First families move fast on Christmas tree purchases

For some, the Christmas season begins the moment Thanksgiving leftovers are packed up. On Friday morning after Thanksgiving, several local families were already up and out at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, selecting their Christmas trees from The Pinery Christmas Tree lot.

Before 11 a.m., the operators had already sold six trees on their first day of business. “It’s tradition,” said Ainsley Lenihan of Solana Beach, who was out hunting for a tree with her husband and three children. She said she always wants to come the day after Thanksgiving to jumpstart the next holiday.

“It’s just ‘cause I love the season,” Lenihan said. “We’re just so excited to get started.”

Outside, noble, Douglas and grand gir trees are gathered in bunches and workers can trim them and pack them up for customers. Inside the tent are fragrant wreaths and small, potted Monterey and Aleppo pines and rosemary trees as well as giant trees — the tallest reaches 20 feet.

Worker Mary Gifford said the tallest trees are usually snatched up by office buildings, some in downtown San Diego.

The Pinery offers delivery — trees were going all the way up to Los Angeles from Del Mar on Friday. Inside the tent, Del Mar resident Tram Luu checked out the taller trees with her husband and two children. This is their fourth year coming to the Pinery for their tree, a family tradition.

“We always come the day after Thanksgiving so we can enjoy the tree as long as possible,” Luu said. “Everyone gets a vote on which tree we want.” On Friday they selected a 7-footer.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Luus get their house ready for the season, putting up their outside lights and decorating the tree. Luu said their 7-foot tree will be decorated with lots of the children’s handmade ornaments, bright lights but no tinsel. For those who aren’t such early birds, the Pinery lot will sell trees through Dec. 24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Delivery and flocking are offered. A $5 coupon is available at The Purdy Christmas Tree lot is also located on the fairgrounds, across the street in the main lot, also through Christmas Eve. More information available at