I have to admit, aside from time with family, my favourite part of the holiday season is the Christmas tree. Whether it is freezing as we walk up and down the rows in search of the perfect tree or decorating it with one too many homemade decorations, I love the tradition. Sometimes I can even be caught laying on back, looking up at the lights and breathing in the amazing smell of the fir tree. Just yesterday my mother and I were talking about how amazing the house smelled with our live fir proudly standing in the living room. In my opinion, it really is an amazing tradition.
- 1,738,212 — Total number of fresh-cut Christmas trees that Canada exported last year. Almost half of those came from Quebec. By way of contrast, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador did not export a single Christmas tree.
- $51.3 million — The total value of all fresh-cut Christmas trees sold in Canada last year. Sales were down in every province except British Columbia. Sales were down nine per cent last year and have declined by 22 per cent since 2006.
- $47 million — Value of artificial Christmas trees imported into Canada. More than $46 million of that came from China, with the rest coming from Thailand, the United States, Mexico or Vietnam.
- $28.2 million — Value of all the real Christmas trees that Canada exported last year. Within that, $25.8 million worth, or nearly 1.6 million out of a total of 1.7 million trees, went to the U.S. last year. But Canada also sold fresh-cut trees to people in Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, France, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
- $5 million — Value of fresh cut Christmas trees that the U.S. sent north of the border into Canada last year.
- 2,381 — The number of Christmas tree farms left in Canada. The province with the largest number of Christmas tree farms is Ontario, with 647. Both the number and size of Canadian tree farms have been declining steadily since 2006.
- 28,315 hectares — The total size of all farms devoted to raising Christmas trees in Canada. At 22 hectares on average, Quebec’s Christmas tree farms are the largest in Canada.
Despite the fun facts, we cannot ignore that having a tree in the house can be dangerous. With that, it is wise to be aware of this potential danger and take measures to minimize the risk so that you can enjoy this tradition for years to come.
- Keep it fresh. Make sure your real tree is fresh. It will be less likely to dry out and become a fire hazard.
- Test your tree. Before you buy from your local Christmas tree vendor, examine the needles. Bend them between your fingers. They shouldn’t break. Tap the tree gently on a firm surface. If an excessive amount of needles fall to the ground, it’s too dry.
- Make a fresh cut on the trunk of the tree before you place it in your tree stand. The cut will help the tree absorb water. About two centimetres from the bottom should do.
- Leave the tree outside — out of the wind and sun — until it’s ready to decorate.
- Water the tree often. The stand should hold at least four litres of water. Do not let the water level dip below the cut line. If you do, the cut will seal and the tree will stop absorbing water.
- Secure the tree to keep it from tipping. Many of the newer “wide base” stands offer much more stability than older stands.
- Keep away from heat. Keep the tree away from floor heaters, fireplaces and other heat sources, as well as electrical outlets and electrical sources.
- Remove the tree when needles begin to fall off in large quantities. NEVER burn your tree in a fireplace. Most municipalities recycle Christmas trees, turning them into mulch.
Obviously the above tips were for live trees. Many people are fooled into thinking that artificial trees will leave them off the hook when it comes to potential fires but there are still precautions to take with these trees as well.
- Artificial trees should bear the CSA label. Plastic trees should be made of fire-resistant material.
- Keep away from heat. Much like real trees, artificial trees must be kept away from floor heaters, fireplaces and other hat sources.
- Never use electric lights on metallic trees. The result could be very shocking! Use spotlights to illuminate the trees from a safe distance.
For the full list of hazards please see CBC.
Whatever traditions you enjoy this holiday season, please ensure you do so safely.
Please remember that Pacific Parklands Foundation will be closed as of Friday December 21st at 4pm and will reopen January 2nd, 2013.