Detroit Lakes area folks who make it an annual tradition to handpick their freshly cut Christmas trees from Young Life should look downtown this year. The Christian-based youth group known for its popular Christmas tree sales has moved its operation from the old Lindberg Truckstop location by Kmart to a vacant lot next to Weum Chiropractic right on Washington Avenue in Detroit Lakes. The move is due to construction at the old site.

“I love this new site so much more,” said Peter Paulson, director of Lakes Area Young Life. “It’s just ideal, right down where everybody can see us.”

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That vacant lot is already filling up, as the trees are rolling into town. Sales are set to begin just in time for Black Friday going from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Volunteers will man the sale every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from this weekend until the weekend prior to Christmas (or until they sell out). Aside from Black Friday, all other Fridays, the sale will go from 4 to 7 p.m.

A tiny forest of nearly 300 Christmas trees are expected to go again this year, as Paulson says people not only like the idea of having a real, unique Christmas tree that smells like Christmas, but also the idea of having the proceeds go towards a true Christmas idea.

“The money isn’t going to make anybody rich or go to some big company, it’s going towards a program that helps our local kids get to know Jesus - and that’s what Christmas is really about,” said Paulson, who says the non-profit organization for middle school and high school students doesn’t charge students and their families to participate in the Young Life/Wyld Life functions.

“And so everything we make helps provide all that, and then it also helps provide some scholarships to Young Life camps for those students whose families maybe can’t afford all of it,” said Paulson.

Daggett Trucking volunteered to fetch the trees from their original location - Wolcyn Tree Farm in Cambridge, Minn.

Three types of Christmas trees will fill the lot, including white pines, balsam firs and what Paulson refers to “the cadillac” of trees - the Fraiser Fir.

“And we know there are other places you can go to get Christmas trees, but we really pride ourselves on getting really good quality trees,” said Paulson, who says some of the less expensive, big box trees are often cut far in advance and sprayed to give the trees a healthy appearance.

“But then when you get them home, the needles start falling off right away,” he said. “These are freshly cut, and they lose very few needles.”

Paulson jokes that he knows some people are more partial to the “evil, plastic trees,” but says even they can take home a little authentic Christmas pine.

“We’ll have some absolutely beautiful wreaths here too, which are made locally by Beautiful Leaf Gardens, so for people who want to have a little more Christmas cheer with that real, pine smell or just want support Young Life, that’s a good option for them,” said Paulson.

Paulson says he loves how the sale, which has been a tradition in Detroit Lakes for more than 30 years, has also become many people’s family traditions.

Even helping to run the sale is a community-led effort. “We’ll have families or small church groups say, ‘Yeah, we’ll sell trees for the day,’ so it’s pretty heartwarming to see them respond to that call of action,” said Paulson, who says Outlet Recreation donates an RV for those volunteers to stay warm. “We get a lot of great help from people in the community and area businesses. I think it enhances everybody’s holidays and really gets people in the Christmas spirit. It’s just kind of a warm, fuzzy thing.”

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