It’s that time of year again— you gather up your kiddos, bundle up and hike through the woods on the search for the perfect Christmas tree. Every time I think about doing this, the scene from the movie Christmas Vacation plays over and over again in my head, but have you ever thought about the process your tree went through before making it to your living room?
Christmas time was always a magical time for me and now that I have a family of my own, I realize the magic was because of the effort my family put into it. I still remember waking up and checking to see if the reindeer ate the hay, we laid out for them. Now knowing the truth, I know what a pain it was for my dad to go out in the freezing cold in the middle of the night and gather it all up because he knew we would check. We had real Christmas trees for most of my childhood and I still remember they helped bring the Christmas magic to life as the smell filled the house.
Christmas trees take years before they are ready and tree farmers spend countless hours caring for, pruning, and rearing so you can have that beautiful tree filling up your living room. It doesn’t just take time to produce but it also takes a lot of work. Every tree has to be sheared and shaped every single year, by hand. Yes, you read that correctly. Christmas tree shearing is done by hand with a 12 to 16-inch blade. This method is usually the most time-consuming aspect of growing Christmas trees. If you do not shear and shape, then your trees will become unsellable as they will have multiple tops and excess growth.
Not only are your trees shaped and trimmed but there is also a large amount of maintenance the farmer has to keep up with, including weeding, spraying pesticides and herbicides, and even spreading fertilizer; because with any plant the first place to start is with the soil. Rearing Christmas trees and is year-long process over many years.
I know some people believe they have a large area of land and assume they can plant Christmas trees and make a profit while paying their property taxes but that is not the case. It could be five or more years before you see a single profit, that is assuming you are starting with seedlings and not just planting seeds.
So, this Christmas season as you are searching for your perfect tree take a minute to thank the farmer for their hard work and dedication to bring the Christmas magic alive in your home.