Christmas trees a family tradition

Haley Booth has spent the past 40 years looking after Christmas trees.

Booth labors five years to eight years on each tree. [Christmas Trees : Growing and Selling Trees, Wreaths, and Greens]

Then after Thanksgiving, his work is chopped down or dug up and sent to a new home to be decorated and surrounded by presents.

The 56-year-old said he looks forward to Christmas Day for a different reason than his customers at Booth’s Christmas Tree Farm.

“It’s a relief,” he said. “It’s finally a day of rest.”

As a teen, Booth helped his father tend to 43 acres of these trees. When his father died, Booth took over the business: pruning, watering and selling the cedars, pines and firs that are his family’s lifeblood.

The holiday season is crunch time for Booth, his wife and about six employees. Booth said Christmas tree sales can take a toll.

“As far as Thanksgiving, we don’t have much of a Thanksgiving anymore,” he said.

Booth will donate the 28-foot tree for Conway’s holiday celebration on Dec. 1. He sells up to 1,000 trees annually and grows about 15,000 at a time on his 28-acre farm off S.C. 22 outside Conway.

“You just have to have patience, and seeing the families come out helps keep the spirit up,” Booth said. “I like to see the children get excited about Christmas.”

The S.C. Christmas Tree Association lists two tree farms in Horry and Georgetown counties: Booth’s farm and Daly’s Christmas Tree Farm in Conway.

Booth, who does carpentry work on the side, has seen various competitors come and go over the years but said it takes a real people-person to run a Christmas tree business like his.

Sunny weather brings customers out, as does colder temperatures, but Booth said Sunday’s rainshowers didn’t stop 15 people from venturing out to his farm to pick out a tree.

“I enjoy talking with people. My dad did, and he’s the one who really got this business started,” Booth said. “After he passed away, I decided to keep with the family tradition.”

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