A pop-up tree stand: Make your Christmas green

Mr. Jingles Christmas Trees employee Mike Thomas removes the twine from a tree that was just sold. (photo by David Barak)

A pop-up tree stand: Make your Christmas green

By David Barak

The modern concept of temporary pop-up stores has been around for a couple of decades, but one of the earliest incarnations goes back to the middle of the 19th Century when a farmer from the Catskill Mountains brought pine trees to New York City to sell as Christmas trees. That industry has grown and continues to thrive today.

At Mr. Jingles Christmas Trees in Clairemont, one of the company’s four lots in San Diego, workers expect to sell 800 trees this season, along with wreaths, tree bases and water pots, decorative wooden figures and other decorations and accessories.

The company’s trees destined for San Diego homes come from a farm in Oregon, but Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states. It takes from eight to 12 years to grow from seed to a seven-foot harvest-ready tree, depending on the farm’s climate, soil conditions and growing practices.

To keep your tree looking fresh through Christmas, cut a half-inch section off the bottom of the trunk to expose fresh wood if the tree lot doesn’t do that for you.

Avoid whittling down the bottom to fit into a stand that’s too small. Place the tree in water as soon as possible, ideally one quart of water per inch of the trunk’s diameter. The temperature of the water doesn’t matter. Check the water level at least once a day and refill it as necessary, and keep the tree away from sources of heat like fireplaces and heaters.

Old trees can be used as mulch or to prevent soil erosion on hillsides and river banks, and if they haven’t been sprayed with pesticide or fire retardants they can even be used as cattle fodder. You can even use your tree as a bird feeder. Just remove all of the ornaments, move the tree outside and hang fruit and popcorn from the branches. If the tree remains outside for several months it will dry out enough for you to break it apart by hand. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.

Mr. Jingles Christmas Trees operates four locations in San Diego: 3901 Clairemont Drive; 3190 Mission Blvd.; 801 Pearl St.; and 2128 Third Ave.

All locations are open Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Fridays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit mrjingleschristmastrees.com.

A steel shipping container is used as the Mr. Jingles Christmas Trees office and features small decorative items and accessories for sale. (photo by David Barak)
Chris Mendez (left), Christian Mendez, age 5 (red hat), Julian Mendez, age 2, and Erika Cibrian shop for a Christmas tree. (photo by David Barak)