Nightly News | December 10, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: for some big name American retailers. Hit hard in this tough economy, their online sales have been a major bright spot this holiday season . Now some stores are taking it one step further by turning a traditional family outing to the Christmas tree lot or tree farm into a simple click of the mouse. NBC 's Ron Mott now with a sign of the times .
RON MOTT reporting: Near San Francisco , the Fords pull the plug on their dying Christmas tree after one week and then did something they've never done before. They bought another one, hoping it would be a lot fresher on the Internet .
Ms. KATHERINE FORD (Online Tree Shopper): Rob, the tree's here.
MOTT: Oh, Christmas tree .
Ms. FORD: Oh, my gosh. It smells so good.
MOTT: The real thing in a box.
Ms. FORD: When it comes to Christmas , I am a very traditional person and I enjoy all of those things, so this was a difficult choice for me.
MOTT: This year, major retailers like Sears , Home Depot and Target are selling freshly cut trees on their websites, turning the Christmas tree into another easy online purchase. Rest easy, traditionalists. The National Christmas Tree Association says the vast majority of the 27 million trees expected to sell this season will get home the old-fashioned way, on the roof of the car. And for many families, the holidays just aren't complete unless they've cut it down themselves. A ritual some find hard to shake.
MOTT: As portrayed in the classic film " A Christmas Story "...
MOTT: ...and " National Lampoon 's_Christmas_Vacation." So with saws in hand, family after family trekked out north of Boston in search of the right one. Eight-year-old Shawn Buckner and his parents Janie and John are convinced they found theirs.
Ms. JANIE BUCKNER: That's a pretty tree, huh.
Mr. JOHN BUCKNER: I like that one.
MOTT: They wouldn't trade the outing for the convenience of buying on the Web .
Ms. BUCKNER: Timber!
Mr. BUCKNER: Who could say what that magic element is? I wanted my son to grab the other end of the saw when we were cutting this tree, so it's -- you can't do that online.
Mr. HENRY BERTOLON (Tree Farm Owner): The online experience is never going to hold a candle to the real-live activity of coming out and cutting your own tree.
Unidentified Girl: This one can go here.
MOTT: Whether found online or spotted down a line of green, these holiday tree huggers can agree on one thing, at least it's not fake. Ron Mott, NBC News, Beverly, Massachusetts.