This blog is about real Christmas Trees. I know that artificial trees are becoming more and more popular, and this might shed some light on why!
Again, like all my other blog posts, when you read this I want you to think of your childhood and the way you located your Christmas Tree. Did you go out and cut your tree or go to a Christmas tree lot?
A Shortage of Live Trees
Today live Christmas Trees are getting scarce! A headline in the Wall Street Journal (December 2, 2017) “No Tannenbaum! Trees Run Short,” written by Valerie Bauerlein. Many buyers pine for a classic Douglas fir, but weather and agriculture conspire to disappoint. One woman found out that her months-old order was cancelled. Another family soon found out that their favorite choose-and-cut lot in North Carolina was sold out at the end of November!
One family in Kirkland, Washington decided to buy a $10 permit at an outdoor store and cut down their own tree in a federal forest, after getting sticker shock over how high the prices were this year. The Kirkland Washington’s family have five children, so the holidays are expensive already and they are hesitant to spend more than $60 on a tree. That is how they came up with the idea of going to the forest to find one. They thought it would be super fun! Just slap a tree on a sled and drag it back. The mother “… is trying to adjust expectations for her children aged 4 – 18, who were used to picking a Christmas-card worthy tree at a lot with hot cocoa and tractor rides.” In going to the forest to find and cut down their own tree, their expectations were lowered. They quickly realized they would probably get a “Charlie Brown” kind of tree: a lot thinner and spread out.
Most growers blame the recession for the scarcity of trees. It takes seven to ten years to grow a tree. Many farmers planted fewer seedlings or went out of business altogether. During this time, the total acreage growing Christmas trees declined 30% from 2001 – 2012. As a result, the average cost of a Christmas tree in 2016 was $74.70 — more than double the average cost in 2011.
In the November/December issue of “Yankee Magazine” is a story about a Vermont Christmas Tree farm, “A Moveable Forest” written by Julia Shipley and Joe Keohane that supplies trees to a Christmas tree lot in Brooklyn, New York.
“A Christmas tree is money,” said Lorrainey Marchessault, “but it is also something religious.” The customers of the Cortelyou Road Christmas tree lot, in Brooklyn are told that they’ll have access to only one-third of the lot this year. There just aren’t that many trees available.
Melody Houle from Vermont, the supplier of trees to this Brooklyn tree lot since 2012 says, about the location “It’s just right. It’s off the street, and the stone on the buildings keep the trees cold. Keeps them hibernating.”
The Brooklyn location, near Ditmas Park, has a robust Jewish population. Many couples that come to the lot are mixed Jewish and Christian. One couple, the husband, who is Jewish is pretty new to the whole Christmas thing, says, “I‘m Jewish, raised Orthodox. So, we’re doing Christmas stuff. Getting a tree, watching Christmas movies, getting tickets to Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall. It’s pretty immersive. But the tree is the center of it all.”
Write About Your Family’s Memories of Christmas Trees
Do you buy your tree at a tree lot or go off into the forest and cut your own? Write about your memories of your Christmas Tree. Where did you buy it? Was that event a big family tradition? Was it something you all look forward to? I remember one year, with my children, we went to a Fred Meyer to pick out our tree with my son who was probably 9 or 10. He had his hands in his pockets and tripped on something. He fell straight down on his face in the lot and broke his tooth! He had to get it capped, what a night! The moral to the story, Don’t walk around the Christmas Tree lot with your hands in your pockets!