Christmas shopping and decorating gets off to early start

The pandemic is changing how people are celebrating the holidays.

Thanksgiving isn't even here yet. But even, so Christmas tree lots are busy.

There is a shift in mood and how people shop.They're finding ways to cope with a holiday season during a pandemic. 

At Village Market in Oakland, people shopped in preparation for their Thanksgiving meal.

"I came here for buttermilk. I've been all over the city looking for it. I shouldn't have waited so long to get it," said Corey Alvin of Oakland. He came to the grocery store to get buttermilk for cornbread, part of his celebration with family.

Others say their observance of Thanksgiving will veer from tradition due to the pandemic.

"I usually volunteer. Usually go over to my father-in-law's house. They have Thanksgiving also, so it's a lot different," said Doreen Judson. This year, she plans on staying home. 

Butcher Travis Sparaco says this year, large turkeys are not selling well at Village Market.Smaller turkeys are in demand, which he says means more people are hosting smaller gatherings. 

"We have two to three times more orders this year than last year. We are two to three times busier with the same amount of people," says Sparaco.

In San Francisco at Clancy's Christmas Trees on 7th Avenue and Lawton, owner Steve Clancy says this is the first time in the family business's 37 years that he started selling trees this early. 

"I've been getting phone calls right after we finished with pumpkins for Halloween. Phone calls saying, when are you bringing Christmas trees? I said soon, soon, soon." said Clancy. 

He started selling Christmas trees Sunday instead of Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

Normally, he says the busiest days would be Black Friday and the weekend that follows.This year, he says business has been brisk already.

"There's no reservations as of now. If we start getting more busy, we might come to that. We might stop people at the gate if it gets too busy," said Clancy. 

"We wanted to get it before Thanksgiving, an early start to the holidays," said Lauren Neel who bought three trees with her housemates. They wanted the holiday cheer. Normally, she'd wait till Friday or the weekend, but not this year. 

"It smells amazing. I can't wait for it to be in my house. I love that smell in my house," said Neel.

She says preparing for the holidays is a good way to cope with a stressful year that has brought unexpected changes. 

Clancy's Christmas Trees is scheduled to be open seven days a week, including Thanksgiving from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will be open early at 8am on Black Friday and this weekend.