SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - It's usually the first weekend of December when Gartman's Tree Farm in Saucier gets happily slammed with customers, but this particular Sunday has owner Danny Gartman running his tractors and chain saws hard and fast to keep up with demand.
He started the 20 acre farm in 1986, and it's one of the few remaining in Harrison County. The farm, located on Scarborough Road in Saucier, is open from 8 a.m. until dark through the weekend before Christmas.
"What we enjoy are the kids," Gartman said. "We enjoy the families coming out. A lot of these people we know. We've known them for years and years. Not only do we sell to them, but we also sell to their kids, now."
David Ball, of Pass Christian, has been bringing his wife and three children to tree hunt for about four years.
For him and many others, it's not just about the three. It's about the whole experience that makes this purchase special.
"It's just a time for us to come out and just do something as a family, and that would be part of our learning about Jesus and what the Christmas tree actually represents and the traditional place that it stands in our home. Before, we did an artificial tree, but one day the kids asked, 'Why don't we do a natural tree?' And I said, 'I really don't have an answer for that, and so why don't we go and try to do it,'" said Ball.
Ball's daughter, Caleigh, says it's an experience that sticks with her.
"There are more memories with a real tree as far as going out and finding it and stuff like that," Caleigh said. "With an artificial tree, you just get it out of the box, but this is more memorable to me."
Thomas Patrick, of Gulfport, had an extra special surprise for his daughters tucked inside a pre-chosen tree.
"My kids have an Elf on the Shelf, and our elf comes every December, the beginning of December. We're a day early, but that's OK," said Patrick.