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Diatribe: Dead Christmas Trees Make Me Sad.


I’m pretty certain I inherited my love of Christmas decorating from my mother.  As a youngster, decorating for the holidays each year was a family affair.  Nativity scenes, reindeer, snowmen and Santas would come down from the attic to find their places on walls and tabletops while the everyday knickknacks would then take their place in the storage boxes until after the new year.  There was a wreath for every door and something electric in almost every window.  (The blinking bells were my favorites.)  And the ultimate Christmas decoration was always the Christmas Tree.

With Christmas carols playing on the stereo in the background, my siblings and I would wait patiently as our mother carefully twisted strings of lights, one after another, up and down each branch of the tree taking gentle care to be certain that each bulb was evenly spaced and looked perfect from outside the picture window.  Once she was satisfied with the results, we were allowed to start hanging ornaments.  Unwrapping the fragile glass ornaments was (and still is) a wonderful tradition during which we would reflect and remember where each had come from or who had given it to us.  Over the years we amassed a collection of personalized ornaments with names and dates and it felt (and still does) as if we were hanging memories on the tree.  When we were small, the majority of ornaments hung on the lower half of the tree … unless company was coming and adjustments by taller adults were required.  Over the years, each Christmas tree was more beautiful than the last.

It’s always been a dream of mine to own a Christmas Tree farm.  In my dream, of course, this would be a fanciful tax write-off since my lottery winnings would keep me jet-setting around the world.  All the same, I’ve  assumed that a tree farm would be a relatively low-maintenance hobby/business.

Recently, I learned that nothing could be further from the truth.  Christmas Tree farms require lots of maintenance … and plenty of water.

In additional to other farmers, Christmas Tree farms across the nation are thought to be struggling this year as a result of the extremely dry weather conditions … particularly in the Midwest.  Many insiders believe that the drought of 2012 has been the worst since the 1950s.  Crops have been ruined and water supplies have evaporated.  As a result, food prices are expected to soar in the coming months.  While the National Christmas Tree Association says shoppers across the nation will have no trouble finding trees, we can probably expect to pay top dollar for them this year.

Christmas Trees are planted as seedlings that require a lot of moisture, especially in the heat.  High temperatures and lack of rain may have contributed to a loss of 50%-90% of this year’s seedlings and 10% of more mature trees.  It is estimated that as many as thirty million Christmas Trees are purchased each year but the impact of these losses from the current crop may not be felt for several years.

I still think it would be wonderful to look out over a crop of Christmas Trees and think about all the memories that each of the branches I see might one day hold.  Much like my mother’s painstaking efforts to make Christmas a beautiful time of year, a Christmas Tree farm is truly a labor of love.

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Copyright © 2012

From → Diatribes

  1. I also have wonderful memories of Christmas even though we only got to hang the tinsel until we got old enough to move away & have our own trees. Hubby is a Grinch though & is slowly eroding the whole sense of wonder & love of the season I have. 16 years is wearing me down to the point where I don’t enjoy the decorating as much. I have to snap out of this! Can we start a support group for me at the beginning of December?


  2. Ruth Ann Miller permalink

    It warms my heart that you remember those Christmases so well. All the work paid off …. mission accomplished!!!!


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