Everybody agrees you can’t improve on the beauty of a deep green pine tree for Christmas, right? Well, not the folks who are buying the unusual purple or blue trees offered by Hanggi’s Tree Farm in upstate New York.

What is turning these trees such weird colors? It’s not the excrement of a rare snail, as one person posted in a viral Facebook post. Instead, it’s just paint.

Related: What are sustainable alternatives to a Christmas tree?

David and Celeste Hanggi, who run the farm, were inspired during a convention of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York about four years ago. There they saw a painted tree — green, to color correct a defective tree — and they thought, why not purple? Or blue? Or orange?

Hanggi’s Tree Farm is in Naples, about 40 miles southeast of Rochester. This is upstate New York’s grape and wine country — hence the popularity of purple. They revealed their first purple tree before the Naples Grape Festival. 

“It’s just cool. It’s something different, something neat,” said Celeste Hanggi, as reported by USA Today. “I just thought people would enjoy that. I was right. They sold.” 

The paint is food grade, so it’s nontoxic and won’t hurt dogs or kids who like to chew random things. Nor will it lead to environmental disaster.

In the few years the Hanggis have experimented with painting trees, they’ve found that purple is a reliable crowd pleaser. This year, they’ll paint up to 60 trees in sugar plum purple or midnight blue. They tried orange to please Syracuse customers (in honor of the college football team Syracuse Orange), but the color faded a bit strangely. An added bonus of painted trees: the needles tend to stay on longer.

Traditionalists need not despair. Only about 5% of the trees the Hanggis sell are painted. Most are a classic green. David Hanggi’s son Benjamin is happy to sell trees to customers, whether they prefer green, purple or blue. 

“Everybody likes something different,” he said, as reported by USA Today. “We all have the things we want in our house we want to see at Christmas time.” He just likes to see his customers smile, especially the kids. “I love bringing joy to as many people as I can. This is the best thing in my life that I’ve found that does that.”

Via USA Today

Lead image via Pexels