Cost Comparison: Christmas Trees

Every year millions of Americans know the joy of spending the day or evening putting up their Christmas tree. And with Christmas fast approaching it is interesting to take a look at everyone’s favorite coniferous tree.

Decorating one’s home with evergreen trees is an ancient tradition dating back to the Romans. An ancient symbol of life in the midst of winter, this practice was eventually adopted by Christians at some point in the 16th century. Over the course of the next few hundred years the trees went from decorations of fruit and nuts, to candles and tinsel to today’s modem electric color, candy cane variant.

However you choose to decorate it, the Christmas tree has become a powerful symbol of Christmas. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until old faithful is setup and decorated. It’s hard to imagine a Christmas without one—where would you put the presents?

In the U.S. there are approximately 25-35 million real Christmas trees and 9.5 million fake ones sold every year. At any given time there are 350 million Christmas trees growing on farms. Given that each tree takes about 7 years to fully mature that is a lot of space dedicated to Christmas trees.

Still, every year consumers purchase tees to the tune of $1.07 billion and $670 million for real and fake trees respectively.  That is a lot of money for a decoration that last about two weeks on average.

In comparison, the cost of helping rebuild homes in the Philippines is $10.25 million. Habitat for Humanity is taking donations now in an effort to help rebuild homes that were devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan. They currently have raised nearly $500,000 of an estimated $10 million needed. According to their website that equates to 87 homes rebuilt.

This year when you are enjoying your Christmas tree in the comfort of your home, give a thought to the thousands who were displaced and the millions suffering without a home in the Philippines.

Pedram Afshar

Sources: Statistic Brain, National Christmas Tree Association, History, Habitat for Humanity