Ron Wolford, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, shares these Christmas tree facts that are sure to spruce up your yuletide knowledge.
- Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states as well as Canada.
- The average growing time for a Christmas tree is seven years.
- 350 million Christmas trees are growing on Christmas tree farms in the United States.
- 25-30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year.
- There are 4,000 local Christmas tree recycling programs throughout the United States.
- In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House.
- Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882.
- Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890.
- The tradition of an official Chicago Christmas tree was started in 1913 when Mayor Carter H. Harrison lit the first one in Grant Park.
- From 1887 to 1933 a fishing schooner called the Christmas Ship would tie up at the Clark Street Bridge in Chicago and sell spruce trees from Michigan to Chicagoans.
- Since 1971, the Province of Nova Scotia has presented the Boston Christmas tree to the people of Boston. This gesture is in gratitude for the relief supplies Boston sent after a ship exploded in 1917 in the Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbor, leveling parts of the city and killing or injuring thousands.
- In 1979, the National Christmas Tree was not lit except for the top ornament. This was done to honor the American hostages in Iran.
For more information, check out the University of Illinois Extension website, Christmas Trees & More, at http://extension.illinois.edu/trees/index.cfm.