Visit any mall and you'll see that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
For most area tree growers, the Christmas season begins on Friday. That's when they open their fields to retail customers.
One of the most popular programs among area tree growers is Trees for Troops, which provides trees to military families and military bases.
The program is coordinated by Yenser's Tree Farm of Mahoning Township and has six other tree farms participating.
The other participants are Jay Michalik, Nevin Frey, Hill's Tree Farm, Walker's Tree Farm, Crystal Springs Tree Farm, and Christmas Tree Hill, all in the Lehighton area.
All have programs in which discounts are given for purchasing Trees for Troops, a project sponsored by FedEx, which delivers trees to military members on bases both throughout the United States and internationally.
Trees for Troops is a program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation (CSF). Since the program's inception in 2005, Christmas Tree growers from across the U.S. have generously supported military families by providing 84,000 fresh cut Christmas Trees.
For the past several years FedEx has helped to deliver, on average, 17,000 real Christmas trees each year to more than 60 military bases throughout the U.S. and overseas.
At the participating tree farms, patrons can also make financial donations to the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation.
"We are very excited about this year's Trees For Troops Week – Nov. 27-Dec. 4," Drew Yenser said. "Yenser's Tree Farm will offer a 10 percent discount to any military personnel with a current military ID card. A 20 percent discount will be given to any military family that that has a member serving in Iraq or Afghanistan."
Frey said the various tree farms have different programs for the Trees for Troops week.
He added that many of the farms make additional donations of trees to the program on their own.
Yenser's Tree Farm will host a special program on Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. during which state and local dignitaries, as well as the Lehighton United Veterans Organization Color Guard, will participate. This is part of the Trees for Troops seasonal wrap-up.