We live in the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World” according to the local paper. On my way to work there are miles and miles of trees in various stages of growth. When we first moved out to the country I was fascinated with the tree harvesting that begins around Halloween. It’s really a huge industry and it was interesting to see what it takes, and how long, to get a real Christmas tree ready for your house.
They begin as a tiny twig planted in a field. Seven years later they are ready. Okay, it is not quite that easy. Once they reach a certain size, the trees must be trimmed regularly to maintain that perfect Christmas tree shape. They also tie small sticks to the top of the tree to keep it straight and strong for your tree topper to fit on.
Harvesting must be done no matter the weather. We always have rain, but this year was especially nasty during harvesting. Several of the larger fields hire a helicopter to move the trees closer to the road where they set up their staging area (for wrapping, loading, and shipping). We pulled over to watch this guy and I tried to get a video with my phone. Even though we had a break in the weather, it's not a very good video. But you can see him on the left hauling a load of trees over to the road on the right and then gently dropping them. It's amazing to watch because the way he sets those trees down is almost like a ballet. He goes back and forth all day moving trees.
When you go out to a tree farm to cut your own, they will put it on a shaker for you, which gets all of the spiders and bugs off. Then, if needed, they will wrap it for you to transport. All trees purchased by a commercial buyer are wrapped before being loaded into semi trucks. When people cut their own they usually just tie it to the top of their car for the trip home. But sometimes they need it wrapped. Here is another poor video taken with my phone. I hope you can see it well enough.
Two of our closest friends make their living on Christmas trees. They give us a terrible time because we have a fake tree, and have had it for fifteen years!
But it's still fun to go out to the tree farms to pick up a wreath and share a cup of hot cocoa with the good folks that make all those people smile.
Do you have a Christmas tree? Is it real or artificial?