The holidays are traditionally a popular time to promote Texas citrus, and this year will be no exception, according to growers and shippers from the region.

“Certainly, Christmastime is important,” said Ray Prewitt, president of Texas Citrus Mutual, Mission, Texas.

Others agree.

“Without a doubt, December is our biggest month of the year. It usually goes hand in hand with the holidays, beginning just after Thanksgiving and carries through the 4th or 5th of January,” said Trent Bishop, vice president of sales of Lone Star Citrus Growers, Mission, Texas.

“Citrus is still an important holiday tradition in many parts of North America. We offer our own holiday box and work with others who pack high end gift boxes,” Scott Owens, vice president of sales and marketing, Paramount Citrus, Delano, Calif., said in an e-mail.

Of course, one of the most popular ways citrus is promoted for the holidays is in the form of holiday gift baskets, often from companies with those gift items as their only focus.

That doesn’t mean retail-focused companies don’t feel a benefit from the holiday gift basket trend.

“To play along with our promotional focus, we certainly encourage consumers to purchase grapefruit at the retail level and create their own gift baskets for the holidays,” Ensign said in an e-mail.

Other companies notice the uptake in sales in December as well, including the Edinburg Citrus Association, Edinburg, Texas.

“The holidays are a great time to promote the idea of giving fresh produce as a gift, and EDA offers the industry’s high graphic Texas Red grapefruit gift box for just such an occasion,” marketing director Paula Fouchek said in an e-mail.

Fouchek says the graphics for this box are eye-catching enough to encourage impulse buys, and it adds a festive addition to grapefruit displays during the holiday season.

Fouchek also recommend retailers take advantage of the idea that consumers often purchase fruit to make their own gift baskets.

“Retailers might want to cross-merchandise our Texas Red grapefruit and oranges with an assortment of baskets or containers and other gift items for more rings at the register,” she said in an e-mail.

Fouchek also suggests pairing champagne or sparkling wines with oranges as part of a gift basket promotion, or even as a reference to mimosas as a popular party and holiday drink.