'A beautiful burden': Family takes over south Phoenix Christmas tree business after father dies of COVID-19

A popular Christmas tree lot in south Phoenix is open for business, but this year, it's without the man who started it all.

Jimmie Munoz Sr. died this year after catching COVID-19. He founded the Christmas Tree Farm, which lies right in the front yard of the Munoz home on Central Avenue.

Munoz started the Christmas tree lot in the 1980s after he and his family had to travel to Tempe to find a tree.

The trip was a little too far, so he decided to start his own tree lot for the people in south Phoenix. It's grown ever since and is still going strong after 35 years.

"So my dad was concerned that people in south Phoenix, primarily African-American and Hispanic, didn’t have a place to go around here to find a Christmas tree," his son explained.

This summer, Munoz died from kidney failure after catching COVID-19, so it's now up to the rest of his family to keep his legacy alive - something they do proudly.

Before his death, he made sure this year's crop would be here from his hospital bed, making calls to ensure timely delivery.

Jimmie's children stepped in to keep the tradition alive.

"He loved every minute of it," said his son, Jimmie Munoz Jr. "Set the bar, have a beer and talk to people. So that’s what I really miss the most is having him here…he keeps everyone together. Now it’s up to us, but it’s a beautiful burden to carry."

Christmas Tree Farm is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. There will be a visit from Santa Claus on Dec. 9.

Going to the lot has become tradition for many south Phoenix families.

"Coming out here with as much supportive folks who gave the most of the community and of course the Christmas trees are the best you’re going to find anywhere," said John Laredo, a customer.

Visit the Christmas Tree Lot: https://www.munozchristmastreelot.com/

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