Have a Green Christmas!

December 17th, 2014 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Have a Green Christmas!

Having grown up in a Jewish family, it’s fair to say that I’m really not much of an expert on Christmas. But since the holiday does involve a bit of agricultural input, I was interested to know if there were actually any farms that raise organic Christmas trees. My research led me to a couple of websites (see links below) providing some pretty solid tips for those interested in an environmentally friendly Christmas. And as for the trees… yep, there are definitely organic options. Following are a few fun facts about Christmas trees (real ones) in general:

Growing Christmas trees:

• Christmas trees have been sold commercially in the United States since about 1850.
• 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms.
• 73 million new Christmas trees will be planted this year.
• 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 takes six to ten years of fighting heavy rain, wind, hail and drought to get a mature tree.

The environmental impact:

• In the United States, there are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs.
• Christmas tree farms provide a habitat for wildlife.
• Christmas trees remove dust and pollen from the air.
• Recycled trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and have been placed in ponds for fish shelter.
• A tree consumes as much as a quart of water per day in it first week inside a home.
• Tinsel contained lead at one time and was banned by the government. It is now made of plastic.
• 93% of real Christmas tree consumers recycle their tree in community recycling programs, their garden or backyard.
• An acre of Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people.
• Burning a Christmas tree in the fireplace can contribute to creosote buildup.
• Artificial trees will last for six years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill.

Buying Christmas trees:

• In 2002, 21% of United States households had a real tree, 48% had an artificial tree and 32% had no tree.
• In 2007, 23% of real Christmas trees sold were from chain stores, 9% by non-profit groups. 12% from retail lots and 21% from choose and cut farms.
• An estimated 175,000 Real Christmas Trees are sold via e-commerce or catalogue and shipped mail-order.
• In 2007 the retail market value of the 31.3 million trees purchased at the mean average purchase price of $41.50 was $1.3 billion.
• 30-35 million Real Christmas Trees are sold in the U.S. every year.
• 100,000 people are employed in the Christmas tree industry.

And… other fun facts:

• 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.
• Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882.
• Teddy Roosevelt banned the Christmas tree from the White House for environmental reasons.

Christmas Tree links for making an eco-friendly choice this winter:
Buy a Real Tree Just Like Charlie Brown