16 Facts About Christmas Trees That Make Them All The More Interesting

The holidays are officially here, which means many will be propping a real or fake Christmas tree up in the home. That is, if they haven't already. So here are some facts about Christmas trees (real and fake) that may take you by surprise:

1.The National Christmas Tree Association approximates that between 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold annually in the United States.

Christmas trees for sale
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2.According to the association, most standard 6-to-7-feet Christmas trees are grown in seven years, though it can take anywhere from 4 to 15 years for proper growth.

Christmas trees for sale

3.As for how many Christmas trees are currently growing on Christmas tree farms in the states, the association claims there's nearly 350 million.

A Christmas tree farm
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4.In 2012, 51% of the year's 16 million harvested Christmas trees in the US came from just two states: Oregon and North Carolina, according to a 2018 NBC News report.

A Christmas tree farm
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5.Specifically, Ashe County in northwest North Carolina reportedly contributed the most, accounting for nearly 2 million trees harvested in 2012.

Closeup of a Christmas tree ornament
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6.Coincidentally, since the White House began annually displaying a Christmas tree in the Blue Room in 1961 (save for a couple of exceptions), 14 of the trees came from North Carolina, including the 2023 tree below.

A Christmas tree in the White House
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7.Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington are next, having contributed 11, 8, and 7 trees respectively to the White House Blue Room over the years.

Christmas display in the White House
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8.The official White House Christmas Tree is selected by the National Christmas Tree Association, who host a contest. However, to qualify for the contest, growers have to see their tree win at the state or regional level.

The White House Christmas tree
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9.This year, there's 98 Christmas trees on display on the White House grounds.

Christmas display at the White House

10.According to Guinness World Records, the tallest real Christmas tree to be cut and put on display with decorations is credited to a 221-foot tree at Seattle's Northgate Shopping Center in 1950. However, there's not a photo of this tree readily available, so here's a photo from 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas instead.

Screenshot from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
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11.In 2016, Sri Lanka displayed a 238-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree in their capital city, Colombo. CBS News reported that organizers claimed it was the world's largest artificial Christmas tree. Guinness World Records lists the tree under the distinction on its site, though it's listed at 236 feet. CBS also reported at the time that the tree cost $80,000.

Sri Lanka's Christmas tree

12.Comparatively, the largest tree erected at Rockefeller Center was in 1999 and was 100 feet tall.

Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree
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13.This year's Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is 80 feet tall.

Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree
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14.The Rockefeller tree is always the same type of tree: a Norway spruce. "The Norway Spruce is great for the scale it can achieve, it can hold the lights on its branches, and it stands there nice and proud as the Tree should," Erik Pauze, the head gardener for Rockefeller Center, said in the center's magazine.

Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree
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15.Finally, artificial trees may be more popular than real Christmas trees. According to the American Christmas Tree Association, they predict based on consumer reporting that 77% of people planning to display a home Christmas tree will opt for an artificial one.

Closeup of a Christmas tree
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16.However, artificial trees might not be better than real trees for the environment. "There was a study done that compared the environmental impacts of a real tree versus a fake tree," Michigan State University horticulture expert Bill Lindberg told the New York Times earlier this month. "It showed that if you kept your artificial tree for eight years, that is basically when you start to break even." This means that after eight years, artificial trees may be more environmentally friendly.

Closeup of an artificial Christmas tree
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