LET’S TALK GARDENING – Christmas Trees / Did You Know?


We are in the second week of December with Christmas 10 days away. People are buying Christmas trees fast and furious right now. It is fun to learn some background facts when it comes to the fresh trees and greenery that we use for holiday decorating.

The traditional use of an evergreen tree at Christmas Season has a long history. In the 1300s the inhabitants of northern Europe and Scandinavia used evergreen branches around their doors to keep out evil spirits. They also brought Fir tree branches into their huts to give friendly spirits a place to keep warm during the winter months. The “evergreen” boughs were used because they are symbols of everlasting life. This practice was done near December 21st in celebration of the winter solstice. The solstice is celebrated because it is the longest night of the year and then the night length is reduced and the winter is coming to an end. The spring is coming. The rebirth of the earth is at hand. The use of “evergreen’ trees at Christmas has numerous legends.

In Virginia, we have over 4,600 acres being used to grow Christmas trees. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Virginia is #10 in the U.S. by the number of operations with Christmas trees and #7 by total trees harvested and total acreage.

Live Christmas trees have been brought into homes and decorated during the holiday season for hundreds of years.


  1. The use of a Christmas tree in our homes comes from Germany. Germans and Hessian mercenaries were paid to fight in our Revolutionary War. In 1804, U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Dearborn (now Chicago) hauled trees from surrounding woods to their barracks at Christmas. The popularity of the Christmas tree then spread over America. Charles Minnegrode introduced the custom of decorating trees in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1842.
  2. Each acre of Christmas trees provides enough daily oxygen for 18 people.
  3. In America, there are about one million acres of Christmas trees growing. This equals enough oxygen for 18 million people.
  4. For every Christmas tree cut, two to three new trees are planted.
  5. Christmas trees are often grown on land that is unsuitable for other crops. By using this land, farmers help control soil erosion and provide year-round homes for wildlife.
  6. Franklin Pierce, our 14th President, brought the Christmas tree tradition to the White House.
  7. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Trees Lighting Ceremony now held every year on the White House lawn.
  8. Since 1966, members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented a beautiful, fresh, Christmas tree to the President and first family. This tree is displayed each year in the Blue room of the White House.

So, as we are buying our personal Christmas tree, I hope many of you enjoyed learning a little history with the origin of the Christmas tree.

And, remember—Christmas trees are 100% biodegradable and recyclable!!!!


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2 thoughts on “LET’S TALK GARDENING – Christmas Trees / Did You Know?”

  1. Thanks Doug for this interesting article. I have enjoyed learning from you for many years (since Forest Hill Ave, days!). Please keep sharing. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    • Richard,
      Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to send me this message. It means a lot to me. Take care, Doug Hensel

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