemic

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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Holidays may be different in 2020, but people are still turning to Christmas trees for some holiday spirit.

"It's this little piece of something everyone can hold onto," Christmas tree vendor Dayal Parker said.

Just like everything else in 2020, finding the perfect Christmas tree is anything but straight forward.

"There's less workers, less people doing things, that raises prices, the whole supply chain, every single part is affected," Parker said.

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Parker mans a Christmas tree stand on Sixth Avenue in Chelsea.

She's from North Carolina, here for the first time helping the owner who lives in Quebec and couldn't make it to our area, like many others in this industry.

"Usually, a lot of international folks work these jobs and due to all of the travel restrictions, weren't able to make it this year," Parker said.

In fact, the city parks department, which oversees stands like one in Tribeca, confirms numbers are down.

Last year it issued permits for 16 sidewalk locations. This year they issued 14, but only seven chose to set up shop.

Another fallout from the pandemic, Christmas tree vendor Campbell Harding says there are fewer deliverers, which effects his bottom line.

"We kind of work on the tips, kind of make our bread and butter a lot of people are setting them up themselves," Harding said.

Experts point out wildfires in California also led to fewer evergreens in the pipeline.

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"I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19," said Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week. "It's the best early birthday present I could wish for."



Yet during this unusually challenging year, demand for Christmas trees is way up, with many looking for a bright spot, leading to higher prices.

"I tell someone the price for the tree and they're like whatever and get the tree," Harding said.

People like Mario Nunez, buying a tree for his company's office, paid $275 for an 8-footer and it didn't faze him one bit.

"You have to stay cheerful positive, I know we are going through a difficult times but I think this will clear a lot of dark air, for sure," Nunez said.

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