Debbie Gretzinger, the owner of Gretzinger’s Christmas Tree Lot, said the weekend after Thanksgiving was busy this year.
PHOTOS: JEFFREY ZAMPANTI

5 Christmas tree shopping tips from Gretzinger’s

Long-standing lot on 75th Street will remain open until it's sold out

By Jeffrey ZampantiKENOSHA.COM

With a passion for writing and love for his hometown, Zampanti has nearly three decades experience working directly in the Kenosha community. The Kenosha native is Director of Content for Kenosha.com.

Local residents still searching for that perfect Christmas tree shouldn’t wait much longer.

As retail chains displayed trees weeks before Halloween, local Christmas tree lots are experiencing a recent trend of early shoppers.

Gretzinger’s, which has been selling trees to local residents for four generations, sold one-third of its inventory in the first two weeks.

Gretzinger’s Christmas Tree Lot is located at 2710 75th St.

“It was just crazy busy the weekend after Thanksgiving,” said Debbie Gretzinger, owner of Gretzinger’s Christmas Tree Lot, 2710 75th St. “The last few years, we’ve sold out in (mid-December).

“I’ve been doing this my entire life. There’s been this huge shift since COVID. In the past, this upcoming weekend (Dec. 3-4) and the following weekend (Dec. 10-11) would be our busiest weekends. Now, it’s right after Thanksgiving.”

On Wednesday (Nov. 30), Gretzinger had approximately 160 Balsam and Fraser firs on display. The trees are priced $10 per foot for Balsum and $12/foot for Fraser. Eight-foot trees (and taller) are individually priced.

Gretzinger’s will remain open until it’s sold out.

Getting a tree early makes little sense if it’s dead by Christmas. However, with just a few simple tips it should still look fabulous for Santa’s arrival.

The trees are priced $10 per foot for Balsum and $12/foot for Fraser. Eight-foot trees (and taller) are individually priced.

Here are five Christmas tree tips for local shoppers:

1. Choose YOUR perfect tree

Every tree is unique. Whether it’s short, tall, wide or narrow, it doesn’t matter as long as it fits in your living space, according to Gretzinger. “It’s a real, live tree and they all look different,” Gretzinger said. “I think most people who buy real trees know that once you get it home and get the lights on and decorated, they all look beautiful.”

2. Prep the tree

For those interested in putting the tree up immediately, Gretziner’s offers a fresh cut off the bottom of the trunk. If it’s longer than 12 hours, place the trunk of the tree in a pail of water and keep it stored upright in a protected area. “Don’t lay it down on the cement,” Gretzinger said. “That will whisk the moisture out of the needles.”

3. Buy a quality tree stand

A tree stand should be large enough to hold one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. For most Christmas trees, that’s at least one gallon. You should never trim away the sides of the trunk to fit into a stand since the outer layers are the most efficient at soaking up the water. “We sell tree stands and we don’t mark them up,” Gretzinger said. “We want people to have a nice stand that holds a lot of water.”

4. Location, location, location

Don’t place the tree in front of any direct heat sources, such as fireplaces, heaters, heat vents or direct sunlight. One tip is to close the vents near the tree to prevent it from drying it out. 

5. Water — lots of water

The most important step in keeping a tree healthy is watering it regularly — just like you would care for fresh cut flowers — especially the first couple days of having it in the stand. Gretzinger recommends using water straight from the tap. “There’s old wives tales about adding aspirin or bleach to the water,” Gretzinger said. “You should never do that. Just use clean water and never let it go dry.”

Gretzinger’s sold one-third of its inventory in the first two weeks.

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