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University of Illinois Extension

A Few Interesting Facts about Christmas Trees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2012

Take a moment from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to learn a few interesting facts about Christmas trees.

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 initiated in 1913 when one was first lit by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park.

Since 1971, the Province of Nova Scotia has presented the Boston Christmas tree to the people of Boston, in gratitude for the relief supplies received from the citizens of Boston after a ship exploded in 1917 following a collision in the Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbor. Part of the city was leveled, killing and injuring thousands.

In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House.

30.8 million live Christmas trees were purchased in the United States in 2011, with a real market value of $1.07 billion.

Christmas trees are grown and harvested in all 50 states.

Helicopters help to lift harvested Christmas trees from farms.

Artificial trees will last for six years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill.

In 1930 the U.S.-based Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree made from brush bristles. The company used the same machinery that it used to manufacture toilet brushes, but they were dyed green.

An acre of Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.

Live Christmas trees are involved in less than one-tenth of one percent of residential fires, and mostly when ignited by some external ignition sources. The major factors involved in Christmas tree fires are electrical problems, decorative lights, candles, and a heat source too close to the tree.

93% of real Christmas tree consumers recycle their tree in community recycling programs, their garden or backyard.

Check out the University of Illinois Extension website Christmas Trees & More for more information: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/trees/

Christmas tree facts updated by University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Janice Byron, Carol Stitzer, and MaryAnne Spinner

Source: Ron Wolford, Extension Educator, Horticulture, rwolford@illinois.edu

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