Christmas tree vendors pushing on despite competition

Epping Farm Christmas tree

For Christmas tree vendors along Constant Spring Road in Half Way Tree, St Andrew, Christmas is undoubtedly their favourite time of the year. Other than the obvious earnings from their once a year product, it is also a time when they get to spread a little joy.

“Mi really enjoy it, yuh get the exposure to a lot of people, the beauty of the smell of the tree, everyone telling you they like it. Mi love it,” Jason Monteith, a Christmas tree vendor told BUZZ. 

Monteith grooming Christmas tree
Christmas trees require a lot of care for them to grow says Monteith. (Photo: Chris Lewinson/BUZZ)

Monteith has been planting and selling Christmas trees for more than 12 years. He plants his Christmas trees in between rows of coffee on his farm in Epping Farm, St Thomas. He explained it takes patience to be in this business.

“One Christmas tree can take up to four years to fully mature. And yuh trees have to mature before you can sell them, else the limbs cannot hold the ornaments that you gonna put on them,” he said.   

Grooming Christmas tree
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for Christmas tree vendors (Photo: Chris Lewinson/BUZZ)

Over the years, Monteith says he’s seen his business dwindle because of the competition from imported and plastic trees. “We have a lot of competition because more people supporting the overseas tree, even though it more expensive than our tree,” he said. Adding that Christmas trees cost J$1500 per foot.

‘Mi really enjoy it, yuh get the exposure to a lot of people, the beauty of the smell of the tree, everyone telling you they like it. Mi love it’.

— Monteith

As for plastic trees, Monteith said he understands that people may be allergic to the strong pine scent of the Christmas tree, but still want a tree in the spirit of Christmas. 

Customers first

Nebo, another Christmas tree vendor, says his earliest memories of Christmas started with planting Christmas trees. “This business in my family for about 45 years now, it’s a tradition,” he said. 

Nebo grooming Christmas tree
Planting and selling Christmas trees is a family tradition for Nebo. (Photo: Chris Lewinson/BUZZ)

He started selling trees 15 years ago and told BUZZ that the thing he enjoys most about it, is satisfying his customers. “Dem love it when them fluffy and nice, and don’t have any hole. Sometimes I trim on-site, depending on the taste of the customer. Some want it Rastafarian, some want it spruce up. Mi like Christmas, not just because mi a work a little extra money, but because a mi customers,” he said. 

Despite the competition from imported and plastic trees, Nebo said he’s not going anywhere. “We still out here, because it’s all about survival. Our customers come first, they always give us that great support so we always have to be there for them,” he said.

Customers buying Christmas trees in Jamaica
Customers come first. (Photo: Chris Lewinson/BUZZ)