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.
- Christmas trees have been sold commercially in the United states since about 1850.
- 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
- Recycled trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelter.
- 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.
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.
- More than one million acres of land have been planted in Christmas trees.
- The industry employs over 100,000 people.
- 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.
- Christmas trees take an average of 7-10 years to mature.
- 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.
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.
- There are over 500 Christmas tree growers in Illinois.
- 2-3 seedlings are planted for every harvested Christmas tree.
- Helicopters sometimes help to lift harvested Christmas trees from farms.
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.
Christmas tree lights and ornaments
- Using small candles to light a Christmas tree dates back to the middle of the 17th century.
- Thomas Edison’s 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. Tinsel contained lead at one time, now it’s made of plastic.