Family tree: Churchill clan’s Yule lot a tradition for almost 30 years

Chris Churchill lines up new trees at the family’s Christmas tree lot in the Lambton Mall parking lot. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

Special to The Journal

The first Christmas tree isn’t quite right. Nor the second, the third, even the fifth is declined.

Matt Churchill is helping a customer pick out the perfect tree for her family as they navigate the crowded aisles of the Kris Kringle Christmas tree lot at Lambton Mall.

This time, however, it doesn’t pan out.

“Sometimes you can show people every tree on the lot and none of them will be right.” Churchill explains, unfazed.

“And then there are times where the first one you show them is the one.”

And sure enough, shortly after a father and son arrive and pick one of the first trees shown.

Matt Churchill, 31, is part of a family business that’s been selling Christmas trees in Sarnia since 1986.

Founders Judy and John Churchill were already operating a Point Edward lawn care company, but something was missing – something ironically illustrated by its name: 3 Seasons Landscaping and Lawn Care.

“We used to advertise on Channel 13 news,” John Churchill says. Someone at the station suggested they sell trees in the winter and that’s how it began, as a way for the business to generate four-season income.

But you needn’t spend much time with the family to see it’s not really about the money.

“Twenty-three years ago I was dealing with mom and dad and their little kid,” said Chris Churchill, John and Judy’s son. “Now I’m dealing with their little kid as mom and dad, so it’s kind of repeating itself. It feels good.”

The Kris Kringle lot is a tradition for many local families, and tradition is important to the Churchills.

Over the years almost all their children have played a role in the business. And as John and Judy start to slow down, Matt and Chris are beginning to envision where the business will go next.

“You keep up with the times,” Chris Churchill says. “But it’s the core values that they’ve taught us, is what makes this successful.”

Chris Churchill warms up in a trailer between customers on his family's Christmas tree lot. Troy Shantz

Chris Churchill warms up in a trailer between customers on his family’s Christmas tree lot.
Troy Shantz