Christmas and Christmas Tree Facts

Obscure Christmas tree facts to amaze your friends!

Christmas Tree History

  • The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.
  • The first decorated Christmas was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.
  • The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
  • Nineteenth century Americans cut their trees in nearby forests.
  • Christmas trees have been sold commercially in the United states since about 1850. Until fairly recently, all Christmas trees came from the forest.
  • The first Christmas tree retail lot in the United States was started in 1851 in New York by Mark Carr.
  • In 1900, large stores started to erect big illuminated Christmas trees.

Christmas trees and the environment

  • Growing Christmas trees provides a habitat for wildlife.
  • Recycled trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelter.
  • Christmas trees remove dust and pollen from the air.
  • Artificial trees will last for six years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill.
  • 59 percent of real Christmas trees harvested are recycled in community programs.
  • An acre of Christmas trees provides for the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.

Artificial / Fake Trees

  • In 2002, 21% of United States households had a real tree, 48% had an artificial tree and 32% had no tree.
  • Most fake (artificial) trees (85%) in the U.S. are imported from China. Almost 10 Million fake trees were sold worldwide in 2003. The U.S. Commerce Dept. tracks the Import of Fake Trees
  • Real Christmas trees are involved in less than one-tenth of one percent of residential fires and only when ignited by some external ignition sources.

Christmas Tree Numbers

  • Thirty-four to thirty-six million Christmas trees are produced each year and 95 percent are shipped or sold directly from Christmas tree farms.
  • 28 million Christmas trees were sold in 2001.
  • More than one million acres of land have been planted in Christmas trees. The industry employs over 100,000 people. Many Christmas tree growers grow trees on a part-time basis to supplement farm and non-farm income.
  • More than 2,000 trees are usually planted per acre. On an average 1,000-1,500 of these trees will survive. In the North, maybe, 750 trees will remain. Almost all trees require shearing to attain the Christmas tree shape. At six to seven feet, trees are ready for harvest. It fighting heavy rain, wind, hail, pests and drought to get a mature tree.
  • Christmas trees take an average of 7-10 years to mature.
  • 100,000 people are employed in the Christmas tree industry.
  • 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms.

Origin: from where do they come?

  • California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are the top Christmas tree producing states.
  • Oregon is the leading producer of Christmas trees - 8.6 million in 1998 and in 2001, 8.3 million trees were harvested in Oregon. 
  • The top six Christmas tree producing states Oregon, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Washington & Wisconsin.

Christmas Tree Varieties / Types

  • The best selling trees are Scotch pine, Douglas fir, Noble fir, Fraser fir, Virginia pine, Balsam fir and white pine.
  • Other types of trees such as cherry and hawthorns were used as Christmas trees in the past.

Christmas Tree Farms and Farming

  • Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states including Hawaii and Alaska.
  • Selling directly to the consumer has become a major market for many Christmas tree farms. Some tree farms offer the consumer the chance to select his own tree while it is still growing in the tree farm.
  • 82% of Christmas trees purchased were pre-cut and 18% were cut your own.
  • In North America, there are more than 15,000 Christmas tree growers.
  • In the United States, there are more than 12,000 cut-your-own farms.
  • More than 1,000,000 acres of land have been planted to Christmas trees.
  • On average, over 2,000 Christmas trees are planted per acre.
  • 73 million new Christmas trees will be planted this year.
  • There are over 500 Christmas tree growers in Illinois.
  • Michigan ranks fourth (4 million trees in 1998) among all states in the production of real Christmas trees, but grows a larger variety (13) of Christmas trees than any other state.
  • 2-3 seedlings are planted for every harvested Christmas tree.
  • Helicopters sometimes help to lift harvested Christmas trees from farms.

Public Christmas trees

  • Since 1971, the Province of Nova Scotia has presented the Boston Christmas Tree tree to the people of Boston in gratitude for the relief supplies received from the citizens of Boston after a ship exploded in 1917 following a collision in the Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbor. Part of the city was leveled killing and injuring thousands.

The US National Christmas Tree and Christmas Trees in the White House

  • In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House.
  • President Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923.
  • Teddy Roosevelt banned the Christmas tree from the White House for environmental reasons.
  • In 1963, the National Christmas Tree was not lighted until December 22nd because of a national 30-day period of mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy.
  • Since 1966, the National Christmas Tree Association has given a Christmas tree to the President and first family.
  • In 1979, the National Christmas Tree was not lighted except for the top ornament? This was done in honor of the American hostages in Iran.
  • In 1984, the National Christmas was lit on December 13th with temperatures in the 70's, making it one of the warmest tree lightings in history.

Odd Christmas Tree Facts

  • Between 1887-1933 a fishing schooner called the "Christmas Ship" would tie up at the Clark Street bridge and sell spruce trees from Michigan to Chicagoans. 

Christmas Trees on the Internet

  • More than 330,000 real Christmas trees are sold via e-commerce or catalogs.

Christmas tree safety

  • You should never burn your Christmas tree in the fireplace. it can contribute to creosote buildup.
  • In the first week, a tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.

Christmas tree lights and ornaments

  • Using small candles to light a Christmas tree dates back to the middle of the 17th century.
  • Thomas Edisonís assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882.
  • Christmas tree lights were first mass produced in 1890.
  • A Christmas tree decoration was banned by the government. Tinsel contained lead at one time, now itís made of plastic.

Christmas tree economics and marketing

  • In 2002, 21% of Christmas trees sold were from chain stores; 16% by non-profit groups; 22% from retail lots and 35% from choose and cut farms.
  • The value of all Christmas trees harvested in 2001 was $360 million.
  • Christmas trees are baled to protect the branches from damage during shipping.
  • 34-36 million Christmas trees were harvested in the United States in 2001.
  • Every year since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster, England. The gift is an expression of good will and gratitude for Britain's help to Norway during World War II.




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