Christmas Tips & Fun

Learn interesting, unusual, unique and useful facts and tips about Christmas and the winter holiday season, in America and around the world.

Christmas Trees

Surprising Christmas Tree Facts and Figures


eal trees are still the most popular kind of Christmas tree. Even as Boomers grow older and think their days at a tree farm or lot are over, the lure of finding a perfect tree – even if it has to be short enough to fit on a table after they’ve finally moved from their house to a condo – still drives us to spend more than a billion dollars each year on them.

Most people prefer to have their tree pre-cut, even if that means it may have been cut before Thanksgiving. Still, almost 25 percent are out there on the tree farm with chainsaws, claiming their tree "on the hoof" as it were.

Over the past few years close to 30 million real trees are purchased, compared to around 11 million faux trees. The figures for both spiked in 2007, just before the housing bubble burst.

Most Christmas trees are a variety of fir – Douglas, Balsam or Fraser – or spruce because they usually come the closest to the idealized conical shape. They also tend to keep their needles longer and are more pliable (fewer pierced fingers) when decorating. Because they’re sheared to achieve that “tree” shape they tend to be bushier and there’s less room for ornaments – not a good thing as far as we’re concerned.

It takes from 8 to 12 years for the average tree to reach maturity and yes, they start out as seeds from cones. The seeds are harvested and raised in nurseries until they are about 3 when they’re sold to tree farms. There are about 20,000 tree farms in the U.S.

Living trees – the kind that grow in a pot and can be planted in your yard in the spring or rented from a nursery – are becoming more popular as a "green" alternative to having to dispose of a cut tree.

Written by Dianne Weller
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