CHICAGO (WBBM) – Some shoppers in the Chicago area already have checked one item off the Christmas list. A tree.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody Reports

A spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association says the feeling in the industry is it’s going to be a strong year for sales of fresh Christmas trees.

Rick Dungey says sales do not seem to vary with economic circumstances: If people want a tree, they’ll buy a tree regardless of how well they’re doing.

Growers are ready for a harvest this year of 32 million to 35 million trees, significantly up from last year’s 28 million, he says.

At the Old Town Garden Center at Wells Street and North Avenue, landscape designer Chris Walsh says customers are buying earlier than ever.

This is the first year the business was open Thanksgiving Weekend. Dungee says Old Town Garden Center already has sold more than 160 trees with the expected biggest sale days, the first weekend in December, yet to come.

He’s expecting to sell 400 to 600 trees this weekend, mostly short needle trees like Fraser Firs. He says he still sell longer needle trees like White Pine, but he he says short needles still carry the day.

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