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12 Interesting Facts About Christmas Trees

Few images conjure up the perfect picture of Christmas better than a glowing Christmas tree. Plants that stay green all year, such as evergreens, have long been used to celebrate the winter season -- they were revered as a sign of life and a way to ward off evil spirits and illness.

Christmas tree

Yet, as late at the 1840s, Christmas trees were considered a "pagan mockery" of the sacred day, and you could be fined for so much as singing a Christmas carol or hanging an evergreen bough, let alone decorating an entire tree.

Christmas trees as we know them today actually originated in Germany in the 16th century and were brought to the United States by the German settlers of Pennsylvania during the 1800s. It wasn't until the 1890s that Christmas trees -- and Christmas tree ornaments -- became a part of the traditional American Christmas.

For children across the country, and all of us who are still big kids at heart, there is a magic to a Christmas tree that you can't get at any other time of year. Just for all of you who still revel in this magic, here are 12 more tidbits that you can add to your own Christmas tree repertoire.

  1. Americans buy about 30 million to 35 million real Christmas trees every year.

  2. It takes an average of seven years to grow a Christmas tree of average retail height (6-7 feet), but it can take as little as four or as many as 15.

  3. For every Christmas tree that is harvested, up to three seedlings are planted in its place the following spring.

  4. There are 500,000 acres in the United States devoted to growing Christmas trees.

Christmas tree
  1. Each acre of live Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.

  2. All 50 states grow Christmas trees, but the top producers are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.

  3. The top-selling Christmas tree types are balsam fir, Douglas-fir, Fraser fir, noble fir, Scotch pine, Virginia pine and white pine.

  4. There are about 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States.

Christmas tree
  1. The first Christmas tree lights were mass produced in 1890.

  2. German-American immigrants used to decorate their trees with apples, nuts and marzipan cookies.

  3. In recent years, 7 percent of U.S. households planned to purchase an artificial Christmas tree, compared with 27 percent that planned to buy a real tree.

  4. The average price of a real Christmas tree in 2006 was $40.50, while artificial trees cost an average of $68.

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National Christmas Tree Association

University of Illinois Extension

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