By Raiza Giorgi

Even with a heat wave on the day after Thanksgiving, people were finding their way to the Agin Christmas tree lot. In shorts and flip flops, Lexi Berry and her family were excited to pick out their tree and start decorating for the holidays.

“This is our fourth year getting our tree from the Agins, and we just love how hospitable they are,” she said as one of the Agins loaded their tree onto their car.

The Agin family have been in the Christmas tree business since 1969, when Dick and Bill were still in high school. They were in need of a job; a friend asked, why not try selling Christmas trees?

“We sold 500 trees that first year and I can’t even count how many we sell now,” Bill Agin said with a smile.

The Agins have had a Christmas tree lot in the Santa Ynez Valley since 1979 and are seeing third generations of families come through.

“It’s awesome because we get to have Christmas for five weeks, and even after people get their trees from us they come back several times to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and share stories,” Agin said.

Elena Mirelez and her mother Leona bring the Agins a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies each year, and they said it’s a Christmas tradition to come see the Agins.

“We are right on Grand Avenue in Los Olivos, so we like to display our tree in the yard so everyone passing through can see it all lit up,” Mirelez said.

On Black Friday, Agin’s son Wade was busy teaching first-timers about the importance of placement of their tree to avoid fire hazards.

“Make sure your tree isn’t sitting near the heater vents, as that dries is out so quickly. Also the first day keep checking your tree for water because it can drink up to two buckets after being cut. Once the bucket is dry, the sap cuts off flow and the tree won’t be able to drink and it becomes a fire danger,” Wade Agin said.

The family sells many varieties of trees, including noble, grand, Douglas, Nordmann and Fraser firs.

The Agins have two tree sales lots in the valley, one at Edison and Highway 246 in Santa Ynez and the other at Industrial Way and Highway 246 in Buellton. They are open daily from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. and will be open until they sell their last trees.