Tips to ensure your holiday tree is not only glorious, but safe, for family and friends to gather around.
SAN DIEGO, Dec. 8, 2015 — Americans have been enjoying decorating their homes with fragrant pine trees at Christmastime for decades.
As soon as Thanksgiving dishes are carefully stored, Americans all over the country scurry to tree farms, nurseries, garden centers and tree lots in search of the perfect Christmas tree.
It is estimated that Americans will purchase 25 to 30 million Christmas trees each year, according to the National Tree Association.
Households across the country will collectively spend approximately $984 million on Christmas trees, according to Nielsen Research reports published in Visually (http://visual.ly/americas-love-christmas-trees).
Christmas trees slowly became popular in Europe during the Middle Ages, when German and Scandinavian peoples placed evergreen trees outside or inside their homes each winter in celebration of the season and the promise of a fruitful spring.
In the 1800s, German settlers brought their Christmas tree tradition with them to the United States.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, it was the nursery industry that continued the popularization of Christmas trees in America.
Unable to make a living from their supply of live evergreens because most Americans could not afford landscaping, creative nurserymen cut down their supply of live pine trees and began selling them as Christmas trees for the holidays.
Not only was this creative business model the way Christmas tree industry was born, it also boosted the popularity of Christmas trees in America.
“O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer’s here,
But also when ’tis cold and drear.”
(Excerpt from the “O Christmas Tree” song lyrics, written by German lyricist Ernst Anschütz)
Selecting the ideal Christmas tree for any home setting requires some thought and planning, as there are many considerations.
The National Christmas Tree Association offers the following suggestions to consider prior to purchasing a Christmas tree:
- Measure the space where the Christmas tree will be placed
- Consider what type of decorations will be used, including their weight
- Determine what species of pine tree would be preferred
- Remember to check the Christmas tree for any insects, dryness or signs of deterioration
- Always have the Christmas tree stem cut perpendicular at its base to ensure adequate water absorption
- Think about safety concerning transporting the Christmas tree from purchase location to its new home
- When a new Christmas tree arrives, make certain that the water stand is ideal for its size and that it is large enough to hold appropriate levels of water
- Remember that good tree hydration is necessary to prevent household fires
Family members of the furry kind, such as cats and dogs, could also require some consideration when purchasing a Christmas tree. Many animals are attracted to the scent of pine and might enjoy chewing and/or climbing up Christmas tree branches. Bright tree lights and dangling Christmas ornaments are also tempting to family pets.
It is important to consider the health needs of human family members who might be prone to allergic reactions or asthma attacks. Microscopic tree mold can create havoc for those prone to allergies, potentially causing watery eyes, runny noses, sneezing and shortness of breath. Similar reactions might also occur in homes with artificial Christmas trees if allergy sufferers respond to their chemical toxicity.
Fortunately for millions of Americans, enjoying a family Christmas tree brings only beauty, warmth and joy to their holiday celebrations and can be remembered long after the holiday season has ended.
Once Christmas celebrations end, consider contacting a community recycling center and donating the Christmas tree. Recycling centers are able to convert a dry tree into useful mulch, erosion barriers, pathways for walking trails and much more.
Mostly, enjoy sharing the Christmas holiday with family and friends who are held most dear, and celebrate the end of a year well-lived, the blessings of the holiday season and the promise of great new beginnings in the coming new year.
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped in each other.”
-Burton Hills Quotes
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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