Did the Drought Dry Out Christmas?

Nicole Ebat

BLAIR, NEB.(KPTM)-- It's a tradition a lot of families embark on this time of year, hunting for the perfect Christmas tree.

For Rob and Carlie Wiley, this year is extra special. They're celebrating their first Christmas with their little girl Reagan.

So the tree needs to be extra special too.

But they weren't quite sure what this year's tree hunt would bring.

"We heard there was a drought and that there weren't going to be as many trees available so we came a lot earlier than we usually do," said Rob.

Reagan sat comfortable on her dad's shoulders as the family roamed the pre-cut trees at Santa's Woods in Blair, Neb.

There were plenty of trees for them to pick through, but that's because it can take 10 years for a fledgling tree to grow into one you take home to decorate.

"The trees in the field that were mature have done okay," said Scott Lund, farm manager at Santa's Woods. "But the ones that we planted we lost, so next year I have to plant twice as many to try to keep up with what I have to sell 10 years from now."

Lund said the farm planted 6,800 trees this year and lost 7,000 during the drought.

He says he'll plant more than normal over the next few years to make up for this year's loss.

Because of that he says prices should stay down.

As far as this year goes, he says there should be a "perfect" tree for everyone."Some people like short, fat trees, some people like tall, skinny trees. It just depends on your personal preference," he said.

After about 15 minutes, little Reagan Wiley made her first perfect tree pick. Her mom and dad say they're just glad the weather didn't dry up their families first Christmas.