Italians paying dearly for traditional Christmas Tree

Despite the increase from 10 to 15 per cent, Italians are still paying the price to be able to have a traditional Christmas tree, a “real” one and not an “artificial” one (the sales of which over the past few years have been dropping).

This week, which coincides with the celebration of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 (the day on which many families traditionally decorate their houses for Christmas) more than 6.5 million trees will be bought, for an overall expenditure of close to 200 million euros. Underscoring the fact is CIA (the Italian confederation of farmers), according to which nationally-grown trees on sale are around 55 pct of the total, while others are from Northern Europe, especially Denmark.

It is from Denmark, the top European producer and exporter of this particular type of tree, that news of an increase in price due to fewer trees being grown has come. It is a problem, warned CIA, that is shared by other countries, such as Germany, France and Austria. Therefore, seeing the high percentage of imported plants, and the price rises in our country due to a drop in production as well, Italians will be forced to shell out a few euros extra compared with last year. To buy a “real” Christmas tree, says CIA, every family will be spending between 20 and 45 euros. Of course, prices rise if we’re talking about a plant over two metres high, in which case it could even go as high as 100-120 euros. However, Italians do not seem discouraged.

From the first estimates, which are based on requests to producers and import figures, sales of “natural” Christmas trees, despite the price hikes, should be at around the same level as last year. CIA has said that trees produced in Italy for Christmas celebrations are, for the most part, grown in special hilly areas in order to protect the hydro-geological lay of the land, helping to prevent land-slides. The changeover is continual. There are also many nurseries which produce these trees, which have their own guarantees.

Decorating a Christmas tree goes back a long time. It is a tradition in found in Germany already on the VII century. It Italy this practice, which in the 19th century was very much in use both in the United States and in Northern European countries, began to be found only at the beginning of the twentieth century, but spread for the most part beginning in the 1950s.