The perfect tree

John Giossi

Photo By Adrienne Rice

When you want a good Christmas tree, you’ve got to go to the expert. John Giossi, 57, has been selling Christmas trees for 25 years as part of his family-owned business, G&G Nursery and Landscaping in Sparks. While Giossi’s two sons run the main tree lot at the nursery, their dad mans the satellite lot on South Virginia Street. Giossi is more than happy to break down the differences in tree types and quality, from the sought-after noble fir to the very sad-looking “Charlie Brown tree.” But as Giossi says, “Every tree needs a home.” For more information, call 358-1700.

How much do Christmas trees cost?

Oh, anywhere from $11 for the small ones up to as much as you want to spend. We have 20-foot trees over at the other lot, but we’re pretty much sold out already on the big stuff. The big trees always sell early.

Are these for companies?

[Yes], but there are lot of high-beamed ceilings in the Reno area, and they buy a lot of the big trees. You’d be amazed at what some people spend for trees.

What is it about the Douglas fir that people like so much?

The Douglas fir has been a popular tree for a long time. They’re fast-growing, so they’re inexpensive, but … they dry out a lot faster than the other trees. Basically, what you’re doing when you take a Christmas tree home, you’re just putting it into an environment where you’re going to make Christmas tree jerky. … People say, “Well, my tree died.” Well, the tree’s dead. I mean, it’s already been cut. [Laughs.]

So it’s all about preserving the corpse?

It’s just how fast you want to dehydrate the tree. … One of the main things you need to look at is you need to lift that tree. You know why? Moisture content. If there’s moisture in the tree, it’s going to be heavy. If there’s not, go to the next one.

What kind of tree do you have at home?

I have a noble fir every year. We do about an eight-footer. My wife does [the decorations]. She’s pretty creative. She does all one color of ornament ball type things, and then she’ll do big bows on it and that type of stuff.

Do you like the branches spread out or really dense?

Personally, being a native Renoite here, I grew up with the trees … that are really spread out, and that’s kind of the traditional tree to me. But I’ve gotten so that I like the fuller ones, too, so it doesn’t matter. Whatever she wants. She just tells me what she wants …

And you bring it home.

That’s right! About six or seven years ago, she picked a tree out after looking at a couple hundred of them, and it was a perfect tree. At that time, it was like a $35 retail. My son was carrying it to the back, and somebody spotted it and said, “Oh, I want that one.” So basically they had a bidding war for it, and my son sold it for about $75.

He sold his mom’s tree?!

Three years in a row. So she doesn’t pick them out anymore. She says, “I want one about this big,” and she says, “You know what I like. You just bring one home.”

One last question: Do you know all the words to “O Christmas Tree"?

[Laughs.] No, I don’t.