business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The National Christmas Tree Association is out with a report saying that tree production is down this year, and actually is down 30 percent since 2002.

It may not matter. The Washington Post reports that "each year, fewer Americans are putting up trees during the holidays. And those who do are increasingly choosing artificial ones … The percentage of households putting up a Christmas tree fell from 90 percent in 1989 to 76 percent in 2018. The percentage of real trees has dropped even faster: from 47 percent in 1989 to 21 percent last year."

It is, the story says, aging baby boomers who "are driving much of this shift, as they opt for the convenience of plastic trees that can be reused year after year."

Yikes. Just one more thing to blame on us Baby Boomers.

The Post writes that "artificial trees have gained in popularity, like so many other domains, as time-starved Americans prioritize convenience. They don’t shed needles, trigger asthma attacks or need to be watered. And, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission is so fond of reminding us, a single errant spark won’t turn one into a roaring inferno within seconds.

"But the biggest factor of all may be demographics: As children move out and parents enter their retirement years, the annual holiday pilgrimage to the tree farm may have less appeal than it once did."

I'm chagrined to admit this … but I'm guilty.

For the second year in a row, we're not going to have a big tree. Primarily, this is because for the second year in a row, we have a small puppy in the house, and we're convinced that the combination of a puppy and a tree would be a nightmare.

So we'll just go pick up a small tree at Stew Leonard's - one no taller than two or three feet that'll hold maybe one small string of bulbs and a few favorite ornaments. And I have to admit that when the puppies are grown, we may continue this new tradition … or maybe move to an artificial tree.

Though I'm not sure I'll feel good about it.
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