National Christmas Tree Day celebrations at the Toronto Christmas Market

Holiday revellers took the opportunity to celebrate the joy Christmas trees bring into their homes during the fourth official National Christmas Tree Day on Dec. 1. However, it is also important to consider the other benefits Christmas trees can provide.

“Celebrating the holidays with a real tree is an excellent way to support local jobs and Ontario’s economy,” explains Forests Ontario CEO Rob Keen. “Christmas trees contribute to the province’s economic well-being as most trees are grown on farms, which create employment and reliable income for families.” It is estimated that more than 500 farmers produce upwards of one million Christmas trees in Ontario each year. On top of that, the Christmas tree industry creates jobs in transportation and retail.

Real Christmas trees support a healthy environment, too. To start, tree farms are carbon sinks, soaking up carbon dioxide and producing oxygen; one acre of planted Christmas trees can produce enough oxygen for 18 people daily. Real trees are also totally biodegradable, meaning that after the holidays they may be recycled into mulch for city parks, habitat for fish and wildlife, or even materials for crafts. In comparison, artificial trees are often produced out-of-country, packaged in plastic, and transported a great distance to get to us. They are also non-recyclable, meaning that they end up in a landfill – usually well before their expected end-of-life.

On top of all that, buying a real Christmas tree is fun. Nothing beats getting together with friends and family to find the perfect tree.

To celebrate this year’s National Christmas Tree Day, Smokey Bear and Forests Ontario invited all Ontarians to join them at the Toronto Christmas Market to pay homage to the most iconic holiday symbol. Visitors marvelled at the 50-foot White spruce lighting up the Market’s centre, took pictures with Smokey, and picked up pointers about how to find the perfect Christmas tree from Forests Ontario staff. Many Christmas tree-enthusiasts even took home their own real, locally-grown Christmas tree from the market, as well.

If you weren’t able to join in the festivities, do not fret. As there is no better way to celebrate real Christmas trees than by buying one, Forests Ontario will be selling sustainably sourced trees and wreaths at the Market next weekend from December 7–9. For each tree bought, Forests Ontario will plant a tree. Also, individuals will receive a free entry to the Market with every tree purchase. All proceeds from tree and wreath sales will go to Forests Ontario’s 2019 tree planting programs.

You can also keep the celebrations going by participating in Forests Ontario’s Holiday Instagram contest. To enter into a draw for a pair of annual passes to Ripley’s Aquarium, all market-goers have to do is snap a photo with the big tree, follow and tag @Forests_Ontario, tag #ItTakesAForest, and upload to Instagram. The contest will run until midnight on December 16, and the winner will be announced the following day.

Trees give us so much during the holiday season, as well as throughout the rest of the year. National Christmas Tree Day gives us all an opportunity to celebrate Ontario’s well-managed forests and give back to the environment.

Photo: Smokey Bear visited the iconic Toronto Christmas Market on December 1 to celebrate National Christmas Tree Day.

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