Real Christmas Trees: Some Family Traditions Just Don't Fade Away 

   Celebrating the Holiday Season with a Real Christmas Tree is a long-standing tradition.  Each  year, 25 to 30 million American families celebrate the holiday season with a fresh, farm-grown  Christmas Tree.   Christmas Tree enthusiasts believe the aroma of a Real Christmas Tree is a strong reminder and symbol of life, family traditions and the innocence of childhood itself. Much like other crops provide food for the body, the aroma of a farm-grown Christmas Tree provides food for the soul. 

Understanding the Legends and History  

  The use of evergreens as a symbol and celebration of life during Winter Solstice celebrations  started in ancient Roman and Egyptian times.  This practice evolved over the centuries to be  incorporated in the celebration of Christmas in the Germanic areas of Europe. The first recorded display of a decorated Christmas Tree was in 1510, in Riga, Latvia. Christmas Trees were decorated with fruit, cookies and candy that would later be shared among family members as gifts after the Holiday Season was over. By the 1700's, the tradition of celebrating the holidays with a Christmas Tree was widely used  throughout Europe.  Decorations included lace, ribbon, tin, food items and lit candles.  Hessian  mercenaries brought the tradition to the United States during the Revolutionary War. In 1804, U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Dearborn, in Chicago, used evergreen trees in their barracks for Christmas. The popularity of the Christmas Tree then proliferated.  In 1856, Franklin Pierce, our 14th President, brought the Christmas Tree tradition to the White House. Since 1966, members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented a beautiful, fresh Real Christmas Tree to the President and First Family.  This tree is displayed each year in the Blue Room of the White doubt filling the room with the aroma of life, family traditions and childhood innocence shared by so many others during the holidays. 

Modern Traditions  

  Now in the 21st Century, the tradition of families choosing their centerpiece of holiday  celebrations has become generational, inheritable and transferable.  Many tree farmers and retailers  across America witness this phenomena first-hand each year. "When a young couple marries and buys a Real Christmas Tree for their first holiday together in  their own home, it makes for an interesting discussion," says Diana Carpenter, member of NCTA and  owner of Peacock Road Tree Farm in Laingsburg, MI.  "They can spend all day discussing how ‘my  family always chose a tree’, and ‘what my family always did on this day’ and so many other traditions that they must blend together into new ones." Lately, many in the Real Christmas Tree business report that people are showing a tendency  toward more family involvement and tradition and many customers are returning to a real tree. 

Debunking Myths 

   Along with legends and traditions, many myths about the Real Christmas Tree have become as  attached as the stars on the top.  

1. One such myth is that all Real Christmas Trees come from pristine  forests and therefore it is shameful to use a Real Tree instead of an artificial one.  Of course, this is  only myth... 98% of all Real Christmas Trees used each year are grown on farms as sustainable crops,  just like corn or pumpkins. 

2. Another myth is that Real Christmas Trees are a fire hazard.  How many times have we all seen  the burning tree on the local action news?  In fact, according to the National Fire Protection  Association, fewer than one-one thousandth of a percent (0.001%) of all Real Christmas Trees used  each year are involved in a fire.  That’s not a fire hazard!  With proper care, Real Christmas Trees can  maintain their freshness and moisture content throughout the holiday season.  It is worth noting that plastic trees represent a different fire hazard.  While the possibility of any Christmas tree catching fire is remote plastic trees when burning give off toxic fumes which natural trees do not.

3. Many people also complain that a Real Tree bothers their allergies.  While it’s quite possible  that a person may be allergic to tree pollen or even tree sap, it’s not as widespread as many believe.    Judy Tidwell, on reports that during the holidays, there "are many allergens that can cause  reactions, although the Christmas Tree often takes the blame.  The main culprits include mold, dust  and food." A Real Tree itself is unlikely to produce pollen during December, but being outdoors for  years in the field, it can collect pollens, dust, mold or other allergens.  Of course, so can the artificial  tree stored in the attic or basement.