Spoiler alert: that Christmas tree didn’t arrive in your living room by sleigh.
If the 25-30 million Christmas trees sold in the U.S. each year are any indication, Americans love nothing more than the aroma of a freshly cut Douglas fir to spruce up their homes with holiday cheer. Cut-it-yourself sales at family-run farms eliminate the middleman for the ambitious Griswold families among us; for everyone else, pre-chopped trees can be purchased at garden centers or pop-up parking lot shops.
But how do all of those trees make it from forest to nursery, and finally to living rooms across the country? For Christmas tree farmers, the stakes are high: since Christmas trees are only profitable for about one month out of the year, any rupture in the supply chain can have devastating consequences. A highly methodical, nearly yearlong alpine journey ensures that businesses generate a sizeable profit from the Christmas crop, and that every family has the opportunity to trim the tree come December.