How to time your purchase of a Christmas tree

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Beat the rush, killed a tree.
Beat the rush, killed a tree.
Image: Razan Ghalayini

Buying a Christmas tree does not have to be a stressful rush through a lot  hunting for the perfect pine all the while nervous that some other family is going to stake claim to the tree you wanted just before you can.

There are days that have fewer people and more selection. Let Quartz help you.

Avoiding crowds when looking for a Christmas tree is as simple as avoiding weekends and shopping early, according to data analyzed by Square.

The busiest weekend was three weeks before the holiday where sales volume on Saturday was 3.8 times the average level for the 27 days between US Thanksgiving and Christmas. But just five days before, sales volume was less than half the average—the fourth-to-last Monday before Christmas

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For this reason, Square recommends shopping for trees the week after US Thanksgiving, when tree lots still have good inventory and traffic is low. It warns of waiting too late. Some of the businesses using their system start closing up shop after the second-to-last weekend before Christmas.

Square is a venture-backed retail services company and payments processor. It analyzed millions of dollars of transactions collected by hundreds of merchants from last year’s holiday season. It says that these shopping trends are “incredibly consistent” year to year.

As is the case with most retail sales, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays were the busiest days at the holiday markets and Christmas tree farms that used Squares services in 2013.

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Most of these merchants Square analyzed operated seven days a week.