MILTON, GA - We live in a world full of symbols, but few are more nostalgic to us than those of the holiday season...especially the traditional Christmas tree.
Sales of real trees fell 10% last year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, even worse for artificial trees, which fell 35%.
But the trade association predicts improved sales this year, especially for "cut your own" tree farms.
If the day after Thanksgiving crowds are any indication, things are certainly looking up for Hunters' Christmas Tree Farm in Milton, Georgia.
"I think we're going to have a good season, I honestly believe that," says Gordon Hunter, whose family has run the tree farm for the past 19 years.
He predicts about a 10% increase this year.
Families may disagree about which tree they pick to cut down on Hunter's farm, but many we spoke with all agree they won't cut it out, no matter how bad the economy is.
"Oh, the tree definitely has to stay," tree customer Scott Davidson told 11 Alive News, "I mean, that's one part where we didn't even think about cutting back on."
"It's a tradition," customer Tricia Green told us, "we're cutting in other places with gifts and things like that, but not the tree."
Some customers were even buying two trees.
That's because the Hunter farm is one of many around the country that offer discounted trees for the public to donate to the "Trees for Troops" program.
The organization is expecting to provide more than 15,000 free Christmas trees to military families in the U.S. and overseas.
Hunter, himself a U.S. Navy pilot in the Vietnam War, expects his customers to contribute more than 125 trees to the project.
"I think the spirit for our military folks is very high," Hunter says, "People want to do something. This is a great thing to repay their families to donate a tree to military families on the bases."
To find out more about Hunters' Christmas Tree Farm, click here=>